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Toilet with tank lid on seat(C) Daniel FriedmanToilet Repair FAQs
Questions & Answers on How to Repair a Toilet

  • TOILETS REPAIR FAQs - CONTENTS: toilet diagnosis & repair questions & answers help in the process of fixing a leaky, noisy, smelly, or clogged toilet
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about fixing toilets: clogged toilet repair, overflowing toilet repair, running toilets, leaky toilets .
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Toilet Repair FAQs:

Questions & answers about how to diagnose and fix a toilet: how to fix a clogged toilet, slow flushing toilet, or a noisy or leaky toilet? How do toilet valves & controls work? How do I fix a toilet that is loose or wobbly. These replies to reader questions help diagnose and fix most toilet troubles.

This article series discusses the cause, diagnosis, and repair of toilet problems (water closet problems) such as a toilet that does not flush well, clogged toilets, slow-filling toilets, running toilets, loose wobbly toilets, and odors at leaky toilets. Here we explain how to diagnose and repair problems with toilets, leaks, flushes, odors, noises, running and wasted water.



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Toilet Fill, Flush, Drain, Odor, Noise, Problem FAQs

Toilet tank parts (C) DanieL FriedmanQuestions & answers about how to repair toilet problems, posted originally at TOILET REPAIR GUIDE - home or here at the bottom of this article.

On 2017-06-03 by (mod) - re: procedures to fix a loose leaky toilet base

Anthony,

At LOOSE TOILET REPAIRS you'll find a detailed description of what repair steps you will need to follow to repair the toilet problem you described.

At the end of that article I will repeat your question as a lead-in to our description of four repair options that depend on the extent of damage to the subfloor around the loose leaky toilet.

Please take a look at that article and let me know what questions remain. If you don't see your question you may need to clear your browser cache.

On 2017-06-03 by Anthony V.

After I flush the toilet my tile floor gets squishy and water comes through the grout. Please help could it be a broken flange or a bad wax ring

On 2017-05-14 by (mod)

K

I can't know from your text if the toilet de-clog you performed was sufficient or not; if there was a blockage in the waste line between toilet and septic tank and if you cleared that you may be OK for a time - depending on what caused the blockage.

An inspection at the septic tank access ports (if available) would give more information: an abnormally high level in the septic tank (over the baffles) would tell us that there's a drainfield piping or blockage problem still to be identified. Else you'll wait to see how soon the problem returns: if soon then certainly further investigation is needed.

Debbie:

From what you describe the blockage has not been repaired.

On 2017-05-14 by K

We had a toilet clog that resulted in the base of the toilet overflowing. We cleaned it up and plunged it and all seems well - but I am on a septic and am worried. If my toilet is flushing fine does that mean it's all good? Or is there some way I can be sure there isnt a clog that will cause issues down the line?

On 2017-05-14 by Debbie

Hi our toilet was clearly blocked. Now the water is going away but it is still rising very high first - it does go away instantly though. Does this mean the blockage has moved further along the pipe. What should we do please?

On 2017-05-03 by (mod)

Adam:

If the water level in the toilet tank is low that can give a bad flush, or else your toilet drain is probably clogged.

On 2017-05-03 16:17:26.891080 by Adam

Upstairs toilet takes multiple flushes but downstairs works fine... any ideas

On 2017-04-16 by (mod)

Right, Anon. The supply valve, unless it's clogged, won't fix a slow-filling toilet tank. I suggested replacing the fill valve - that's the valve that is INSIDE the toilet tank and that controls water entry when the toilet is flushed.

On 2017-04-16 by Anonymous

@danjoefriedman, I replaced the valve at the wall and it didn't change anything.

On 2017-04-16 by (mod)

Terry,

Please see my advice to Dee given just below. It sounds to me as if you have the same trouble.

On 2017-04-16 by Terry

I flush the toilet and it flushes fine but fills slowly unless I turn off the valve and back on again.

On 2017-04-14 by (mod) re: check toilet cistern fill valve for clog or blockage

Dee

Often the toilet tank fill valve will clog up with debris or mineral scale. Some valves can be cleaned and some have replaceable parts just for that purpose, but in my experience once a fill valve is giving trouble it's easier, faster, and ultimately cheaper to just replace it. \

On 2017-04-14 by Dee

My toilet tank fills just fine, but it takes a while to start filling. What is arring and how do I fix it?

On 2017-04-08 by (mod) re: risks of leaving a clogged toilet drain include safety & health & cost

And it's quite possible that other neighbors are going to experience the same problem. You could point out to management, in writing, that in addition to health concerns and safety concerns (bacterial hazards and risk of a methane explosion if sewage backs up in a building) the cost of a cleanup if there is a sewage backup will be many times greater than the cost of un-clogging a blocked drain, even if the drain line needs actual repair.

Most rental agreements require that the lessor provide safe habitable housing.

On 2017-04-08 by Brigitte V

Actually, the previous I mentioned was the sink. I shared about that to show that management is not quick to move on problems. It took them three weeks to get a plumber out. If it had only been one tenant, instead of several, it might not have been that soon. Obviously, we can't wait three weeks for the toilet to be functioning properly. We're using it, for liquids. No paper or solids. Only flushing once a day. Both my husband & I are somewhat disabled & have health issues. Not having a toilet that works well is a hardship.

When I called yesterday, I was told that a plumber would be coming out around 3 or 4. They didn't show up. We're figuring, if they're involving a plumber, then, it is more than one unit affected. I don't think they have anyone working maintenance currently. They probably wouldn't even bother with a plumber if they had someone on site. As for health concerns. These are the same people who, when there was listeria outbreak in the pool. Instead of cleaning it out, they filled it in with dirt. It's been like that ever since. Almost three years.

