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5 Step Toilet Tune Up - Most Common Toilet Problems Fixed

Posted By: Liza Valero In: Home Maintenance
Date: Thu, Apr 19th 2012 1:42 am

toilet in a residential homeDid you know that “sitting toilets” are not common outside of Western countries? The rest of the world prefers “squat toilets” style. Can you believe that the average person visits the toilet about 2,500 times per year and spends about three years of their life on the toilet? Now that is a lot of use!

Most residential toilets are designed with water in the tank and the bowl. When the lever is pressed, the flapper opens and gravity pushes the water from the tank into the bowl. The waste water washes down the waste pipe and is replenished by fresh water that enters into the tank through a refill tube. 

There are usually three toilets in the homes that I inspect. I follow a routine when checking the commodes, and using that routine, I have come up with a 5 Step "Toilet Tune Up" that you can use to make sure yours are operating correctly in your home:

  1. Lift the lid to be sure that the bowl does not appear to be clogged. I learned this trick the hard way! 
  2. Flush the tank and take a good look around the base for any signs of leaks.Approximately one third of the toilets I inspect have a leak at the wax seal. This can usually be detected visually and then verified with a moisture meter. If the home in on a crawl space an inspection from below can confirm that there is a leak present. The good thing about a wax seal leak is that it only happens when the toilet if flushed. The bad thing is that this is waste water leaking out. While looking for leaks at the wax ring, check to make sure there are no leaks from the water supply or the tank itself.
  3. Make sure that the pedestal base is square and firmly connected to the floor. When the base of a toilet can rock it is likely to be leaking at the wax seal. The tank should also sit tight against to the base and not wobble.
  4. Toilet with the lid off of the topInspect the inside of the tank for mechanical problems. Make sure that the pull chain is not so long that it can get caught on the flapper. When the tank is refilling make sure that it is not spraying water up against the tank lid. When this happens, water can run down the side of the tank and damage to the flooring and/or baseboards.
  5. The water level inside the tank should be slightly lower than the top of the filler tube. If the water is too close to the top it may spill some water into the tube occasionally and then add more water to the tank. This cycle may be frequent or only once or twice per day. Either way it is still wasting water and your money.

If you need any further instructions, help or have a question or comment, contact me, Kirk Bingenheimer. I would be glad to help. And you can always go to my website, BSureInspections.com,  to learn more tips and tricks to keeping your home safe and sound.

Kirk Bingenheimer

Kirk Bingenheimer, of B Sure Homes Inspections,
is the guest author of this post.
You can email him or go to his website to learn more about Kirk.