How to Troubleshoot Your Toilet without Calling a Plumber

A running toilet can really drive you nuts, not to mention what it does to your water bill. You don’t necessarily have to call a plumber every time your toilet acts up, though. There are some common issues that you can easily fix on your own. Use these guidelines to help you troubleshoot your toilet without calling a plumber.

If Your Toilet Doesn’t Flush Completely

Do you always have to hold the handle down or flush a second time because your toilet never flushes completely? You can probably fix this pretty easily. Start by removing the cover from the tank. There is a chain that goes from the handle to the flapper cap. If the chain is too long, it won’t lift the flapper far enough. Try shortening the chain. Check the water level in the tank, too. There should be a fill line indicating how far the tank should fill up. If the tank isn’t filling up as far as it should, try gently bending the bulb of the float valve up just a little; wait to see if that makes the tank fill.  If it doesn’t, check the rim holes that allow water to enter the toilet bowl. Sometimes those holes get blocked, and cleaning them can solve the problem.

Phantom Flushes

Does your toilet sometimes seem to flush on its own, when no one is using it? It’s not a ghost – it’s probably a worn out flapper valve. When that flapper gets worn out, it allows water to drain out, which means that the toilet bowl is constantly refilling. Just pick up a replacement at the hardware store, and follow the steps on the package to replace it.

Your Low Flow Toilet is Flowing Too Low

Low flow toilets are a great way to save water, but sometimes they don’t quite get the job done. You may need to reset the fill valve to make sure that the water level in the tank is correct. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for guidelines. If your tank doesn’t have a fill line marked on it, then aim for a half of an inch below the top of the overflow tube.

Your Toilet is Running

If your toilet is running, it is often because the flapper valve isn’t sealing correctly. Check inside the tank to make sure that nothing is blocking the valve and preventing it from closing properly. Clean underneath the flapper to remove any mineral deposits that might keep it from sealing. Check the chain, too; if it is too short, it might be holding the valve open.

The Tank is Dripping

Sometimes the toilet tank will sweat, which is normal and harmless. A drippy toilet tank can also be a sign of bad seal, though. If you aren’t sure which one you are dealing with, there is a simple test. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Wait a few minutes, and then check the toilet bowl. If the color has migrated to the toilet bowl, then you have a leaky seal.

Impending Doom

If your toilet is about to overflow, you can stop it. Reach into the tank, and lift up the fill valve. That will stop the toilet from filling.  You can use an object to prop the valve up while you plunge the toilet.

These are some common toilet problems that you can troubleshoot on your own. If you run into a bigger issue and need help, call Scott English Plumbing. We are available to deal with your toilet troubles, so give us a call today.