That was, just one example, to show that management doesn't have much concern about health, etc. One of many reasons we need to get out of here.

On 2017-04-08 by (mod)

Brigitte

What you describe sounds to me like a clogged main drain or toilet drain.

Yes it's possible that the prior repair was not complete or not fully effective.

If a drain blockage is remote from your specific home you may see sewage backups when system use is high, filling the otherwise empty drain line between your home and the point of blockage.

A toilet plunger will never be enough to clear a clogged drain line if it the blockage is quite distant - say more than 10-15 feet away.

On 2017-04-08 by Brigitte V

Hi, this past Wed (4-5) the toilet started having trouble. With no indication previously of any issues. When we flush now, it will fill up half to 3/4 of the way & then drain out (almost completely) within 15 mins. We live in a studio (we're saving for a home) where management is slow to respond to issues & spends as little as possible. Four months ago, when we were living at the other end of the complex, we & a few other neighbors, were having stuff backing up into our sinks.

It was apparent from the content, including, cooking oil that someone was putting things down their sink that they shouldn't. We had to keep bailing the sink out everyday & couldn't use it. After three weeks, they had a plumber come out & fix it. Is there something we'd be able to do with the toilet problem? We've called them a dozen times, so far & the only thing they did was give us a snake. Neither that or the plunger worked. Thanks for your help.

On 2017-04-05 by (mod) re: why a toilet or "pollute" makes drain sounds

bill,

A partly blocked drain can cause gurgling sounds at nearby sinks, tubs, shower drains when the toilet is flushed, as can a blocked or missing vent.

On 2017-04-05 by Bill

My pollute makes a her to sound some times what could it be

On 2017-03-27 by Anonymous

Thanks! I guess I'll wait and pay more to the plumber, the hot water heater will already set me back $1100. :( I was thinking more along the lines of a bottle of Mr. Plumber, haha. Noo way I'm wrestling with a toilet. <sigh>

On 2017-03-27 by (mod) re: difficulty reaching a drain blockage distant from toilet

You probably can't unless you have a long snake or a rotary snake OR if you're hurculean in strength and can drag around a heavy rent-a-snake rotary drain auger you could
- remove the toilet
- auger the drain line
- feel along as you do so to try to detect collapsing sewer lines, broken sewer line fragments and the like

It's possible but not for the faint-hearted. I used to do it. Now I call a plumber.

On 2017-03-27 by Anonymous

well, that makes sense. So- now to determine the best way to clear that line out...before the plumber arrives. :0

On 2017-03-27 by (mod) re: detecting a distant or remote drain blockage

The drain is being loaded up, perhaps partly blocked further down the drain line. First flush fills the pipe and drains away slowly without anyone noticing. The second flush waste encounters the not-yet-emptied drain pipe and so behaves differently, maybe creating a backpressure and outgassing. Of course I'm speculating.

On 2017-03-27 by Anonymous

why would this happen on the second flush but not the first? When you say partly -blocked drain do you mean toilet drain? And if so, should snaking it resolve it? Thanks for your knowledge.

On 2017-03-27 by (mod) re: suggestions for a slow drain + odors

Hmmm. On thinking about it, I'd ask the plumber to take a look, give an opinion, and give an estimated repair cost or a cost to investigate more thoroughly. All of that ought to take little time and not add significantly to the bill. On the other hand, if he or she discovers or can see quickly what's wrong (like a bad toilet seal) it will be less costly to have all plumbing work done in a single service call than to have to have two service calls.

On 2017-03-27 by Lisa

I just bought a 50 year old home that I rented out in February. My tenant told me that if she "flushes the toilet twice within a few minutes, there's really bad smell that lingers." Before she moved in, I had the main line off of the laundry sink snaked since it was draining slowly.

Any suggestions? The plumber is coming out Wednesday of this week to replace a hot water heater. She wanted to tack this on to his visit. I would like to either fix this on my own or if out of my ability range, at least make sure that the plumber isn't wasting time/money in case they send me a newbie. Any advice would be great.

On 2017-03-19 by (mod) re: air noise at drain may be due to blockage

Perhaps a clogged or partly-blocked drain?

On 2017-03-19 by Dwayne

We went to california for 4 days when we got back i went upstairs used the bathroom and flushed the toilet and this occured souded like maybe air was trapped in the sewage drain line is my assumption correct or is there something else

On 2017-01-26 by Myrna

Have you ever heard of this happening: i run water in the bathroom sink (faucet) and water starts to leak underneath the base of the toilet.... but i flush the toilet and no leak?

On 2017-01-17 by Tim re: sucking air noise at toilet

When flushing my toilet it sounds like it is sucking a lot of air. The water in the bowl will rise about an inch but will not flush out of the bowl and then slowly returns to normal level. The water tank completely empties and fills to normal level with normal sound and time. After the tank has filled, I will flush it a second time and it works as it should, no air sucking sound, clearing the bowl quickly and filling at a normal rate.

There are no other unusual sounds. I've tried listening to various areas of the toilet to try an pinpoint where the sucking sound is originating with no success. This does not occur every time the toilet is used, it may happen once or twice during the day ,and then there are other days will it works properly all day. Also,if I flush the toilet with a bucket of water, the bowl drains quickly. I'm stumped. :(

On 2016-12-06 by Chris re: toilet started re-filling itself

Hi. I can't seem to locate the problem with my toilet. Over the weekend one of our toilets suddenly started to refill itself. It seems to happen about 1 hour and ten minutes post flush, and then does not occur again (that I have seen).

