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5 Common Toilet Problems and How to Repair Them

While thinking about your toilets may not be a priority, when they stop running it soon jumps to the top of your list. Thankfully, you can often address these issues with a simple toilet repair. The plumbing professionals at Bonney are here with a look at 5 common toilet problems and the repairs they require. 

Problem 1: Toilet is Running

Perhaps one of the most common problems for toilets is continuously running. Running toilets will cycle on and off continuously—even when the toilet is not in use. This issue will cause your water bill to skyrocket and wastes clean water resources.

In the worst-case scenario, you could have an ongoing underlying issue with the toilet that leads to disaster. Without the mechanisms to properly shut off the water, a clogged toilet could cause the bowl to overflow. This issue can create a small flood or a catastrophic leak.

A nuisance toilet that continues to run could be a huge issue waiting in the shadows.

How do you fix a running toilet?

Flappers are the common culprit of running toilets. Your flapper is supposed to seal the water tank when the toilet is not in use.  Each time you flush, the flapper opens to let water into the toilet bowl. When the flapper is not sealing after each flush, it allows your water to flow continuously causing the toilet to run. 

How do you fix a running toilet? Flapper issues will require a flapper replacement. Most flappers are easy to replace if you have a traditional fill valve and flapper. The flapper is usually held on by hooks at the bottom of the tank on the flush valve overflow tube.

To replace your flapper, you simply remove the old flapper from the two hooks and disconnect the chain from the handle. Then, connect the new flapper. It is important to ensure your chain has the proper length and the flapper matches the toilet and its flush.

Some newer toilets use a disk seal instead of a flapper. While these are not terribly hard to fix, they can be a little technical. It is easy for inexperienced hands to break toilet components while trying to get it disassembled. If you decide to try it yourself, we recommend doing it early in the day. This will ensure you have enough time to call a professional like Bonney out to help if you run into trouble.

Problem 2: Toilet Water Runs Too Long

Have you noticed that your water continues to run after the tank is refilled? If you lift the lid off your tank, you might find extra water pouring right down the drain through the overflow tube. Much like a running toilet, this will increase your water bills.

When your toilet water fails to shut off after refilling the tank, you are likely experiencing issues with the fill valve. Fill valves are responsible for turning the water on and off after each flush. Your fill valve may be failing due to debris buildup or old age. 

The first thing we check is to see if there is any adjustment left in the fill valve so the water level can be lowered. If it can, this simple adjustment could solve your problem.

If the fill valve float lifts up but does not shut the water off immediately, this is a sign that your internal gaskets have gone bad. In this case, you will need a new fill valve installed. Customers often ask, “Why not just replace the seals or gaskets?” The problem is that everything is now made with plastic and rubber. The chemicals in the water take a toll on these materials. Your seals and gaskets become hard and brittle, so we always recommend a replacement over a rebuild. Rubber gaskets may also swell and start decomposing. Either way, it is time for a complete valve replacement.

Problem 3: Toilet Leaks

If your toilet is leaking water, it has the potential to create high water bills and water damage in your home. Unfortunately, these leaks can be challenging to detect. The exact issue and its repair will depend on the source of the leak. Toilet leaks can source from a variety of problems, including:

  • Corroded pipes
  • Loose bolts
  • Cracks in the porcelain
  • Supply line issues
  • Gasket troubles
  • Failing connectors
  • Broken seals

…and so many others. You can do yourself a favor by looking in the tank. You might just save yourself a service call. If the leak is not from an obvious source, it is time to call a professional. An expert plumber can help you find the toilet leak and repair it at the source. Here is our guide on what to do when you find a plumbing leak in your home.

Problem 4: Loose Toilet Handle

When you flush your toilet handle, does it feel loose? A properly functioning toilet will have a handle with proper resistance. The resistance shows that the handle is successfully pulling the chain inside your tank and lifting the flapper.

Loose handles can prevent your toilet from flushing or cause incomplete flushes. In lighter cases, it may require you to stand and hold the toilet handle down for the duration of the flush. 

The toilet handle should feel fairly loose—but when you push it down, you should feel resistance. 

There are a few issues that can lead to a loose handle without resistance—the most common of which is an extended or broken flapper chain. Your chain needs to connect to both the handle and the flapper. A toilet chain should also be long enough to the flapper entirely when in the resting position, yet short enough to fully lift the flapper when flushing. 

The repair here may require a chain adjustment or replacement. You will also want to ensure that your toilet handle is mounted and secured properly. 

Another potential problem could occur if you have a newer style of toilet that does not have a chain. If this is the case, it might be time to give the pros a call. 

Problem 5: Toilet Not Flushing

At the very least, we expect our toilets to flush. So what happens if your toilet stops flushing entirely? Like most toilet problems, there are a few potential culprits to consider here. 

First, check to ensure your chain is connected to both the flapper and the handle. If the chain is disconnected, it will not open your flapper to initiate the flush. This problem will require a chain repair or replacement.

Next, double-check to ensure that your water supply is on and your toilet tank is full. Without the necessary supply of water, your toilet will be unable to flush. This repair may require valve replacement or a professional reinstallation service. 

Local Toilet Repair: Bonney

Are you having toilet troubles in your home or business? The professional plumbers at Bonney are here to help! We proudly serve the plumbing needs of the greater Sacramento area, including Roseville, Carmichael, Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Gold River, Fair Oaks, Vacaville, Natomas, La Riviera, Rosemont, and beyond! You can make your toilet repair appointment online or give our experts a call to get started today!