Among the various mechanical and plumbing systems that can fail in your in Portland, Texas home, the toilet is probably the easiest to troubleshoot. Many common toilet issues are easy to diagnose and fix, but if you can’t figure out the problem, a professional plumber is just a quick phone call away.

Everyday Toilet Issues

When troubleshooting toilet issues, here are some of the most common problems you’re likely to encounter.

  • A toilet that requires more than one flush – This is particularly frustrating if you’re the type of person who tries hard not to waste water. When you have to flush a toilet twice, you’re using twice as much water. Having to flush more than once usually means not enough water is draining from the tank and into the bowl.
  • This may happen if the chain that connects the flapper valve to the flush handle is too long. When it pulls up, the chain doesn’t raise the flapper sufficiently to drain the tank. You can easily shorten the chain by connecting the clasp to a higher link on the chain. Be careful not to make it too short, however, because that can cause problems, too.

    Another reason for an inadequate flush is that the tank isn’t filling high enough to provide sufficient water to drain the tank. A quick fix for this issue is to bend the metal arm of the float-fill valve so the water rises higher in the tank before stopping.

  • Your toilet is constantly running or occasionally experiencing spontaneous mini-flushes – The flapper valve is the likely culprit here. These rubber toilet components usually deteriorate and fail before other toilet hardware. If the flapper valve isn’t making a tight seal against the seating area of the toilet tank, the water will run constantly. This, of course, is a huge waste of water, plus the noise of water running is highly annoying. Buy a new flapper valve and look for a newer model with more durable materials, but before doing so, make sure mineral deposits on the tank seating area aren’t interfering with a tight seal.

    The water may also be running because the chain connecting the flapper valve to the flush handle is too short. This can prevent the flapper from falling firmly and making a tight seal. Just readjust the chain to be one or two links longer.

  • You’re seeing dampness on or around the toilet – This can be one of the more perplexing troubleshooting toilet issues. It may be a leak, but it also might be seasonal “sweating.” A good way to test is to take some food coloring and pour a small amount into the toilet tank. Wait a suitable period of time to see whether the color ends up on the toilet tank or floor. If the color shows up, check pipe connections or the toilet tank for leaks. You’ll probably need to call a professional plumber to fix a leaking toilet or its plumbing.
  • The toilet is about to overflow – Among troubleshooting toilet issues, this is the most panic-inducing, especially if someone has just used the toilet. But avoid panicking, and instead take quick action. Reach into the tank and pull up the float (or fill) valve to stop the tank from filling further. Prop it up while you get a plunger. You can also turn off the water to the toilet.

What About More Serious Problems?

You’ll want to call a professional plumber if a leaking toilet is threatening to damage home fixtures and furnishings or if raw sewage is backing up into your home. If you’ve lost water service and don’t know why or if the toilet is clogged and you can’t unclog it, call your plumber. And if you discover you have a persistent leak but don’t know what’s causing it, you’re better off relying on a professional to find and repair the issue to avoid more serious damage and unnecessarily high water bills.

For more help troubleshooting toilet issues, contact Bodine-Scott Air Conditioning Co. at (361) 883-9900. Or schedule an appointment and let us take care of your home maintenance needs.

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