I tried using the dye test to figure out where the water is going but after 8 hours no color appeared in the bowl and it looks like almost no water had drained in that time. There is no water on the floor or underside of the tank. Thoughts? Both the flapper and fill valve were replaced at the beginning of Aug.

On 2016-11-30 by (mod) re: requires multiple flushes to clear toilet

Pressure will probably dissipate and lower water volume may make matters worse.

I suggest scoping the line to look for damage or obstruction and to check slope.

On 2016-11-29 by Mike

I have a 90 cast iron sewer line that T's out to two toilets. Since replacing the two 3.5 gal flush toilets with 2 1.6 gal,flush toilets, we experience backup at 58'. The thinking is there is not enough velocity to move the entire distance. The line is intact with no breaks

. When flushed it takes 3 times to clear to the main sewer. We have thought about a pressure assisted unit. Will the pressure backup into the other unit through the t connection, or would the pressure just dissipate and still not carry the debris to the main.

On 2016-11-02 by Andy

I just installed my toilet a while back, because the old one had a crack in it. Now, the toilet will flush and the water will practically fill the entire toilet and then start going down extremely slow. It will drain after a while, but the next time you flush, the exact same thing happens.

The toilet also stinks really bad now, not sure why though. This is on the first floor, and the other toilet on the second floor isn't having this problem. I was wondering if it is just a clog somewhere within the toilet and any advice on what to do? Thank you!

On 2016-08-25 by MikeR

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I replaced the fill valve and everything works perfectly....Thank You very much for your help!

On 2016-08-23 by (mod) re: bad toilet fill valve

Yep it sounds like a bad fill valve. I'd replace that unit.

On 2016-08-23 14:11:13.756455 by Anonymous

Hi, thank you for the reply. Yes, the toilet water supply valve is fully open. I also tried moving the float arm up and down a few times but now it won't shut off at all. I'm going to try replacing the whole fill valve and float arm assembly next....

On 2016-08-23 by (mod) re: checks for slow toilet tank fill

Mike:

First check that the toilet water supply valve is fully open;

Next: you might see what the flow rate is when the fill valve seems to be fully open - let's rule out a clogged toilet shutoff valve clog.

Try moving the float arm up and down five or 10 times to see if you can free-up a sticking fill control valve; if that doesn't work you probably need to replace the fill-valve.

On 2016-08-22 by MikeR

Even after a flush has completed, I notice that the water level inside the tank continues to rise very slowly until it reaches the top of the overflow tube and starts trickling down into it. When I shine a flashlight down the overflow tube, I can see a small amount of water running at the bottom. I've tried adjusting the float arm but that doesn't fix it. How do I stop this?

On 2016-07-27 by (mod) re: kudos

Thanks so much, Jan. We work hard to provide accurate, researched, un-biased information, and of course I'm thrilled when a reader finds that effort useful. We also welcome criticism, content suggestions, questions, as those help us improve our information - working together makes us smarter. - Daniel

On 2016-07-27 by Jan

What a fantastic site educational and helpful! Thank-you very much!

On 2016-07-21 by (mod) re: water level in toilet bowl seems to vary

I think what you describe is normal, or at worst, the toilet bowl is slightly over-filled at the end of a flush cycle.

Any water in the bowl that is higher than the lowest edge of the bowl outlet will run out of the toilet. So if the bowl is as full as possible after a flush and we pee even a 1/2 cup into the toilet, we'll hear that overflow trickling out of the bowl.

You can adjust the bowl fill rate by slightly crimping the bowl fill tube that runs from the top of your toilet tank fill valve into the top of the toilet tank overflow tube. That will lower the bowl level slightly if you wish. Also check that your toiliet tank or cistern is not being overfilled: it should fill to just the FILL LINE marked inside the tank.

On 2016-07-21 by Jan

Hello.. when the water level changes in my toilet bowl from usage.. not when flushing (flushes normal and water level in the tank portion is at the appropriate level).. I hear a very faint water running sound.. do you have recommendations on where I should begin with trouble shooting? Thankyou

On 2016-07-05 by (mod) re: loud suction noise at toilet

Sounds as if the vent is too far, not connected, under-sized, or is partly blocked.

On 2016-07-04 by Mark

Hello. When I flush my toilet it draws air in through the overflow pipe which is making a loud suction noise. The toilet is a burlington high cistern and is new. If I put my thumb on the overflow the noise stops.is there a ball non return valve that can be fitted or is this normal. Thanks.

On 2016-07-01 by (mod) re: toilet tank not re-filling

Most likely there is a slow leak at the toilet flush valve / flapper valve. Try replacing that valve, ideally adding a new valve seat.

Or if you want to have fun, color the water in the tank with food coloring and watch for that appearing in the bowl below.

On 2016-07-01 by chall

After winterizing our cottage, and turning the water supply back on, we saw that the toilet tank filled fine, the toilet flushed and refilled fine. We turned the main water valve to the house OFF overnight and left the premises. That was yesterday.

Today, before turning the main water valve back on, we see that the toilet tank is now empty (the toilet bowl has the same amount of water in it as it had yesterday when we left). What's causing the tank to empty overnight like that?

On 2016-06-25 y (mod) re: air discharge check when toilets make louder flush noise

If you also have air discharge at faucets search InspectApedia for AIR DISCHARGE AT FAUCETS to read about what may be the cause.

The supply pressure won't change how most toilets flush: supply pressure and flow rate affect how long it takes to re-fill the flush tank. But the flush is controlled by the water level in the tank and the operation of the flush valve.

