Common ToiIet Problems

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A clogged toilet is one of the most common plumbing problems. If a toilet overflows or flushes sluggishly, clear the clog with a plunger or closet auger. If the problem persists, the clog may be in the main waste-vent stack.

Most other toilet problems are fixed easily with minor adjustments that require no disassembly or replacement parts. You can make these adjustments in a few minutes, using simple tools.

If minor adjustments do not fix the problem, further repairs will be needed. The parts of a standard toilet are not difficult to take apart, and most repair projects can be completed in less than an hour.

A recurring puddle of water on the floor around a toilet may be caused by a crack in the toilet base or in the tank. A damaged toilet should be replaced.
Installing a new toilet is an easy project that can be finished in three or four hours.

A standard two-piece toilet has an upper tank that is bolted to a base. This type of toilet uses a simple gravity-operated flush system and can easily be repaired using the directions on the following pages. Some one-piece toilets use a complicated, high-pressure flush valve.

Common ToIiet ProblemsAn older toilet may have a tank ball that settles onto the flush valve to stop the flow of water into the bowl. The ball is attached to a lift wire, which is in turn attached to the lift rod. A ballcock valve is usually made of brass, with rubber washers that can wear out. If the ballcock valve malfunctions, you might be able to find old washers to repair it, but replacing both the ballcock and the tank ball with a float-cup assembly and flapper is easier and makes for a more durable repair.

A modern float-cupA modern float-cup valve with flapper is inexpensive and made of plastic, but is more reliable than an old ballcock valve and ball.

A pressure-assist toiletA pressure-assist toilet has a large vessel that nearly fills the tank. As water enters the vessel, pressure builds up. When the toilet is flushed, this pressure helps push water forcefully down into the bowl. As a result, a pressure-assist toilet provides strong flushing power with minimal water consumption.



Toilet handle sticks or is hard to push.
1. Adjust lift wires.
2. Clean and adjust handle.
Handle must be held down for entire flush.
1. Adjust handle.
2. Shorten lift chain or wires.
3. Replace waterlogged flapper.

Handle is loose.
1. Adjust handle.
2. Reattach lift chain or lift wires to lever.
Toilet will not flush at all.
1. Make sure water is turned on.
2. Adjust lift chain or lift wires.
Toilet does not flush completely.
1. Adjust lift chain.
2. Adjust water level in tank.
3. Increase pressure on pressure-assisted toilet.
Toilet overflows or lushes sluggishly.
1. Clear clogged toilet.
2. Clear clogged main waste-vent stack.
Toilet runs continuously or there are phantom flushes.
1. Adjust lift wires or lift chain.
2. Replace leaky float ball.
3. Adjust water level in tank.
4. Adjust and clean flush valve.
5. Replace flush valve.
6. Replace flapper.
7. Service pressure-assist valve.
Water on floor around toilet.
1. Tighten tank bolts and water connections.
2. Insulate tank to prevent condensation.
3. Replace wax ring.
4. Replace cracked tank or bowl.
Toilet noisy when filling.
1. Open shutoff valve completely.
2. Replace ballcock and float valve.
3. Refill tube is disconnected.
Weak flush.
1. Clean clogged rim openings.
2. Replace old low-flow toilet.
Toilet rocks.
1. Replace wax ring and bolts.
2. Replace toilet flange.

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