Toilet Troubleshooting Tips

We are so fortunate to live in the United States where we have proper sanitation and well-maintained sewage systems that help keep our families healthy and safe. But even so, it’s still important to keep our toilets clean and in good operating condition. Without proper maintenance, we risk the potential for illness and the possibility of high-cost toilet problems if left unattended for too long. Here are some helpful tips and troubleshooting help to keep your toilets in tip-top shape.

Why does my toilet continue to run after flushing? A running toilet is a sign that you have an internal water leak. Don’t ignore this problem! It’s a sign that you could be wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day and running up your water bill. The culprit in this situation is the chain attached to the flapper. A chain that’s too long, won’t open the flapper wide enough to stay open for a full flush and causes your toilet to continue running. Additionally, if the chain is too short it can create problems too. A chain that’s too short can prevent the flapper from closing and cause water to continue to leak into the toilet bowl.

How long can I expect the parts inside my toilet to last? There are several factors that will affect the length of time you can reasonably expect parts to last. Water quality is a major factor in the longevity of parts. Water that is heavily chlorinated or has a lot of sand or grit or has a low pH will decrease the lifespan of parts. Flappers and washers/seals (replaceable parts) will generally last up to four to five years on “average”. However, these parts can be affected by chemical bowl cleaners which significantly reduce this time span. The quality of parts can make a difference as well. For instance, the material make-up of some flappers will deteriorate (leave residue on your skin when touched) or may even harden or stiffen up, losing their original shape and flexibility. When this happens, it’s time to replace it.

What causes my toilet to gurgle when I flush it? If your toilet is gurgling it’s a sign that air is coming up through the toilet. This could indicate a blockage in the sewer line, in the toilet trap, or even in the vent stack where sewer gases escape. The problem might be a result of worn toilet tank parts. Another cause may be your vent stack. Since your vent stack opens up outside your home on your roof, bird nests and leaves can get stuck and create a problem.

I don’t have a clog so why is my toilet flushing slowly? It’s possible to have a clogged drain way down in your sewer pipe. Waste debris, a toy, or even tree roots can cause sewer line clogs. If this is the problem, you’ll notice other drains in your house moving slowly as well. Get a plumber to clean your drain.

Why is there a bad smell when I flush my toilet? There are a few causes of this smell. The first is a damaged wax seal ring. This ring beneath your toilet keeps the sewer gases from being displaced every time you flush.  A damaged ring will let gases escape between the floor and the toilet. A second reason could be a clogged vent. When drain vents are clogged the air has nowhere to go but into the bathroom. Thirdly, and the biggest problem of all would be a cracked toilet bowl. This can allow water to leak out of the crack and allows sewer gas to enter your bathroom. The only solution to this problem is to replace the entire toilet.

We hope we’ve been able to provide you with helpful information to troubleshoot any issues you’ve had with your toilet(s). If we haven’t answered your particular question, feel free to give us a call. We love to help out our customers! Rainaldi Home Services is your local Orlando plumbing expert. Give us a call at (407) 413-9795 or contact us online to schedule service today.

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