Bathroom Blues: Learn How to Identify 5 Common Toilet Problems

Written by  //  December 24, 2014  //  Bed n' Bath  //  Comments Off on Bathroom Blues: Learn How to Identify 5 Common Toilet Problems

Toilets are one of those fixtures that are easy to take for granted. Fortunately, toilets often work perfectly for many years. Like any plumbing fixture though, toilets do require occasional maintenance and repair.

Professional plumbing companies have helped many home and business owners solve problems with toilets and other plumbing fixtures. These are some of the most common toilet problems we encounter.

Flapper Valve

The flapper valve is the rubber piece in many toilets that lifts up to allow water in the tank to quickly drain into the bowl and “flush” the toilet. Flapper valves are a common source of toilet problems.

Flapper valves may become waterlogged over time. This results in the valve being heavy and dropping closed too quickly. In this case the toilet may not flush completely.

Flapper valves can also become dirty or deformed. This can allow water to leak past the flapper into the tank.

Identifying a problem with a flapper valve can be as simple as looking for water continuing to leak into the bowl. Adding dye to the tank water can make it easier to see if water is slowly running into the tank between flushes.

Fill Valve

The toilet fill valve is responsible for allowing water from the supply line to refill the tank after each flush. Older fill valves often featured a plastic float on the end of a long, stiff wire. Newer fill valves may have a sliding float right on the valve.

According to Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating, a worn or dirty fill valve may not allow the tank to refill completely. This could result in the toilet not flushing properly as there is not enough water in the tank.

Fill valves that are worn or coated in scale may also close slowly resulting in a noisy whistle as the water supply is slowly closed off.

Flush Handle

The flush handle is normally mounted through the upper part of the tank with the handle on the outside and a rod on the inside that connects to the flush valve or flapper.

Flush handles are usually held snugly in place with a nut on the inside of the toilet tank. This nut can work loose causing the handle to shift out of position. This may result in the flapper not being lifted high enough to completely flush the toilet. A loose handle can also become stuck with the flapper lifted above the flush valve and allowing the toilet to continue running.

Metal flush handles may become corroded and break over time.

Tank Gasket

The tank and bowl are joined by bolts and a gasket. Metal bolts can rust from exposure to moisture. A broken or loose bolt can allow water to leak around the gasket and spill down the back of the toilet. Leaks between the tank and bowl can be difficult to trace, but are often due to a loose or damaged bolt or work gasket.

Wax Ring

Toilets sit atop a drain pipe in the floor and are usually held in place with bolts on either side of the bowl. A wax ring is set between the tank and a flange mounted to the floor. This wax ring serves as a seal to prevent water and odors from escaping.

The bolts holding the toilet to the floor frequently rust and break. Bolts can also become loose. Loose or broken bolts allow the toilet to rock or shift slightly. This movement may damage the wax seal.

Damaged wax rings can be identified by a persistent sewer-like odor in the bathroom or by water leaks around the base of the toilet.

Some toilet repairs, like replacing a flush handle or flapper valve, are fairly simple. Other toilet problems may be more difficult to diagnose and may also require proper tools and training to do correctly. These repairs may require the assistance of a professional plumber.

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