Though it’s not thought about much, your toilet is actually one of the most important plumbing fixtures in your home. Being able to flush waste out of your home is essential to protect the health of your household. Think of the last time you had a mainline clog in your home and you were unable to use your toilets… it probably wasn’t very pleasant or sanitary. In this situation you may want to reach for the phone book and call a plumber over, but not every situation needs a plumbing. If you’re up for reading up about it, watching a video or two, there are some common toilet problems the everyday home-owner can tackle themselves safely.
Clogs (Local to the Toilet)
If the clog is in the mainline then some heavy duty machinery may be required to clear the drain. You will know if the clog is in the mainline because no matter what fixture you use the water will not drain properly (it will usually come out from the bottom of a toilet or in a shower or tub). But, if the only fixture that is clogged is your toilet you may be able to use a toilet auger. This device can be bought from Home Depot for less than $100 and can be use time and again. Search the internet for “How to use a toilet auger”.
A Running Toilet
Your toilet may be running constantly. Or it may run for a short amount of time every so often. There are two common problems I run into all the time. The first is a failed toilet flapper, which means the flapper is allowing water to flow into the bowl slowly, which is reducing the amount of water in the tank. When the water in the tank drops low enough the float on your toilet fill valve will fall and will allow more water in the tank.
If your toilet is constantly running, rather than intermittently, there is a good chance you either have to adjust your toilet fill valve or replace it all together. There is a screw on many new style toilet fill valves that will adjust the float up or down so that it closes at a different level of water. You may notice the water draining through the overflow tube in the tank, if this is the case and an adjustment of the fill valve does not work, then a replacement may be necessary. Search “How to replace a toilet fill valve”.
Urine Smell Near Toilet
Maybe you missed, so you clean around the toilet and bathroom but the smell is back soon after. Okay, now you know you didn’t miss! Before you ground your son or kick your dog outside you might want to consider changing your wax ring. The wax ring is the seal used between the drain in the floor and the base of the toilet. When this wax ring wears out from years of movement from people sitting and… you know. It can develop gaps which allow small amounts of water to escape during flushes. This water has urine and is what creates that smell. Search “How to change a toilet wax ring”.