Thomas Crapper, who was born in England in 1836, was a plumber who did not in fact invent the flushing toilet, but did a great deal to increase its popularity and improve toilet technology. It is impossible to imagine our lives today without this essential invention, and of all the problems to have in your house, toilet issues rank up there with the worst! You can guarantee that clogging and overflowing will always happen when you have guests or on a long weekend when calling a plumber is going to be a costly affair.
Here are 5 toilet troubleshooting tips that may help you avoid making that call:
1. GET TO KNOW YOUR TOILET
I know you may have better things to do on a Saturday night, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic workings of your toilet when everything is running smoothly. With the lid off the tank, watch what happens when you flush. It will be easier to adjust components when you know how the toilet is supposed to work.
2. A PHANTOM FLUSH
Phantom flushing, a plumber’s term, is when the toilet tank fills by itself, but no one has flushed it. It’s as if a ghost were at work! The toilet may cut on and off or trickle intermittently. This usually means that the tank is leaking into the bowl and you may need to replace the flapper.
3. A SIMPLE TEST TO CONFIRM A LEAK
Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Wait 5 or 10 minutes, then check the water in the bowl. If it is colored, you have a leak. This is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper. Drain the tank and the bowl, check and clean the flapper and replace it if it is worn or damaged.
4. A SLUGGISH FLUSH
This usually suggests there is some sort of clogging going one. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with water and dump it into the toilet as fast as possible. The toilet will flush on its own. If the flush is more vigorous than usual, then it is probably not a clog. If water backs up into the bowl and is slow to drain, it’s a clog. Make sure that the flush holes are clear of debris.
5. A ROYAL FLUSH
A person of noble birth has just used your toilet. Not a serious problem.