Common Toilet Issues and the Reasons Why They Occur

September 23, 2020 - DIY Plumbing

Common Toilet Issues and the Reasons Why They Occur

From toilets flushing on their own to toilets not flushing at all.


Toilet Problem 1: Water Trickling Into the Toilet Bowl


One common toilet issue is when the water trickles into the bowl at random times. Sometimes your toilet may even flush spontaneously. No, you probably don’t have a ghost playing tricks on you. What most likely is happening is a slow leak from the tank to the bowl. This is caused by a bad flapper and replacing the flapper is the solution. A toilet flapper can become worn and is a part that most commonly needs to be replaced.


Toilet Problem 2: Weak Flushing Toilet


Does your toilet flush very slowly? A weak flushing toilet can be caused by clogged rim jets. The rim jets or bowl jets on a toilet are under the rim of the toilet bowl. When these become clogged with scale build-up the toilet begins to have a weak flush. To fix a weak flushing toilet you can try to clean the little holes out with a small wire.


If the problem continues there could be another issue or it may be time for a new toilet. Upgrading to a newer style toilet helps improve water efficiency in your home. Toilets built before 1982 use 5 to 7 gallons of water to flush. Now, toilets use 1.6 gallons of water to flush. There are many technology upgrades with toilets today that allow them to use less water and have a better flush. 


Did you know that the federal government made a policy that states any toilet installed after 1994 must have a flush volume of 1.6 gallons?



Toilet Problem 3: Toilet Clogs Frequently


It is never fun dealing with a toilet that frequently clogs. You may be way too familiar with how to use a plunger. Sometimes even a plunger doesn’t fix the clog and you will have to use a toilet auger.


The reason for frequent clogs can be several different things including objects causing an obstruction, the issue with venting, main sewer line problems, and age of the toilet.


Over time the glazing on the china wears down in the toilet trap way causing items to get clogged.


When a vent gets blocked or the vent is installed improperly or missing the toilet may gurgle, flush poorly or you may notice bad sewer smells.


If you notice other drains backing up the issue could be farther down the drain line or even the main sewer line to your home. Main sewer lines get damaged from roots, settlement, and age.


Toilet Problem 4: Leak Coming from Various Spots of the Toilet


There are normally about five different seals on your toilet that can cause a leak. These seals wear over time and cause small leaks. Sometimes it is difficult to find where the leak is coming from. The first seal is where the tank connects to the bowl. There are also smaller seals for the mounting bolts and at the base of the ballcock.


The last seal is at the base of the toilet at the toilet flange. This seal is called a wax ring. A leak at the base of the toilet can cause a lot of damage to your floor and even root out your floor completely. Caulking around the base of the toilet is not an adequate solution because it only traps the water under the toilet. To fix this issue the toilet needs to be removed, the wax ring replaced and the toilet installed again.


While the toilet is removed you will need to make sure there isn’t a more major issue once you can see the toilet flange. Rocking toilets can cause the toilet flange to break.


Toilet Problem 5: Toilet Not Flushing at All


Improper replacement of any of the toilet parts can result in the toilet not flushing at all. 


Watch the video below of the master plumber explaining what has happened with this DIY plumbing flush valve replacement on a toilet. This homeowner scheduled a plumbing pro to help figure out why the toilet had a constant water trickle into the bowl.


 The master plumber talks about capillary action and automatic siphon.

Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity.

He also mentions that what the homeowner has created by accident is an automatic siphon.


The two things done with this DIY toilet repair were inserting the fill tube into the flush valve tube too far which created capillary action. The water level in the tank was also too high which caused the automatic siphon. There is a small clip that the fill tube attaches to at the top of the flush valve tube. If this is not installed properly it will cause this issue. The fill tube can be shortened so it is adjusted to the right length.


There are many small adjustments that can be made inside the toilet tank to adjust the function of the toilet. Plumbers have the knowledge of all of these adjustments and how toilets work. Video Chat Pro plumbers can help with your DIY toilet repair so you get it fixed correctly.


Toilet Problem 6: Wobbly Toilet


The issue of a wobbling toilet can be irritating and may cause more damage to your toilet and toilet flange so it is important to repair this issue. The most likely cause of a wobbly or rocking toilet is loose toilet bolts. 


The toilet flange could also be causing the issue. The flange could be broken, corroded, or even set too high. The wax ring could also be too high. The toilet could have been originally installed incorrectly or the problem has occurred over time.


I know there seems to be a lot that can go wrong with something people normally think should last a lifetime. However, toilets are one of the most used things in our home and they have a lot of working parts that degrade over time. If installed improperly more serious issues can occur.


When should you replace a toilet vs repairing your old toilet?


There are several factors to consider when deciding if it’s time for a new toilet.

  • Age of the toilet. Any toilet older than 1982 should certainly be replaced.

  • Scale build-up. If your toilet has a major amount of scale build-up it may be time to send her to the toilet graveyard.

  • Wear of tank parts. If everything looks to be in bad shape and all the parts are needing to be replaced it may be less expensive and easier to get a new toilet.

  • Clogs happen often.


Video Chat a Pro has plumbers who are here to help you if you would like to complete any of these repairs, diagnose what the issue is or install a new toilet. Schedule this plumbing pro to help with your do it yourself plumbing toilet repair to get it done right the first time.