Toilets are something many of us rarely think about until something goes wrong. If the faucet is dripping, you can easily soldier through the increased water bills and leave it alone for months on end (although we do not recommend it). If the shower head is leaking, we delay fixing it or buying a new one out of convenience.
But the situation changes when the toilet malfunctions because there is no easy way to avoid fixing it. Plumbing projects can be a tricky proposition for many people, but they do not have to be. Without further ado, here are three toilet problems you can fix without a plumber.
Though other gadgets and household items have made several technological leaps, toilets have not changed much in the last 80 years. Today’s users experience the same issues as their great-grandfathers, one of them being running toilets. A running toilet can be very annoying, especially when it tanks the water bill.
Fortunately for everybody involved, there are a few home fixes that can be applied without asking the help of a specialist. Depending on the causes, you will need toilet flappers, replacement fill valves, and pliers.
The first thing you should do is check the fil tube. After removing the tank lid, look for a small flexible tube that stretches from the fill valve to the overflow tube. After each successive flush, the overflow tube refills the tank. If the tube is somehow improperly installed or loose, the bowl will not properly refill. Therefore, make sure to reattach the fill tube keeping a distance of 1 inch above the rim.
Next up, you need to adjust the fill height. The water level is maintained by an item called a float; if it is installed too low, the flush is weak; if it is too high, the water reaches the overflow tube and the valve will not properly shut off. The float should have a factory-made fill mark, but in case it does not, you could easily mark it by measuring down about 1 inch. Flush the toilet and try to determine if the water reaches the mark and if it doesn’t, adjust the float accordingly.
Finally, if you have tried the previous two steps, your problem might be elsewhere, possibly the flapper; you should check this for fixing a toilet that won’t flush. After turning off the water, remove the flapper and go to the nearest store. Make sure it is an exact match, otherwise it might not fit with your toilet model. Still, there is a high chance you will not find an exact match, so the best thing to do is to go for an universal model. If either the problem persists, or you can’t find a flapper that works for you, the tank might need to be replaced.
Loose Flush Handle
You’ve unclogged the toilet and stopped the water from running, saving you hundreds of dollars in water bills. But there is one problem left: the flush handle is loose. Or worse, it broke off as you were using it. Regardless of what exactly happened, here is how to fix this problem.
When it comes to tools, you will need an adjustable wrong or some pliers. The first thing you should know is that the net that connects the tank to the handle is usually threaded in the opposite direction than other nuts. This means you have to do everything in reverse – screw counterclockwise to tighten it, and clockwise to loosen it.
If you want to remove it, make sure cut off the water from the toilet to avoid any potential accidents. Using a wrench, rotate the nut clockwise to remove it. Now all you have to do is run to the store, look for an exact match, come back come, install it by rotating counterclockwise and reattach the chain or wire to the lift arm.
There are many easy ways to unclog a toilet without rushing for the plumber’s number. The first method involves using two of the most common household items: vinegar and baking soda. Apart from being excellent for cleaning a variety of surfaces and deodorizing rooms, they are also the biggest enemies of clogged toilets. You will not need any special tools.
Start by pouring one cup of baking soda in the clogged toilet. After waiting for a couple of minutes, add two cups of vinegar to the baking soda, making sure you are doing it slowly and methodically. The reason why you need to be careful is that this particular mixture causes a chemical reaction that could expose the toilet to the risk of overflowing.
Afterward, all you need to do is to wait for another couple of minutes and flush the toilet. If the mixture did not do the trick, rinse and repeat this process until it yields results.
The next method is as basic as it is efficient – using a plunger (preferably with a flange). This is an item that every house owner should possess. Put on some gloves, grab the plunger, insert it into the toilet and push it slowly; the purpose of the first push is to simply eliminate the extra air.
Pushing it too forcefully right from the get-go is not only counterproductive, but you will probably get splashed with dirty water. Make sure that the plunger is properly fixed and push up and down in successive motions, maintaining the same momentum. After a couple of minutes of plunging, the water should rush down the drain. As always, if it did not work from the first session, keep trying because consistency is key.
Finally, if all else fails, you could always try unclogging the toilet with a plumbing snake. Insert its head into the toilet and start slowly rotating the handle clockwise. As soon as you feel any resistance from the other side, pull the snake back. Flush the toilet if the clog has been fixed.
Despite what everybody thinks, most plumbing issues, especially those that are related to the toilet, can be easily fixed by the owners without calling a plumber over. Make sure to read this article and you will learn how to repair a loose handle, and how to fix a clogged or running toilet. Alternatively, read this article to learn about the best rated toilets out on the market today.