As you note an issue with all toilets let's ask what they have in common: air venting and drain piping.

On 2016-06-25 by Bk

My toilet is making louder flushing noises than usual and it seems that the rank is emptying when flushed and possibly pulling in air. It's all toilets in the house so thinking the line may have to much pressure?? Any thoughts?

On 2016-06-01 by (mod) re: symptoms of leaky toilet flush valve - flapper valve

I suspect the toilet is running due to a leaky flapper valve

On 2016-05-22 by cate

our toilet on the 2nd floor makes a sound like it flushing but water doesn't enter or leave the toilet. it seems to do this every 2 hours and no body is in there. when someone does use it it works fine. Whats going on?

On 2016-04-30 by Sidd

Hi,
Well there are 2-3 different kinds of situations where I face problem but I think all those problems are related to air getting caught while flushing. Altough I am not sure hence writing here for you guidance

1) Sometimes When I flush, some kind of weird sounds comes (like a bomb blast or something) and hardly any water comes out.

2) Sometimes when I flush, for a second the water drops and comes out so rapidly that it spills out of the pot. But that is only for a second and then the water stops flowing

3) Even when no activity is happening sometimes small amount of water automatically starts coming without even pressing the flush.

In general whenever I flush the water only drops from the back side of the pot and not at all covering the whole pot and the amount of water that comes is very less. Thus I have to flush 3-4 times to flush off the whole poop.

I have the same pot in my another bathroom and that is working perfectly. Infact I have observed that even in that other bathroom having same pot, the water comes from the back portion only but it covers the whole pot so nicely with excellent water pressure and no air causing the water to spill out.

I have a fear that if I increase the water pressure from the terrace for the pot I am facing problem, then the water may start spilling out on every flush.

On 2016-02-22 by (mod) re: checking for a loose toilet

You may have loosened the tank on the bowl or base, permitting water to leak around the flapper valve gasket between the tank and bowl.

On 2016-02-22 by Louis

I had a clogged toilet that I had to snake out because a plunger didn't work. The snake took a little manipulating but I was able to clear it. Now the toilet is running, it doesn't seem to be from the flapper. What's up?

On 2016-02-11 by (mod) re: sewage appears in sink basin

Anon: almost always, when sewage appears in a sink basin it has risen in the drain waste vent piping into the sink from a toilet on a higher floor, combined with a blocked building drain below.

It seems to me very unlikely that the sewage comes from the toilet on the same floor as the sink. That's because the sink is higher than the toilet: we'd expect the toilet to overflow rather than drain "uphill" to the sink.

On 2016-02-11 by Anonymous

Its not a new toilet that I had a problem with its waste somehow getting into the wash basin. Thanks for any help.

On 2016-02-11 by Anonymous

I got some toilet waste in the wash basin in bathroom, what could cause this.

On 2015-08-25 by (mod) re: diagnosing a bad toilet wax ring seal

You are quite right to ask. Perhaps a wax ring smushed over to one side during toilet installation.

Or perhaps the new toilets send a larger volume of water faster down the drain, disclosing a vent defect that was there before but was not obvious with slower smaller volume flushing.

Or my speculations can be flat wrong.

On 2015-08-25 by Anonymous

Thanks..but why didnt it do that before the new toilet was installed?

On 2015-08-17 by (mod) re: plumber won't return calls

Bad plumber!

It sounds as if there is a drain blockage or a vent line that is blocked or improperly routed.

On 2015-08-16 by Michael

I have 2 second floor toilets back to back in separate rooms. Its works fine until 1 toilet was replaced. Now when I flush the new one
water splashes up in the other toilet. The plumber will not return my calls.

On 2017-03-11 19:04:07.106791 by (mod) - how to fix a slow flushing toilet

At the More Reading links , check out the slow-flushing-toilet diagnosis and repair procedure articles or see

TOILET FLUSHES POORLY - slow draining or inadequate flush water volume

On 2017-03-11 by James Elliott

@James Elliott,
How can I fix this
My toilet is flushing very slowly, I sometimes have to flush it twice. What is wrong with it?

On 2017-03-02 by (mod) - how to fix a toilet bowl that fills up to the brim and flushes slowly

The main drain or toilet drain is probably blocked.

On 2017-03-02 by linda

my toilet will flush but the bowl fills up with water almost overflowing. Later the water will go down in the bowl, but the content does not go down

On 2017-03-01 by (mod) - why is toilet flushing itself repeatedly?

Sounds as if the flush valve is not sealing in the bottom of the toilet tank. Try replacing it.

On 2017-03-01 by Susan

A toilet in our daughters home flushes ok, but when the water comes back up into the tank it goes back down, then fills again.

This is constant and they have to shut off the water at the toilet to get it to stop. What is going on and what do we do to fix it?

On 2017-02-17 by Herman

My toilet quit flushing suddenly. All seemed well in my trouble shooting. The tank fills as it always did. Water comes into the toilet bowl as it always seemed to.

The contents in the bottom of the toilet usually are washed away. There is no overflow or back-up. I see no signs of a clog. Flushing never takes place.
What is wrong?

On 2016-12-09 by (mod) - fix leaks at toilet base / seal

Brian

There are 2 problems here:

1. the drain is clogged, perhaps close to the toilet

2. the wax ring seal has failed - so there's no good seal between toilet and top of the waste pipe

You need to remove the toilet, snake the drain, and if you can clear a blockage there's just replacing the wax ring to be done.

On 2016-12-06 by Brian barnes

I flushed my toilet the other night and the water level rose and then water started coming out of the bottom of the toilet where it sits on the floor. I've taken it off and snake the drain and everything.

