If you're on a regular pooping schedule, the toilet is the most important appliance in your home. If your indoor outhouse is out-of-order, it's more than a simple inconvenience when nature calls. From clogs to slow-filling tanks, toilet problems can range from minor annoyances to serious issues that could damage your home and health. Fortunately, common toilet problems can be easily fixed in a few quick steps.
As part of our mission to help improve bathroom experiences worldwide, we've gathered a list of the most common toilet issues and researched simple solutions to resolve them. Whether you're a seasoned DIY-er or just looking to save money on plumbing repairs, this guide will give you the knowledge and tools you need to tackle toilet problems confidently. So, bust out your plunger, pull up a stool, and read on to keep your toilet flushing smoothly.
How to fix a clogged toilet
Clogs happen. Pipes get jammed with toilet paper, toys get flushed, and dumps overwhelm the bowl. It’s normal and lucky for you, there are several easy ways to unclog a toilet. Here are a few effective solutions:
- Take the plunge
The plunger is the go-to tool for toilet unclogging. Place the plunger directly over the drain and pump it up and down several times to create suction that can help break up the clog.
- Mix it up
Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then pour a bucket of hot water into the toilet to flush out the clog.
- Get yourself in hot water
Pour a bucket of hot water into the toilet, which can help break up the clog and clear the drain.
- Break out the snake
A plumbing snake is a long, flexible tool that can reach deep into the toilet and break up the clog. To help clear blockage deep down in the pipes, Insert the snake into the drain and twist it until the clog clears.
- Don’t lose soap
Pour a generous amount of dish soap into the toilet and let it sit for 15 minutes. The soap can help break up the clog, making it easier to remove.
- Hang it up
If you lack the proper tools and time, you can use a wire hanger to clear a clog as a last resort. Go to your closet, get a wire hanger, straighten it out, gently push it down into the bowl, and loosen the clog. Be careful not to damage or scratch the porcelain bowl.
How to fix a running toilet
A running toilet is a toilet that continues to flush or refill on its own, even after the flush handle is released. This constant flow of water into the toilet bowl causes water levels to rise and fall and makes a continuous sound of running water. Hence the name. Not only can a running toilet be annoying, but it can also waste a significant amount of water and lead to higher water bills. Here's how to fix it:
- Check the flapper
The flapper is usually the culprit in the case of a running toilet. What's a flapper? It's a rubber valve that opens and closes to regulate water flow into the toilet bowl. If the flapper is not sealing properly, water will continue to flow indefinitely. To fix this, adjust the chain or lift the flapper to ensure a tight seal. If the flapper is worn or damaged, it may need to be replaced.
- Adjust the float
The float is a ball-shaped device that goes up and down with the water level in the tank. If the float is set too high, water will continue to flow into the bowl, causing the toilet to run. To fix this, adjust the float to the proper level—no big deal.
- Replace the fill valve
If your toilet is still running after checking the flapper and adjusting the float, you may have a defective fill valve. The fill valve controls the flow of water into the toilet tank. If the fill valve is faulty, it may need to be replaced.
- Check the flush handle
If the handle is loose or not functioning properly, it can cause the toilet to run. To fix this, tighten the nut under the handle or replace the handle if necessary.
How to fix a leaky toilet
A leaky toilet can be frustrating and lead to higher water bills and floor damage. Toilets can leak for a variety of reasons and issues, but here are some common culprits and ways to fix them:
- Check the tank bolts
Tank bolts are responsible for holding the toilet tank onto the bowl. If the bolts are loose, water may leak from the tank onto the floor. To fix this, simply tighten the bolts. Easy!
- Check or replace internal parts
If the flapper is worn or damaged, it may need to be replaced. Changing out a faulty flapper is a simple and inexpensive procedure that involves just a few basic tools. Check the fill valve if it's not the flapper's fault. If the fill valve isn't working properly, water may leak into the bowl. To fix this, simply replace the fill valve. Again, easy!
- Check the wax ring
The wax ring is a seal that sits between the bottom of the toilet and the top of the drain pipe. If the wax ring is damaged or worn, it can cause water to leak around the base of the toilet. To fix this, you will need to remove the entire toilet and replace the wax ring. Not so easy! If you’re not comfortable with removing your toilet, call a plumber.
How to fix a slow-filling toilet
Slow toilet? It can be annoying (and boring) to wait for your toilet to fill completely before flushing again. Ain't nobody got time for that. Here are some steps you can take to fix a slow-filling toilet:
- Check the water supply
If the water pressure in your home is low, it can affect the speed at which your toilet fills. You can check your home’s pressure by turning on a faucet and measuring it with a pressure gauge. If the water pressure is low, you may need to have a plumber increase it.
- Clean the fill valve
If the fill valve is dirty or clogged, it can slow down the flow of water into the tank. To clean the fill valve, simply remove it from the tank and rinse it with water.
- Check the float
The float is a ball-shaped device that rises and falls with the water level in the tank. If the float is too low, it can prevent the fill valve from opening fully, slowing water flow into the tank. To fix this, adjust the float back to the proper level.
- Check the inlet valve
The inlet valve is responsible for controlling the flow of water into the fill valve. If the inlet valve is clogged, it can slow down the flow of water into the tank. To clean the inlet valve, simply remove it from the wall and rinse it with water.
The final turd
These are the most common toilet problems and simple solutions to keep your toilet flushing. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help keep your toilet functioning properly and prevent more serious and costly repairs down the line. Using your properly maintained toilet and trusty Squatty Potty to put you in the right pooping posture will help you have more satisfying eliminations every time.