Having to make repairs to household fixtures and appliances can be frustrating.
Toilets are one of the most used fixtures in the home, and on average, flush a total of about five times per person each day, quickly causing wear and tear. Over time, parts wear down or complications happen where things get out of whack. Sediment builds up, and clogs occur in places you wouldn’t expect.
A lot of times, toilet repairs can be made without a plumber. Before requesting a repair, here are some helpful hacks that can be used to solve common causes of toilet leaks, clogs, running, and flushing problems.
How to Fix A Leaking Toilet
Leaking toilets are a frustrating thing to come across, and it can be the cause of a couple of different issues. Any toilet leaks around the base are usually the result of a worn-out toilet seal or a broken wax ring.
Before deciding it’s time to replace a wax ring, check to see if the base of the toilet is loose or shaky.
A toilet that is not level can break down the wax seal, causing it to leak from the base. Most of the time, this can be fixed by tightening the T-bolts located around the base of the toilet. If this quick fix causes the toilet seal leaks to stop, there’s no need to replace the wax ring altogether.
If the leak persists, the wax ring will need to be replaced, which can be a difficult process to handle without prior experience. If this is the case, it’s recommended to have a certified plumbing professional make the toilet repair, and safely fix complex leaks.
How To Fix A Clogged Toilet
Rising water levels are a key indicator of a clogged toilet. Occasionally, the steps are simple to unclog the toilet and get it back in working order.
While plungers tend to be the go-to tool for this issue, some households may not have one available. Luckily, there are many household items that can be used to unclog a toilet.
Soap makes for the perfect lubricant to help unclog the drain, by allowing its blockage to slide its way out. All it takes is a half cup of liquid soap, or a few chunks of a bar dropped into the toilet. Once the soap has had enough time to make it to the pipes, until the soap makes its way down the pipes, lubrication can be enough to let the obstruction easily make its way into the drain.
The force of moving water can be extremely powerful, so it makes sense that it’s a great at-home solution to fix a clogged toilet.
Start with filling a bucket with hot water — avoid putting boiling hot water down the toilet because it creates the risk of causing the bowl to crack. From waist height, pour the water into the toilet bowl, and the clog should disintegrate due to the force.
Afterward, run a test flush to make sure the toilet is draining normally. If there’s still some backup water, repeat the process until the blockage breaks down completely.
If the toilet repeatedly becomes clogged, then there will need to be something stronger to break through the blockage. With a wire clothing hanger, use the end as a drain snake to break down any buildup.
Unravel the clothes hanger until it is straight. Then, use the end where the hook is to pierce the blockage and create room for it to break apart and flow down the drain. This should provide a clear path for the toilet to flush without a problem.
At Home Mixture
Another quick answer to a clogged toilet is a natural concoction, requiring 1 cup of baking soda, and 2 cups of vinegar. After mixing the ingredients together, pour the solution into the toilet, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
The blockage should then begin dissolving and break apart to allow for a clean flush.
How To Fix A Toilet That Keeps Running
Another common toilet issue is when it continuously runs after it has been flushed. The amount of wasted water over time is outrageous. Fortunately, this can be a cheap and simple DIY fix. Here are 3 areas to check when the toilet is constantly running:
Check the Overflow Tube and the Toilet Float
Located inside the tank, the float helps determine the right spot to keep a strong and consistent flush.
If the float is too high, it will cause excess water to spill into the overflow tube, keeping the fill valve continuously open. This is the cause of constant running water.
On the other hand, if the float is too low, it will cause the tank to fill up with too little water, creating a weak, low-pressure flush.
By either bending the brass rod or turning the screw, adjust the height of the float to get a strong consistent flush. As a general rule, make a one-inch mark below the top of the overflow valve — this is the recommended water level in the tank.
Modify the Flapper Chain to the Correct Height
The flapper chain is used to raise the flapper up when the toilet is flushed. If the chain is too tight, then the flapper will stay slightly open, and cause water to constantly flow into the toilet bowl.
On the contrary, having the chain too loose will only open the flapper so much, causing a weak flush where. The lever will need to be held down, or else it will stop flushing.
Be sure the chain has some slack when the flapper is completely down, so it can freely rise and fall. Any excess chain should be removed to prevent tangles in the tank.
Replacing the Flapper
If there is still water running in the toilet, then the problem lies in the flapper itself, which can be fixed by changing the flapper. To do this, simply start by ensuring to shut off the water to the toilet, and simply remove the old one.
Flappers are not universal, so be sure to take them with you when shopping for a new one.
After snapping on the new flapper, reconnect the chain, and turn the water on again. Run a couple of test flushes to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and the water does not continue to run.
If the toilet water is still running, the flapper may be the wrong size – be sure to get the correct one.
How To Fix A Loose Toilet Base
An unfastened toilet may not seem like an issue, but over time, the movement causes damage to the wax seal. This leads to leaks and other costly toilet repairs.
If the toilet is unfastened and shaky after tightening the toilet bolts, there is another quick at-home repair that can be done to resolve the issue.
Being by removing any caulk around the base of the toilet. Then, cut some plastic or wood shims to slide underneath the base of the toilet – these should flush with the edge.
After the toilet is level and fastened, re-caulk the base. This should create a stable and level base that prevents the toilet from moving.
How to Fix Toilet Flushing Problems
Since hard water is used when flushing a toilet, minerals and other sediments tend to build up in the holes around the rim. This can cause a clog that blocks the flow of water and results in a low-pressure flush.
All it takes to clear these holes are two essential household items; a coat hanger and a hand mirror. Facing the holes under the rim of the toilet bowl, use the mirror to look into the holes and determine which ones are clogged with sediment.
Then with the hook of the coat hanger, push through the blockage to clear the hole and create space for the water to run smoothly.
Keep an eye on how the toilet is flushing. If the water jets are not shooting diagonally, or it is taking longer than usual for the water in the tank to run out, chances are that it’s time to clean the toilet rim holes again.
These hacks can not only save headaches, but they can also help save money. These are all everyday items that most households should carry to provide a quick fix. However, if there are still problems even after using these tips, it is best to contact a licensed professional to properly handle the issue. Chances are the problem is much more serious, and is something that is not considered to be a simple fix.