Understanding 4 Frustrating Toilet Failures

Of all the household devices that you depend on to do their job when you need them the most, the toilet surely ranks toward the top of the list. Toilets contain a variety of hoses, valves, seals, and moving parts. A problem in any of these components can suddenly leave you with a frustrating problem.

Even if you have every intention of leaving the fixes to the experts, you may rest easier simply by knowing what’s probably going wrong in your toilet. Take a look at these four all-too-common toilet-related failures.

  1. The Toilet Simply Won’t Flush

Your toilet may fail to flush when you push the flush handle. This common occurrence can cause considerable inconvenience and embarrassment until you can finally eliminate the solid or liquid waste from the toilet bowl. Fortunately, plumbers can usually correct this kind of problem with ease.

Your toilet flushes by dumping water from an overhead tank down into the bowl. This clean water replaces the wastewater in the bowl, pushing it downward through the toilet’s p-trap and into the sewer line. The flush handle uses an attached chain to raise a rubber flapper in the bottom of the tank.

Any failure in this relatively simple assembly can prevent your toilet from flushing. For instance, the flusher handle’s chain may detach from the rubber flapper, leaving the flapper closed when you push the handle. Alternatively, the flapper may not align properly or form a good seal with the hole in the bottom of the tank.

A toilet may refuse to flush even when the flush handle chain remains solidly connected to the flapper and the flapper fits the tank hole perfectly. In these situations, a length of the chain may sit between the flapper and the hole. This prevents the tank from filling with enough water to provide a solid flush.

  1. The Toilet Never Stops Running

You can usually tell when you have a flush chain or flapper problem because you won’t see or hear the water filling the toilet tank. However, you may suffer the opposite problem: a toilet tank that never stops running. You may see water pouring out of the flush valve even though the tank’s water level never rises.

Your toilet tank gets its water supply from a plumbing pipe located next to the toilet. This water runs through a fill tube perched over a cylinder called an overflow tube, which directs water to the bottom of the tank. As the water level rises, a float valve rises with it. At a certain height, the float valve shuts off the water flow.

If your toilet tank’s water level never seems to rise, your fill tube may have either detached completely or gotten dislodged from its usual position directly over the overflow tube. Either way, your tank may never collect more than a small amount of water, never reaching the proper level to shut itself off.

If your overflow tube seems to do its job correctly, then you may have to turn your attention to the flapper. A worn flapper that has lost its sealing power may allow water to drip through the tank instead of accumulating in it.

  1. The Toilet Has Sprung a Leak

Any plumbing problem that results in a wet floor can prove understandably alarming. If you see water around the base of your toilet, you need to contact a plumber before you use the toilet again. In the meantime, turn off the water supply at the wall valve.

You may find out that the water on your floor has leaked out of the wall valve directly. Your plumber may need to replace the malfunctioning valve to restore normal, trouble-free service.

Sometimes, the base of a toilet experiences a malfunction that causes it to leak. Your toilet’s bolts may have come loose, for instance, or its wax seal may have broken or worn out. Another possibility is a broken toilet flange or collar. However, you can’t always attribute mysterious puddles of water to leakage. The water might come from condensation dripping down a cold toilet.

  1. The Toilet Smells Like a Sewer

Normally, the p-trap in your toilet keeps sewer gas out of your bathroom. This curved length of tubing traps holds a certain amount of water at all times, creating a barrier between the sewer line and your home.

A toilet that smells like sewer gas may have developed a critical breach that undoes this safeguard. A failed wax seal can sometimes allow sewer gas into the bathroom. A toilet that has no water in it at all (has gone unused for months) will permit sewer gas to creep up through the p-trap.

The experienced plumbers at Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., can resolve these and other annoying toilet problems quickly and effectively. Call us at 630-964-2222 to set up an appointment.

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