Tips & Advice

Common toilet problems and how to fix them

The toilet is one of the most familiar household fixtures that we can’t do without. But sometimes things go wrong, and you need to know whether it is a quick fix or when you need to call a plumber.

This helpful article focuses on some common problems and solutions to help your toilet stay in tip-top shape.

Routine care

The basic care plan for a household toilet is a simple routine of applying the correct cleaner inside and out. Cleaning products designed for inside the toilet bowl can employ strong chemicals or be enviro-friendly, and can include discs.

The most common issues arise when people – realistically this usually means toddlers – put household items that aren’t a toilet cleaning product into the toilet bowl. Toys and other objects can cause obstructions in the S-bend that are difficult to reach and expensive for the plumber to sort out. It’s a good idea to keep the lid down when not in use.

Toilet issues may also eventuate from wet wipes, cotton buds, nappies, pads and other hygiene products being intentionally flushed down the loo. As well as forming blockages in your toilet bowl or further down the sewer line, they represent an environmental hazard. Do not flush these items down the toilet and follow the guidelines of your local water authority.

Check in with your toilet

Keep checking in to ensure your toilet functions properly.

If you have major concerns, stop using the toilet and consult a plumber. In the case of minor problems you may be able to sort out some issues yourself.

Common toilet problems

If the flush button doesn’t release sufficient water:

  • Check the cistern has enough water. It could be the water supply in the house and you can refill the cistern manually until the supply issue is resolved.
  • See if the flush valve is working – it could be damaged or not installed properly.

If the toilet runs constantly:

  • See if the flush valve is working – it may not be sealing correctly
  • Check for leaks in the fill valve. Adjusting the float arm of the valve could make it work.

If the cistern is leaking:

  • Check the cistern for cracks, of if the rubber around the bolts and washers has perished and is letting water through. You will need to call a plumber.

If the toilet bowl fills up quickly or is clogged:

  • Use a toilet plunger to clear blockages, but if the blockage is too far down you will need to call the plumber.

If the toilet bowl is leaking:

  • Leaking bowls could be caused by cracks or failed seals. The sanitation issue is a real problem so stop using the toilet immediately and call the plumber.

If the toilet is unsteady:

  • Check if the seat is causing unsteadiness – the problem might be fixable with a spanner.
  • Check the toilet itself to see if the flange that joins it to the drain is connected properly. You could tighten the bolts yourself or call the plumber.

If the problem looks serious, get the plumber in straight away to check your toilet and make repairs.

The plumber can also advise if it is time for a new toilet.

Why it’s important to replace the cistern and toilet pan at the same time

A qualified plumber will be required for the removal of sections of the old toilet and installation of replacement parts.

When it’s time for replacement the best option is to have both cistern and toilet pan replaced at the same time, regardless of whether one is undamaged, to ensure compatibility.

People often replace just the cistern and this can cause problems with water flow into the toilet. Newer water-saving cisterns may not work properly or efficiently with an older style toilet bowl. Installing a completely new toilet suite will save you money in the long run.

New loo technology

The good news is that if you do have to part ways with a loyal toilet, your plumber can help you choose and install a brand new loo that will see you through another decade and beyond.

A whole range of new toilets are on the market. Many are more energy efficient, take up less room and are easier to clean. Glamour loos can be selected to fit in with a range of interior decorating trends. High-tech toilet options for households include auto-cleaning functions, hands-free flushing and bidet-style models.

Call Curran Plumbing today to get help with toilet repairs or the installation of a new toilet.

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