Now every third time I flush it, it does the same thing. Has two good flushes then starts coming out of the bottom. Replaced the wax ring and tightened the bolts. Any other suggestions? Could it be the pipe on my roof clogged? Should go up there and try to snake that?

On 2016-12-04 by Pat

toilet runs automatically for short time and then stops in between using.

On 2016-11-14 by lou

Toilet when flushed backs into the bowl then drains slowly and makes a gurgling noise. Any ideas?

On 2016-10-19 by Anonymous

Drain problem

On 2016-10-10 by (mod) - fix a power-flush toilet that splashes

Good question, Tiger.

Fixing a splashing or too-strong power-flush type toilet:

Power-flush toilets can misbehave in ways similar to conventional flush toilets: e.g. running, or a weak flush. those troubles are typically fixed by adjustment and cleaning, for example you may need to clean the intake screen on the water supply assembly.

A Sloan flushmate toilet that runs may be caused by insufficient water pressure to the toilet or simply misadjustment of the actuator flush rod or push-button.

A clogged inlet screen can cause the same troubles as low water pressure.

But

Excessive power in a power-flush toilet can splash sewage so unpleasantly that it can drive users back to the outhouse.
The trouble may be simply one of adjustment of the power flush system, or it may require cleaning or repair of the air regulator.

First: check the water level in the toilet bowl after the toilet has been flushed and the flush-tank refill cycle has completed.

If the toilet bowl water level is too high that can cause splashing. Some flush systems allow adjustment of the bowl fill level, some by a simple plastic squeeze valve mounted on (or added onto) the plastic tube conducting water to the toilet bowl during toilet tank refill.

Next: check for an obstruction, crud, debris blocking the front of the toilet bowl = a source of splash-up. (and unlikely IMO)

Next: check the building water pressure level and compare that with the operating range specified by your power flush toilet brand and model. Send me (page bottom CONTACT) a photo of the toilet, its flush mechanism, labeling, model name and I can help research this for you.
If the incoming water pressure is too high you will need to install a pressure regulator to drop it back. Just closing a supply valve part way won't fix the trouble.

Next: check for mineral or crud clogging the water holes around the toilet rim. During a toilet flush water directed out of the bowl rim is designed to clean the bowl and to assist the flush. But if the holes are clogged too much water may be directed through other holes or through the primary water supply path causing ugly splashing or a "too-strong toilet flush" that is downright violent.

A newly-installed Flushmate type toilet probably won't have rim hole clogs. In that case, since the pressurizing system is set at the factory and is not user adjustable, you're left with installing a whole-house pressure regulator OR a pressure regulator on a water line supplying jut the toilet Set that output pressure down to closer to the minimum operating pressure of the power flush toilet, typically 20-30 psi.

let us know how that works for you.

Last: replace the toilet. Some power flush toilets suffered from such bad behavior that they were recalled.

Joe Barrett reported on this in the Wall Street Journal (Barrett, Joe, "High-Pressure Toilets Shake Up Bathrooms" The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18, 2002), noting that pressure assist flush toilets were particularly noisy and troublesome.

A Kohler power flush toilet model actually could break (talk about dangerous!) and was recalled. Later power-flush toilet models should have corrected the worst of these problems.

On 2016-10-09 by MetalTiger

Ever since we had "water conservation" toilets installed every flushing throws fecal matter up onto the underside of the toilet lid. I am sick of cleaning this off.

Guests of course wouldn't know to do this so the next person sitting down is actually resting their back against dried fecal matter. How do I fix this? I mentioned it to a plumber once and his response was "...a lot of people complain about that.." Hello??!

Is there a fix? Thanks.

Question: toilet makes a loud noise after it is flushed

Why does my second floor toilet make a loud noise after it is flushed (not a water hammer noise) - Sandy 10/22/11

Reply:

Sandy, we'd need more information - like the toilet brand and model or type.

Some toilets designed to use the smallest possible volume of water to flush the bowl may use water pressure or even a mixture of compressed air and water to scour and clean the bowl; these as well as toilets using a flushometer valve often make more noise than a gravity-operated standard tank-type flush toilet.

Reader comment

(Jan 31, 2013) Joe said:

going back to Sandy's question ? please ,,how do we avoid that noisy toilet flashes on the 2nd floor ? some plumbers are asking me remove the wall and cover the drain pipe with special sound proof material . is it a good idea?
thanks for ur help

Reply:

If the complaint is around the noise of wastewater passing thorugh the drain line, sound insulation around the drain piping is the common solution.

Question: how to I determine if a toilet has a leaky wax ring seal?

So I am interested in inspected whether or not I have a leaky seal on my wax ring, and here's my situation:

I don't have any sewage or poopy smells in my bathroom. I just installed a tile floor in that bathroom. Rather than remove my flange and raise it up to match the new floor height, I tiled around it, so my actual flange is lower than my floor. This means that any seepage would seep onto the subfloor, not my tile.

I bought extended mounting bolts and used shims to steady the toilet.

I also have a wax ring with a flange attached to it and a wax ring without a flange because of the extra separation from the floor. How can I tell if I've installed my toilet correctly without removing it and installing it again? - Alex 10/25/2011

Reply:

Alex,

I am doubtful you can tell for absolutely certain that the toilet is not leaking - at least not until weeks or months of use have taken place with no stains on the ceiling below.

But what I'd do, and what some plumbers do to get the best possible seal of the toilet to the flange is to use TWO wax rings.

