Diagnosing Toilet Problems

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated April 22, 2016)


Have you ever had a problem with your toilet, called a plumber, only to find out that the problem really wasn't really all that major to begin with. Granted, after finding this out you usually have to pay $100 or more. Diagnosing toilet problems yourself can not only save you some money that you can use in a variety of other ways, by either telling the plumber what the problem is or by being able to fix the problem yourself.

  • Inspect the base. Often times one of the first indications of a problem with the toilet is that you will find some water around the base. This means that the first place that you should check is around the base of the toilet itself. Completely dry the area around the toilet base, and then lay down a towel of some kind (such as a paper towel) and let it sit for a couple of hours. Check the towel, and if you find that is wet you probably have a problem with the seal that is under the base.
  • Inspect the tank and feeder lines. Another one of the more common place that you can find a problem is where the feeder lines and the tank meet. If you find any condensation there (which is fairly common) simply dry it as much as possible. After drying it, flush the toilet several times and keep an eye out for any leaks. Depending on where the leak shows up (if it does) will indicate what the problem is. For example, if it is near the tank itself then there may be a problem with the flush valve, and if it is near the wall then there is probably a problem with the water supply hose itself.
  • Examine the tank. There are a lot of problems that can be found inside the actual tank itself. This means that you will need to take off the tank, and then flush it. Time how long it takes to refill the tank, if it is excessively long (usually when it "won't stop running") there is a problem with the flapper or flush valve. If the flapper is unable to make a good seal then you will probably want to replace it. Whereas, if the flush valve (or the float on it) doesn't go down all the way, then you will need to replace it.

Now that you have a rough idea of where the problem lies, you can begin to either work on the problem or let the plumber know what's going on. With the problem diagnosed, you can easily figure out what you need to do to fix it. Luckily, most of the problems you will be able to fix yourself, or at least you can if you have the right instructions and a bit of self confidence.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is four minus 4?

2013-08-02 19:21:03


I used to use Clorox brand Chlorine discs in the toilet tank only to discover that the chlorine chemically reacted withthe flapper seal and caused the seal to pucker thus leaving no seal and a need to replace the flapper assembly.
Does anyone know of a treatment that won't react with the rubber/plastic material that the flapper assembly is made from?

2013-08-02 14:33:32


My toilet water in my master bathroom smells horrible. Cleaning the tank and the bowl have no effect on the odor. Three other bathrooms have no problem with the smell--any idea where it is coming from or a solution??


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