A home without a working toilet is barely a home at all. However, not all toilet problems cause the toilet to immediately fail completely. More often, your toilet will start showing some easily overlooked symptoms before it stops flushing, completely overflows or causes a plumbing emergency.
Overlooking minor toilet troubles is not wise because most problems get worse over time. Read on to discover four common toilet troubles and the problems that cause them.
1. Your Toilet Runs Constantly
When a toilet is working properly, it should only run for a minute or two after you flush it. Once the tank is full, it will stop running until you flush it again and empty the tank. If the toilet keeps running long after you flush or if it randomly starts running when you have not flushed for a while, then this means that water is leaking from the tank into the bowl.
A toilet leak can waste thousands of gallons of water a month. Thankfully, leaks are usually quite easy for your plumber to fix. Sometimes, a rubber component called the flapper is to blame. Your plumber can replace the flapper in just a few minutes. Other times, the float, a part that detects the water level in the toilet tank, may need to be adjusted or replaced. This is another simple repair.
2. Your Toilet Gurgles When You Flush
Your toilet should not make a gurgling or bubbling noise if everything is working properly. This noise may mean one of two things: there's a partial clog in your sewer lines or your sewer vent is blocked.
Your plumber can easily locate a sewer line blockage by sending a camera down into the system. Partial blockages may be caused by tree roots growing into the pipe, grease buildup or non-decomposing items like wet wipes and feminine hygiene products. A partial blockage will just keep growing larger and larger until it completely blocks your sewer line, so it's important to have your plumber remove it sooner rather than later.
Your sewer vent pipe is usually located on the roof. It may become clogged with leaves or debris, which causes gasses to become trapped in the sewer line and come gurgling up through the toilet. Your plumber can snake the vent to unclog it and may also install a screen to prevent future blockages.
3. Sewage Backs Up Into Your Toilet
Having sewage back up into your toilet is not a good sign - even if the sewage does not overflow the toilet or completely fill the bowl. Backups are another common sign of a blockage in your sewer line.
Even a small backup can expose your family to harmful bacteria, not to mention noxious odors. It's important to have the clog cleared as soon as possible, and in the meantime, keep the toilet lid closed to minimize odors.
4. Your Toilet Only Flushes Partway
Having to flush twice on occasion is not abnormal. But if you find yourself always having to flush repeatedly because your toilet only ever flushes partway, this is a problem. Partial flushing can be due to a worn flapper. When the flapper wears out, it may allow water to leak from the tank, so only a partial tank of water is released into the bowl when you flush.
Clogged rim holes can also lead to a decreased flush volume, as can a stretched or sagging lift chain. Rim holes eject water into the toilet bowl, and the lift chain lifts the flapper that blocks the pipe leading from the tank to the bowl - allowing water to flow into the bowl.
In any case, your plumber should not have to replace your entire toilet to address partial flushing. Replacing a flapper, adjusting a lift chain and clearing rim holes are all pretty simple fixes.
If you are experiencing any of these common toilet problems, contact the experts at Rockdale Plumbing & Drain, Inc. We'll come inspect your plumbing, figure out the cause of the problem and make the necessary repairs.