Usually there's enough room in the cavity on the toilet base to accept any excess wax spreading out during installation.

The first one is mashed against the toilet bottom and the second placed atop that and the toilet is then pressed to the floor. Just be sure no wax will ooze into and block the drain itself.

Also you can buy wax rings that include a plastic funnel-shaped internal sleeve to help direct wastewater past that raised floor edge and into the waste pipe. I'd use one of those for the second ring. That version also helps prevent wax from being pushed into the drain opening during installation.

[Some plumbers use two wax rings, mashing the first one onto the bottom of the toilet to be certain of a perfect seal, then placing the second ring in place just before the toilet is pressed down onto the floor drain flange for securing.]

Just reinstall the toilet securely to the floor with your extended bolts. If you want to make the toilet extra secure against wobbling and loosening during use (as now you're depending on just the two extended bolts), you can also caulk the exterior edge of the toilet base to the tiled floor. That's what I do. If later we need to remove the toilet for service or repair it's a simple step to just cut away the caulk and unbolt the toilet.

Question: sound of draining pipes after new toilet installation

My husband just installed a new toilet. When we go to the bathroom it sounds like the pipes are draining. I just poured water into the toilet so I could figure out where the noise was coming from. It's not coming from the tank area. I can hear it clearly when my ear is at the bottom of the toilet, by the floor.

I don't feel or see any leaking. Any ideas what this noise is and if it's a problem? - Mary 10/17/2012

Reply:

Mary,

I presume "when we go to the bathroom" refers to entering the room, not actually using the toilet. If you hear drainage noises continuously most likely somewhere a fixture is sending water into the drain line. Look for a running toilet, either this one or one that also shares the same drain.

Question:

I live in a multi-unit building, the gentleman on the bottom floor was experiencing soap suds coming though his toilet.

The plumbers came and installed longer pipes, which solved his problem. Immediately after, however, my toilet (I'm on the top floor) stopped flushing and my water pressure in all faucets/showerheads increased tenfold.

Could these things be related in any way? Plumbers have come back twice and said they fixed the problem, that the toilet was just clogged, and that it's a new "green" toilet so it doesn't have as powerful of a flush. Unfortunately I am now stuck with a toilet that has not been flushed in days and threatens to overflow every time I try.

I've tried plunging to no avail multiple times. Thank you. - Kristen 10/23/2012

Reply:

Kristen:

It sounds as if the building plumbing drain layout may be improper - but obviously I can't tell from just an email note;

The soapsuds backup describes a blocked drain or perhaps less likely a venting problem; adding longer pipes ? I'm unclear what that fixed. Longer what, and where?

And if a fixture is too far from its vent (i.e. "longer pipes?) it will often not drain properly.

You can test the "green toilet" low flush volume to see if that design is not working in your installation by trying a larger flush volume temporarily - pour water from a 5-gallon bucket into the toilet, being careful not to overflow. Poor toilet flush problems, discussed in detail at TOILET REPAIR GUIDE, can be due to

Try looking through the additional toilet repair articles found More Reading.

Question: toilet backs up through tub drain

(Oct 27, 2012) james said:

hi just earlier today i had a backup happen in my one and only bath, it didnt overflow but some watse came up threw the tub, then slowly drained back out, i went to go look at the pipes downstairs and found water had escaped out from what looks like under the toliet and ran down the pipe.

This is a recently purchased home and was not lived in for the prior 2 years, i went and purchaced a toliet snake and some septic treatment products, im still unable to get a full flush so i havent used the treatment yet but the snake gave me no results. any ideas?

Reply:

James,

What you describe sounds like a partially blocked drain line. The plumbing snake may not have been long enough to get to the blockage. Sometimes a drain treatment will clear a blockage, but if not, the plumber won't be happy to have to work with acid or otherwise dangerous chemicals in the wastewater. I'd guess, if the drain works slowly you can go ahead and try it.

Question: how much water is used when flushing a toilet - normally?

(Nov 23, 2012) ISSY said:

When flushing the toilet there seems to be a lot of water filling up into the main water system in the loft, is this normal? Thanks

Reply:

ISSY

A conventional tank type toilet uses about 1-2 gallons of water per flush; if your water system is doing something else, there should be a different reason for it.

Question: toilet flushes but water doesn't spin or clean the bowl

(Nov 30, 2012) Cassy said:

So, my toilet suddenly stopped working. It will flush, but no "whirlpool" action occurs and it over flows. I've tried plunging it, it doesn't help. It's a traditional toilet, one commonly used in apartment buildings(I don't know the brand). The tank fills normally, but the bowl itself seems as though there is too much water in it when it's calm and filled. Any advice would be appreciated!

Reply:

Typically we see this problem when the toilet drain is partly blocked, slowing the toilet drainage. It may also occur if the dose of water entering the bowl is too small, for example if the toilet is flushed a second time before the flush tank has re-filled.

Question: toilet sounds

(Dec 12, 2012) Allan said:

when I go to the bathroom, I sometimes hear the toilet like its finishing up... What is causing that

Reply:

Baffled in Boca Raton - I don't understand the sound description

Question: repeated toilet clogs

(Jan 2, 2013) DONNA KRUPINSKI said:

What causes toilets to overflow when plumber has been called each time and he snakes out to the main line.

Reply:

Most likely either the plumber hasn't been able to clear the actual blockage or the main drain line is damaged, leaky, root invaded, or is feeding into a failed septic system.

Question: toilet water disturbances

(Jan 5, 2013) Dorothy said:

I have two toilets back to back in separate bathrooms. After remodeling in both bathrooms, (both toilets were removed and replaced) the water moves a lot in the other toilet when one or the other is flushed!

