The toilet can be a major source of plumbing problems in the home. While at first glance it seems like a fairly simple structure, your toilet is actually made up of a fairly sophisticated system that allows you to remove waste safely from your home and either into a cesspit or the city’s wastewater system. We’ve come a long way from the days of digging a pit in the woods or throwing our waste out the window and onto the city street. But with this sophistication comes a new set of potential problems. Toilet issues make up a good portion of the calls that we receive on a daily basis. Some of the problems are more complicated than others, but with a little knowledge, you may be able to diagnose the issue for yourself. Here are some of the most common problems with toilets and what may be causing them.
Common Toilet Issues & What Might Be Causing Them
Toilet flushing on its own.
You hear the toilet flush in the middle of the night…and you live by yourself. While it can be a bit startling, it’s actually a fairly simple problem to fix. Your toilet flushes when you either press down the handle or when there is too much water in the bowl. If you’ve ever poured a mop bucket of dirty water down the toilet, you’ve seen this in action. As soon as the water level hits a certain point, it triggers the toilet to automatically flush. This is useful to help prevent overflowing toilets, but it can be a heart-stopper when you hear the toilet flush on its own for the first time.
If your toilet is flushing on its own, it’s probably because there is a leak from the tank into the bowl. This is usually caused by the flapper inside the tank not sealing properly. You can test the theory by putting a couple drops of food coloring into the tank and checking the bowl a few minutes later to see if the color has traveled. If it has, get in touch with us and we’ll replace the broken flapper.
Your sink gurgles when you flush the toilet.
You innocently flush the toilet only to hear strange noises coming from your sink or shower. Images of sewer water bubbling up through the drains fill your head. Fortunately, this probably won’t happen, but it is a sure sign that there is an issue somewhere in your pipes that are going to need the attention of a professional plumber.
It is likely a clog in the drain waste vent. This is a vent within your plumbing system that helps flush sewage by maintaining the air pressure within your pipes. If something gets into this vent, air will need to be sucked into the pipes from other sources; thus why you are hearing a noise coming from your other drains. Removing the blockage will get rid of the noise, but it can be hard to find and remove the blockage on your own so you’ll need a professional. This is where our video inspection plumbing services can come in handy.
Toilet won’t flush or is slow to flush.
The dreaded clog. There are a million reasons that a toilet can become clogged, but they all have the same outcome: a toilet that won’t flush, is slow to flush or is even starting to back up and spill water out onto the floor. If this happens, you’ll want to shut off the main water supply to your house and call in a professional right away if you aren’t able to remove the clog yourself. Don’t try to remove the clog with a liquid chemical product; it’s one of the things plumbers wish you wouldn’t do to your plumbing.
Clogs in your toilet could be from anything you try to flush that isn’t made to go through the pipes; essentially, this could be anything that isn’t toilet paper. So-called “flushable” wipes are a big culprit, as are feminine hygiene products and q-tips. Plumbers know that everything from the television remote control to your grandmother’s jewelry can find their way down the toilet pipes and create a clog. The only way to fix it is to remove the clog.
Toilet takes forever to fill back up.
When you flush the toilet, you expect it to fill back up with water fairly quickly so it’s ready for the next use. When the toilet starts to take longer to fill up, this can be a sign that there is an issue inside the tank. If you buy a house with a slow-filling toilet, it could be that the previous owner has modified the toilet somehow. There is an old wives tale about putting a brick in the tank to limit the amount of water your toilet uses; this won’t save you money and could end up breaking your toilet.
If your toilet is slow to fill, the first place to look for problems is the valve under your tank. Sometimes this valve can get knocked when you are cleaning your toilet or a curious child might give it a twist and not understand what they are doing. If it’s not the valve, though, it’s time to inspect the tank for any modifications that might need to be removed.
There is water around the toilet.
Water around the toilet can be a pretty disturbing discovery. What is the liquid? Where did it come from? And how are you going to make it stop? The first thing to do is clean up the water and then see if it happens again; that water could be from a toilet-training toddler getting distracted while doing their business or even from an overly enthusiastic hand washer splashing around in the sink. But if the water appears again or if you hear dripping, it’s time to call in the professionals.
It’s a leak, and almost certainly one coming from the seals on the toilet. There are a number of places where a leak can happen and a plumber will be able to inspect the toilet, identify the source of the leak, and get it plugged up right away.
Suffering From Any of These Common Toilet Troubles?
We’re here to help. Our team has seen it all when it comes to toilet terrors so we have the experienced needed to accurate diagnose your toilet-related issues and get them corrected right away. Get in touch with our team for a quote on our services or to schedule a service call by giving us a call or contacting us through our website today.