Issues with your toilet can readily disrupt your day. Take these easy steps to save yourself from the most common toilet problems – and the hefty repair bill that can often come with them.
Toilet Problem #1: Clogged toilet
One of the most infamous plumbing problems is a clogged toilet. Follow the steps below to safely resolve your garden variety clog (even if you don’t have a plunger!).
HOW TO UNCLOG A TOILET
Method One: Add a bucket of warm to hot water (not scalding) and pour it slowly from two feet above the open toilet bowl. Wait to hear movement before attempting to flush.
Method Two: Pour 4-6 ounces of dish soap into the toilet, then flush. The soap can make items flow through your plumbing more easily. If it needs a bit more push, try once more with Method One and see if your clog has become dislodged.
Method Three: Use nontoxic DIY cleaner recipes to flush your pipes without chemicals at a moment’s notice.
Pro Tip: Avid flushable wipes, greasy substances, and excess toilet paper to limit blockages in your plumbing and keep things moving.
Toilet Problem #2: Slow-flushing toilet
Low toilet pressure can be stressful (Are you a clog, or aren’t you?) Try these tips to help your toilet’s system pick up the pace.
Good news: Using any of the methods from the section above can also help your toilet flush faster! If that doesn’t seem to work, check the following parts of your toilet’s anatomy to determine the cause.
Fix the toilet flapper
Your toilet flapper may need to simply be moved to properly cover the opening at the bottom of your tank. If it’s been three to five years, or you regularly use chemical cleaners, it may be time to replace your flapper for correct coverage.
Test your toilet float
Take your toilet’s tank lid off and do a test flush, checking to see if the water rises to the refill line. Slow flushing can come from any of the conditions below.
- A twisted float
- A float that is set too low, causing water to rush the overflow pipe, which is designed to prevent tank flooding)
- A float touching anything other than water
To resolve this, bend the float arm and move it to the proper position. If your toilet float is worn or damaged, replace as needed.
Check your toilet’s fill valve
Toilets whose fill valves are covered in mineral buildup are less effective. If there are no issues with the water supply, using half a cup of vinegar and an unused toothbrush should remove any buildup. Give your toilet a few flushes as normal, and you should be ready to go!
Inspect the holes in the bowl
Toilet bowl holes can experience mineral buildup, too. Give these little holes the unused-toothbrush-and-vinegar treatment for fast and easy flushing.
Toilet Problem #3: Running toilet
Marathons are for people, not toilets. If the solutions above don’t remedy the situation, review your toilet flapper’s function to give your toilet (and your water bill) a break.
Do a test flush with the tank lid off to see if the chain on your toilet’s flush valve is damaged or too short. Replacement chains are typically $5-$15 and can be installed in as little as five minutes.
Pro Tip: Reduce the chances of your toilet running by installing a smart bidet.
Toilet Problem #4: Loud toilet
Has your toilet ever startled you with the power of its flush? If so, you’re in the right place to pick up a couple ways to fix a loud toilet flush.
This could be a sign that your plumbing is getting choked by a clog, so – you guessed it – try the steps above to resolve the issue. If it persists, the black rubber washer toward the bottom of the fill valve may be the source of the humming noise your toilet may be making, indicating that it needs to be replaced ($2-$6).
Toilet Problem #5: Boring toilet
Is your toilet last on your list when it comes to letting your personal style shine? Even when it's in good working order, you may get tired of seeing the same old commode every day. Freshen up the look of your porcelain throne with one of the affordable options below.
Cover it up
Toilet seat covers are the easiest way to change the look and feel of your bathroom. Whether you’re focused on brightening up this high-traffic space or avoiding an uncomfortable chill on a winter morning, in as little as 1 minute, you can drape a cute cover over the lid and tank and go on about your business. Flush out the old, and bring in the new!
Pro Tip: If your bathroom needs more warmth in the winter, make sure the HVAC system is cleared so your bathroom can get the heat it deserves.
Switch it up
Modernize the look with a new trip lever (flush handle) for $15-$50. Whether you’re looking for a handle that’s iridescent, shark shaped, or that has a chrome finish, swapping out this feature can make your bathroom that much more interesting.
If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option, you can install a dual flush conversion kit for the same effect as the toilets you may have seen in public restrooms. With most kits ranging from $20 to $50, you can transform your toilet and help save the planet with straightforward instructions and just a few hours.
Decorate behind it
Accent walls aren’t just for living rooms. If you’d like to keep this bathroom fixture in its original state, consider styling the space behind it! Whether you tile it, paint it, or wallpaper it, the fun can be in making things pop behind the toilet itself.
However you choose to elevate your toilet, use the right locks to stop little loved ones and fur babies from diving in.