Simple Fixes For Common Toilet Problems

My blog focuses on teaching homeowners more about their plumbing, so that you can enjoy what you have and troubleshoot new problems.

Simple Fixes For Common Toilet Problems

11 June 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Although your toilet operates with just a few simple components, each part must be working efficiently. Failure of any component could mean high water bills or cause the toilet to become unusable.

Luckily, the individual parts of a toilet are easy to repair or replace, with a few simple tools and very little mechanical ability. Common issues include:

Toilet keeps running after the tank is full

While this problem won't stop the toilet from working, it will result in very high water consumption. This issue could have a few different causes, including:

  • A twisted flapper chain

This chain connects the flush handle to the flapper, which is a round rubber disc that controls the flow from the toilet tank to the bowl. The chain should have enough slack that it pulls up the flapper when the handle is pushed down.

If it is twisted, the chain links will bind and the chain will become shorter, which prevents the flapper from being fully seated in the drain, allowing water to seep through. Unhook the chain from the handle and straighten it if it appears twisted.

  • A worn flapper

Over time, the flapper itself may become worn. Flappers are universal in size, cost only a few dollars, and are simple to replace.

Remove the old flapper by unhooking the chain and the two rubber "arms" that are hooked onto small posts on the overflow pipe in the center of the tank. Clean around the drain opening before installing the new flapper.

Attach the new flapper by pressing the holes of the two "arms" over the posts on the overflow pipe, then connect the chain.

Toilet is overflowing

An overflowing toilet is caused by a blockage at some point in the drain pipe. Most blockages can be removed by the use of a plunger or auger.

If you intend to use a traditional plunger (the type with the concave rubber tip and the long wooden handle), you must be sure to hold the plunger tightly against the toilet drain, creating a vacuum that directs the air pressure in to the drain pipe to dislodge the blockage.

This may be difficult as you repeatedly push the plunger, but work with finesse rather than brute force. Apply continuous pressure until the remaining water in the bowl drains when you remove the plunger.

You may try a plunger that resembles a small air pump. This type of plunger is more user-friendly. Simply place the rubber tip of the pump against the toilet drain, and push the plunger handle repeatedly, as if you were inflating a bike tire.

Keep the rubber tip firmly in place on the drain, to build enough pressure to push the blockage through.

If plunging doesn't work, you can use an auger. This is an inexpensive device consisting of a metal cable inside a plastic sheath. One end of the cable has a handle and the other has a blunt end that is placed inside the drain. 

Twisting the auger handle will cause the cable to "snake" into the drain trap, which is located just beyond the drain, and remove any stubborn blockages.

If this fails, it is time to call a plumber, like those at Eddie B Plumbing, or drain cleaning specialist, who have the equipment and expertise to handle any plumbing problems.

About Me
Enjoying Your Plumbing

When you think about the fixtures in your home that keep you happy, you probably take that bathtub, sink, and toilet for granted. However, if you have ever been asked to live without one of these crucial fixtures, you probably quickly discovered how important they really were. That bathtub can give you relief after a long day at the gym, and that toilet can become the most important plumbing device in your home if you come down with the stomach flu. My blog focuses on teaching homeowners more about their plumbing, so that you can enjoy what you have and troubleshoot new problems.