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5 Common Toilet Problems & How to Fix Them

December 21, 2020

Let’s face it. No one wants to deal with an out-of-order bathroom at home and the inconvenience and logistical nightmare that is sure to follow. 

Lucky for you, there are plenty of easy fixes the average homeowner can do when you’re facing these most common toilet problems. The following tips can help with toilet repair and if you aren't able to fix it, give us a call!

Clogged Toilet

We will start with the most common toilet problem --- and the easiest to solve. The. Clog. 

A flanged plunger is the hero of this predicament. A flanged plunger has a cup that fits into the toilet drain opening. Standard plungers with a flat opening are best used on sinks and other flat surfaces.

Solution: Insert the cup into the drain opening and vigorously pump the plunger, repeating until the drain is clear. 

If your plunging efforts are unsuccessful, try using a toilet auger (sometimes called a closet auger). A toilet auger is designed for use on toilets, versus drain snakes, which can scratch the bowl. Insert the auger and twist while slowly pushing it down toward the drain. 

Phantom Flushes

If you’ve ever heard the sound of your toilet randomly refilling, even though no one had recently flushed it, you’ve experienced a phantom flush. 

This mysterious-sounding phenomenon is actually quite a bit less spooky or ominous than it sounds. It is caused when a flapper or flapper seat is faulty, which causes the tank to leak slowly into the bowl. 

Solution: Drain the toilet tank and bowl, then check and clean the flapper, replacing it if necessary. 

Hissing Noises

When water trickles into the tank from the supply line, it creates a hissing sound, which is caused by water passing through the inlet valve. The parts that are typically to blame for this disturbing noise are the float, refill tube, and ballcock assembly. 

Solution: Check the float to see if it is stuck. If the refill tube is inserted too far into the overflow tube, readjust it so it extends about ¼” below the overflow tube. If you are still experiencing problems, you may need to replace the ballcock assembly. 

Weak Flush

A weak flush or a slow-emptying toilet bowl are usually caused when the flush holes located under the rim of the bowl are clogged. You can usually fix this problem with a common wire hanger and a mirror. 

Solution: Just bend the wire so you can poke under the rim of the bowl and loosen any debris. The mirror will help you guide the way. The siphon jet at the bottom of the bowl may also be blocked, so use the wire to gently loosen anything clogging it up, as well, taking care not to scratch the porcelain. 


Water Leaks

Toilets come equipped with at least five different seals, and each one has the potential to cause a leak. If you can figure out which seal is the culprit, the solution is to simply tighten or replace it. 

To help you narrow down your search, these are the most common locations of toilet seals. 

Between the tank and bowl: If this one breaks, you’ll have water spouting out with every flush. To replace this seal, drain and remove the tank, turn the tank upside down, then remove and replace the seal. 

Mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock: First, check to see if tightening the bolts or mourning nut will do the trick. If not, these small seals can be replaced by accessing them the same way as described above. 

Wax seal under the toilet base: Leaks from the wax seal will look like water around the base of the toilet. If left unchecked, it can eventually rot the floor, so it is important to repair the source of the leak and not caulk around the toilet, which will just trap the water. 

When you replace the wax seal under the toilet base, it is also a good idea to inspect the toilet anchor flange that is attached to the floor to see if it also needs to be replaced during this process. If the flange is broken, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional plumber. 

Call Whitton Plumbing to Fix Your Toilet Problems

If you’re willing to arm yourself with some simple tools, this DIY plumbing know-how can help you sidestep common toilet problems and avoid the potential disaster that could soon follow.

Now, just because some of these fixes are DIY-able, doesn’t mean everyone feels comfortable taking on tasks like these. If your toilet is giving you hassle and you’d rather call in a professional plumber to help troubleshoot the problem and fix it for you, the team of plumbers at Whitton Plumbing are always here to help. 

Whitton Plumbing has been in business since 1982, providing residential plumbing services for customers, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come. Contact us today.

Valley Wide: (480) 291-1111
Tucson: (520) 505-3236
Whether it's sinks, toilets, showers, faucets, water heaters, pipes or drains that need cleaning, repairs or installation, we've got you covered.