As complicated as a toilet might look when you lift the tank’s lid, at the end of the day they are pretty simple devices. But making sure they are working properly is serious business. The second part of this blog post describes how to deal with a running toilet, unplugging a toilet, and solutions for a couple of other typical problems.
Toilet Troubleshooting: How not to Call the Plumber
… and when you should
Dealing with a ball cock valve not closing properly
If the ball cock is not managing to stop the water flow, you will see water continuously running through the bowl refill tube. You might also notice water movement in the bowl, if a fair bit of water is leaking. If the ball cock is not stopping the water, there could be worn seals in the valve, or the float arm and float ball are improperly adjusted.
First, check the float arm and float ball by gently raising them. If the water doesn’t stop, then most likely the seals in the ball cock need changing. Most people will just replace the ball cock, as they are not expensive and often sealed units. Alternatively, the water level might be so high that it is entering the overflow tube. In this case, adjust the float angle: there is usually an adjustment screw for the purpose, but it’s also possible to gently bend the float arm.
If you are interested in detailed step-by-step directions for fixing or replacing a ball cock assembly they can be found [here][http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/plumbing/how-to-repair-a-toilet4.htm].
Dealing with the flush valve not closing properly
If the flush valve is not stopping the water flow to the bowl, it is going to be caused by either worn seals or improper ball/flap alignment.
Worn seals in the flush valve mechanism can sometimes be detected by rubbing the seal: if black rubber comes off, it’s likely the seal is getting old and losing effect.
If the ball or flap is not seating properly, it can usually be adjusted by rotating its connection point on the overflow tube (if it is connected there). Alternatively, the rod guide can be adjusted.
It’s also possible that the float ball has water inside and has lost buoyancy, or is rubbing on the tank wall and not rising to its proper level.
Dealing with overflows
This is usually the big attention-getter, but the solution is easy: a plunger will do the job almost every time. Removing the blockage with a plunger is a matter of having enough water in the bowl before using the plunger. A tip: If there’s not enough water there to cover the top of the plunger, DON’T FLUSH THE TOILET AGAIN. You will just end up with a mess you don’t want to clean. Instead, use a bucket to add water before plunging.
If the blockage is further down the system, past the siphon for instance, a toilet snake may be needed, as the plunger depends on a solid force of water to work. If there is air between the bowl and the blockage, a snake will do the job.
Smells rising from the drain pipe: the floor gasket (wax seal) should be enough to prevent smells coming from the drain pipe, but if the problem persists, a bead of silicone caulking around the base of the toilet will help.
Condensation sweating water front the tank: if the water temperature is cold enough and the air of the bathroom is humid, the tank can sweat water, sometimes enough to wet the floor and lead to mildew. Tank sweating can be prevented by a styrofoam tank liner (often now a part of new toilets), or by piping some warm water into the filler stream using a splitter valve in the pipe.
Not enough flow: with time, calcium can deposit in spots such as the filler holes around and under the rim of the bowl, or in the area of the ball cock. Cleaning will solve these problems.
Finally, if you want to see toilets of another order altogether, look at how waste disposal is handled on the gigantic Airbus A380 airliner. No siphon action here!
Most toilet problems are fixable with relatively little expense, skill, or tools if you are willing to roll up your sleeves. For those wanting to bring in a professional, contact Master Drain today for a quick solution.