Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Toilet Troubleshooting

When there’s trouble in the toilet area, a happy household or business environment can quickly go right down the drain. According to, the five most common toilet plumbing problems (and some fix-it tips) are as follows:

1. Clogged Toilet – For whatever reason, the either the drain pipe or the curved toilet trap is blocked. Usually, the culprit is toilet paper, a child’s toy, feminine products, a washcloth, etc. One of our favorite rules of thumb is “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t flush it.” That being said, clogs happen. 

The Fix: If the toilet is draining, even slowly, that’s a good sign. Using a plunger, attempt to free the clog (hint: YouTube has several instructional plunger videos). If, after a few attempts, we recommend contacting a reputable plumber for assistance.

2. Running Toilet – The toilet is constantly filling with water, yet is never “full”. In this case, either the flush valve or the float ball has an issue. 

The Fix: Open the tank, check to make sure the valve chain is connected properly or if the float ball needs to be adjusted. (hint: YouTube). If neither of these options resolve the issue, we recommend contacting a reputable plumber for assistance.

3. Flushing Problems – Sometimes, the handle becomes disconnected from the valve chain, preventing the flusher from working. Other times, the tank may not fill completely, creating a partial flush situation that’s less than desirable.

The Fix: In the first scenario, a new handle kit may be needed, especially if the parts were plastic to begin with. Plastic toilet flush mechanism parts can break without notice. If the tank is not filling completely, verify that the float ball is set at the proper position. The tank should be filling to within a few inches of the top.

4. Slow Tank Refill – If the tank is taking an especially long time to refill after flushing, it’s possible the supply valve may not be fully open.

The Fix: Locate the toilet water supply valve (usually near the toilet) and verify it’s fully open. If that doesn’t address the issue, we recommend contacting a reputable plumber for assistance.

5. Water around the toilet base or under the tank – This can be a couple of issues: a broken seal (a.k.a. johnny ring), cracked porcelain, condensation on the toilet tank (especially in summer months), worn washers in the supply line or rusty bolts in the tank.

The Fix: First, locate the leak. Next, determine if it’s within your skill set to repair the leak.
• If the leak is around the toilet base and you suspect a broken seal, you may want to contact a plumber for assistance.

• Leaks is caused by condensation on the outside of the toilet tank – this can be a frustrating fix. Options include: installing air conditioning in the bathroom to reduce the temperature discrepancy between the tank and the room, installing a tank liner, installing a specialty gadget that adds hot water to the toilet tank’s cold water, a tank cover to the outside of the tank, or putting a towel under the tank to catch the drips.

• Bolt/washer issues – these can be tough. On older toilets, the bolts can be rusted into place and removal is difficult. If you attempt to fix this yourself, keep in mind that porcelain is usually cracked in the bolt area. Do not over-tighten or pound on the bolts with a hammer. Use a blow torch with care. We recommend contacting a reputable plumber for assistance.

Water You Waiting For? If you have a plumbing issue that makes you uncomfortable, our personable, professional and highly knowledgeable plumbers are available 24/7 to serve your plumbing needs.  Call 513-396-5300 or Contact us for a free estimate. We’ve been helping Cincinnati homeowners with their plumbing needs for decades and can help with yours, too.  We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.