There is nothing leaking on the floor (as this is been happening for more then a year). Can you help me with this problem.

Reply:

Water zooming down the waste line is perhaps creating a vacuum due to inadequate, blocked, or improper plumbing vent piping. The vacuum from the flushed toilet may then disturb water in a nearby toilet. You may also hear gurgling at nearby sink or tub drains.

Question: water from the toilet splashes bystanders

(Jan 18, 2013) Donna said:

water shoots up in bowel when flushed must shut lid when flush.
Also bowel only fills with small amount of water.

This was not a problem until water main broke and toilet was flushed without water comming into it, when we did have water it sounded like pipes were full of air, thinking the sir in line causes to litte waater to fill bowel I tried pouring water to fill bowel and tank with flush, still didn't not add to volume of water in bowel and still shoots up.
Any help, Thank You

Reply:

This sounds to me like a power-flush low-water-consumption toilet whose flush mechanism needs adjustment. If you tell us the brand and model of the toilet I'll research the question further.

Question: sink gurgles when toilet is flushed

(Apr 2, 2013) Tammy in Wiscconsin! said:

Hi Mr. Plummer! Wondering why my sink in Bathroom gurgles & "spits" up water when the toilet is flushed! Seems like the water pressure in toilet is low. Any suggestions_? Thanks

Reply:

Tammy there are twi usual explanations for gurglilng at nearby drains when a toilet is flushed

One is that the plumbing vent system is defective or incomplete or blocked.

Two, gurgling at nearby drains might be heard if the main drain is partly blocked.

Question:

(Mar 2, 2014) chentell said:

hello, my toilet is running water/a steady stream constantly in the back of the bowl. then every 2 minutes it sounds as though it's just beginning to flush every 2 minutes and i hear and see even more water flowing into the bowl. then the clang clang of the pipes/whatever.

then it goes back to just the steady stream of water running in from the back of the bowl and repeats this process OVER AND OVER AND OVER. i wish i could fix it myself, just don't know what to do. please help me b/c it could be days before i can get someone who might be able to help and this is driving me nuts as well as a terrible waste of water. i'd at least like to know what is wrong.....and thank you so much in advance!

i might also add that when i actually do go to flush the toilet, it does feel the same like a definite flush used to. like the flapper is not sealed to begin with or something. it used to just feel like you pushed down and it definitely flushed now it's just so weak, i don't know if it's going to flush or not but it does. i just wanted to add this to my question b/c my problem might be two-fold. thank you so much.

Reply:

Chantell, in the links at More Reading just above you can take a look at

Question: toilet bowl doesn't fill to normal level after a flush - or Toilet Cistern (tank) does't fill up enough

Mar 16, 2014) Jim in pgh said:

After flushing the bowl dose not refill to the usual level. There is about two inches of water in the bottom of the bowl. The tank refills to the usual level. If I add water to the bowl it stays at the filled level but when flushed again the bowl does not refill.

(Aug 6, 2014) Bryan said:

My tank fills up after the flush but it seems the bowl is less than full.. Any ideas?

(Dec 22, 2014) Rosemary Hatherly said:
I have a problem with my toilet cistern when you flush the toilet the cistern does not complety fill so to flush the toilet agin you have to top up with a jug or two of water so you can flush the toilet what could the problem be ?

(Dec 22, 2014) Rosemary Hatherly said:
I have a problem with my toilet cistern when you flush the toilet the cistern does not complety fill so to flush the toilet agin you have to top up with a jug or two of water so you can flush the toilet what could the problem be ?

Reply:

Jim,

Lift off (careful not to drop it) the toilet tank lid and look inside.

Flush the toilet. Watch what happens.

If the small diameter fill tube that is supposed to be sending water into the toilet bowl (it connects from the toilet tank fill valve to the top of the toilet tank overflow standpipe) is not connected properly the water level in the bowl post-flush will be too low.

Let me know what you find. Send along photos using the CONTACT US link if you wish and I can comment further.

Bryan

Lift off the toilet tank lid and check to see if the small diameter bowl-fill-tube that is supposed to be inserted into the overflow tube in the tank (where it sends water into the toilet bowl during fill cycle) has come out of its proper postion.

See TOILET FLUSHES POORLY for details of what to check and fix so that the toilet bowl will fill normally. Those repairs, including adjusting the toilet fill valve should fill the cistern to the fill line marked on the tank interior and should put an adequate water re-charge into the toilet bowl.

Rosemary, in More REading above please see the article

TOILET FLUSHES POORLY

where we explain how to diagnose and fix the trouble you describe. It may be as simple as adjusting the toilet fill valve.

Question: toilet clogs up with feces

(Mar 29, 2014) MARIE said:

My toilet always clogs up when you do #2. I have been able to unclog by using a plunger and it take a while to unclog. I tested the toilet by pouring a bucket of water down the toilet, i can hear a gurgling noise once all the water drains out and also when i use the plunger. When you first unclog and flush , dirt is always in the bottom of the toilet.

Reply:

Look for a partly clogged main drain or a failing septic system.

Question: toilet flush tank fills too slowly

(June 10, 2014) Sharon said:

I don't understand why my toilet takes so long to refill now. It used to refill rather quickly. Now it seems to take forever before it finishes refilling. I'm assuming it's using the same amount of water, but it takes soooo much longer.

Reply:

Perhaps the valve on the toilet water supply line is partly closed, or the valve or small diameter piping have become mineral-clogged. Minerals can also clog the fill valve assembly itself. I'd start by replacing that.

