Troubleshooting your toilet for small repairs
Most minor toilet malfunctions are easy to fix on your own. Before picking up the phone to call a Boston plumber, try these easy fixes for some of the most common problems.
Here are some troubleshooting methods you can try:
- If you notice that your toilet flushes weakly, slowly or often requires more than one flush, it may be time to inspect your toilet. First remove the top of the tank and set it on a stable surface. As you flush with the handle as usual, watch the flapper valve or tank ball that is over the hole in the bottom of the tank. If the flapper valve does not lift very high, fix this by tightening the chain that attaches the flapper valve to the flush arm.
- If this does not solve the problem, wait until the tank refills completely and note whether the water reaches the fill line. If it does not, gently bend the float arm to raise the float ball. If the float arm is plastic, adjust the knob at the end of the arm to bring the float ball higher.
- A leaky toilet can waste gallons of water every day, and unless you hear it running, you may not be aware that you have a leak. The New Mexico Water Use and Conservation Bureau recommend that you check for leaks by putting about 10 drops of dark-colored dye or food coloring in the tank of your toilet. If the water in the toilet bowl is colored 15 minutes later, you have a leak.
- Check whether the water level is above the overflow pipe. If it is, either pull the end of the pipe up gently to keep the water from leaking out that way, or bend the float arm to lower the level of your float ball. Another possibility is that your float ball is cracked and has water inside of it, causing it to rest too low in the water. If this is the case, replace the float ball.
- If the overflow pipe and float ball operate as they should, the problem is likely your flapper valve or tank ball at the bottom of the tank. Shut off the water, flush the toilet to drain it and inspect the flapper valve or tank ball. Clean off any mineral deposits that might be disrupting the seal. If it still won’t work, replace the flapper valve or tank ball with a new one.
If you are uncomfortable performing these tasks or feel as if you need assistance, a handyman, plumber or general contractor can assist you with any of these difficulties. Not only will a professional be able to help you solve the problem quickly, but he or she can identify additional issues that need maintenance.