Toilets seem like a simple device where you push the flusher and the water goes down, however they can be a little complicated when things go wrong and pose a great risk of water damage. The tanks hold a gallons of water and the toilet is hooked into your sewage system and connects via a wax seal that could be damaged or worn out which all could lead to sewage spillage or water damage. Here are some common issues with toilets and how to repair your toilet issues to ensure you toilet is there in working order when you need it.
Toilet running without flushing
If you have a toilet that will occasionally sound like water is filling in the tank and you haven’t flushed it or it constantly is running after a flush and wont turn off, you may have an issue with your flapper inside your tank or a leak somewhere in your tank. When you push the flusher lever usually it’s a chain attached to a flapper that lifts up and allows the water down into the toilet. Sometimes this flapper wont close fully or the seal has cracks allowing water to continue to seep into the toilet and cause the water level in the tank to go so low that it triggers a refill. If you flush and hear the tank constantly filling, try jiggling the flush lever to see if it stops or open the tank and push down on the flapper. If it does stop you should check to see if the chain became tangled or is very tight causing it not to be able to close, otherwise the problem probably lies with your flapper and its seal. The flapper can harden over time and crack and not create as tight of a seal and would need to be replaced. A faulty flapper is the most common reason to have the tank keep refilling, however another reason would be the tank has a crack and is leaking causing the tank to need to refill so you should check around the tanks exterior for any wet areas to check for a leak.
Not Enough Water in the Toilet
If you flush the toilet and some water goes into the bowl but not enough to flush it down, then there a few areas where the problem could be. You could have an issue with your chain causing the flapper to close prematurely, you could have a tank that doesn’t have enough water in it, or you may have a water control on your flapper that is set incorrectly.
If the chain length is set incorrectly and is too long, the flush lever lift arm (inside rod connected to flush lever) will pull the chain but not enough to allow enough water down, the chain should have some slack.
Not Enough Water in the Tank
There should be some sort of water height control in the tank that will trigger water to fill the tank when the tank’s water level is too low. Usually this is a bobber type device called a float, which will rise with the water and turn off the water when it reaches a set level. This can sometimes get stuck causing the water not to rise and need adjusting or replacing.
Water Saving Control on Flapper
Some flappers have a water saving control on them and if set incorrectly could result in low water in the toilet which combined with a flapper and chain also set incorrectly could result in not enough water released to flush the toilet. Check the manual for your water saving flapper for proper configuration instructions for your toilet.
Flush Lever Not Working Correctly
This is the same issue as the chain issue above. If you are trying to flush but the level is too loose and nothing is happening, it could be a result of the chain no longer attached to the flush lever lift arm. If the flush lever is too tight and the flush takes longer than it should, it could be the chain is set too short and needs to be given some slack.
Toilet Overflow or Clogging
When the water won’t go down it’s usually due to a clog. A plunger can unclog the toilet without dumping chemicals down your plumbing. The proper way to use a plunger is to place the plunger in the bowl in a way that creates a seal and then use a push and pull pumping motion for around 8-10 times. You may have to do this a few times. If you frequently have clogs, there may be a problem further down in your plumbing, which a plumber can find with a video inspection.
Water Around Toilet Base
The most common reason there would be water on the floor near the toilet base is the wax seal has failed. When the toilet is installed there is a wax ring installed that seals your connection between the toilet and your sewer flange. If this seal fails water can leak on the floor. A quick test to check for leaks is to add food coloring to the tank and let it set for a little while to turn your tank water an obvious color that you can see on your floor. Before flushing the tank water, check inside your bowl to see if there is any color which, would mean your flapper isn’t sealed all the way. After you have checked the bowl for coloring, flush the toilet and check the water on floor to see if there is any coloring, if there is that means the seal needs replacing. Replacing the wax seal usually requires 2 people to do properly as it involves lifting the whole toilet out of the way, placing a new seal and putting it back on very carefully as not to break the new wax seal.
Slower to Fill Tank
If you find your tank is slower to fill than normal, this could be either a faulty float device or your water line has some debris and needs to be cleared. If the float device is wearing down there may be some resistance on the device that triggers the water to turn on and off causing it to go back and forth delaying the filling of the tank. If your water line has some debris, it could be causing the water flow to be impeded slowing down the filling of the tank as well.