Question: toilet bowl empties too slowly

(June 12, 2014) Vicky said:

When I flush my toilet the bowl will fill with water but goes around the bowl and goes down slow until all the water is gone. Then the water fills the bowl to normal level. If I put toilet paper in it acts like is getting stopped up. What could be the problem?

(Dec 8, 2014) Vince said:
With heave load, bowl works fine, with light load dose not flush properly.

Reply:

Vicky if the flush waster quantity is normal then the drain is clogged.

Provided that the flush volume remains normal, the most likely explanation of a slow emptying of the toilet bowl is that the main drain is partly clogged. A second cause of slow toilet bowl draining can be a clogged plumbing vent.

Vince check for inconsistent filling of the flush tank or cistern

Question: contagious toilet flushing

(June 13, 2014) jim said:

we flush the toilet on the first floor and second floor toilet will also flush just for a few seconds. What is the problem?

Reply:

That's a curious problem, Jim. Perhaps a surge or drop in water pressure is stimulating the fill valve in the second toilet.

Jim, I suspect the toilets are not properly vented, or perhaps not vented at all.

Question: hearing water in the walls

(June 17, 2014) beth said:

hey. since my husband replaced our toilet, i keep hearing water switching on and off (in the walls. almost sounds like the icemaker in the fridge.), and it appears to be going in to the toilet bowl. happens every several minutes. wtf?

Reply: check for running toilet

Beth it appears that the toilet is running. Look for a leaky flush valve, fill valve, or at the gasket between bowl and tank.

See TOILET RUNS CONTINUOUSLY

Question: toilet flush handle direction causes stress

(July 29, 2014) Scott said:

I installed a new toilet handle (Danco Universal Toilet Handle) and something is wrong because in order to flush the toiletI have to pull the handle up instead of pushing it down. (It is a side mount Toto toilet)

I have tried the handle every which way I can (handle pointing forward, handle pointing backward, handle pointing upward) without solving the problem.

Reply:

The geometry of some replacement flush control handles might indeed swap the direction of movement. You may have found a flush lever intended for mounting on the right side of a flush tank but installed it on the left side. Some of these levers can be inverted by disassembling the flush lever and flipping over the plastic or metal handle-limiting lugs.

Question: toilet sounds like it's flushing but no water enters the toilet bowl - toilet sounds like sucking air

8/21/14 Rachel Foulger said:

On some occasions I press the flush lever and the toilet makes a flushing sound but no water enters the bowl. This happens about once a day but the rest of the time the flush is normal.

(Jan 9, 2015) Dan dahlstrom said:
All of a sudden, when we flush now, it sounds like our toilet is sucking air while the tank is filling. It fills properly, although maybe a little slower, and it shows no sign of any leaks anywhere. The assembly was replaced about one year ago, and there were no problems until recently.

Reply:

Rachel

What a fabulous question - I'm baffled. If the toilet is "flushing" where is the water going if it doesn't enter the bowl.

If your toilet has a removable top lid, please lift it off and carefully (not to break it) place it on the floor.

Look into the toilet tank. Grab a camera and use the email at our CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos of what you see along with an image of the toilet brand (usually on the base). If there's a date stamped in the lid or in the tank tell me that too.

I wonder if your toilet is an older "low flush" water saving toilet that uses an internal baffle in the tank.

Dan

Did you lift the tank/cistern top to see what's going on?

Is the noise from the fill valve or something else? Look for a slow or blocked main drain too.

Reader follow-up:

(Jan 10, 2015) Dan said:
Thanks , yes ieverything looks normal, it just sounds like there is air in the water flow pouring into the tank through the small nozzle on top.

Reply:

Dan

Next theory - maybe an increase in water pressure that is making the valve misbehave, or a bad fill valve? If there is no air at nearby faucets I suspect we might have a bad fill valve or an increase in water pressure. Try manually moving the fill valve or float valve up and down a few times to see if freeing anything up changes the sound.

If no success, if the fill pressure looks quite strong I'd try closing the toilet supply valve half way to see if the reduced flow rate makes a difference.

Question: toilet makes a "Flush" sound but no water enters the bowl

(Aug 21, 2014) Rachel Foulger said:
On some occasions I press the flush lever and the toilet makes a flushing sound but no water enters the bowl. This happens about once a day but the rest of the time the flush is normal.

Reply:

Rachel

What a fabulous question - I'm baffled. If the toilet is "flushing" where is the water going if it doesn't enter the bowl.

If your toilet has a removable top lid, please lift it off and carefully (not to break it) place it on the floor.

Look into the toilet tank. Grab a camera and use the email at our CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos of what you see along with an image of the toilet brand (usually on the base). If there's a date stamped in the lid or in the tank tell me that too.

I wonder if your toilet is an older "low flush" water saving toilet that uses an internal baffle in the tank.

Question: Toilet bowl doesn't fill up

(Sept 1, 2014) Bryan said:
When i flush the toilet, the tank fills up but the bowl doesnt fill up all the way... Everything flushes fine...no back up..

(Nov 16, 2014) keybordqt said:
when we flush tank fills up but bowl just barely has water in it so that it dosent flush completely

Reply:

Bryan and Keybord

Check for and replace a sticking fill valve. You can try disassembing and cleaning the valve but since the trouble to do so is mostly in its removal and replacement, I'd just install a new one.

See TOILET FLUSHES POORLY for details of what to check and fix so that the toilet bowl will fill normally.

Question: can't get water to turn back on at toilet

(Sept 27, 2014) Blue House said:
turned off water at wall, emptied, repaired and replace refill valve... Now water doesn't turn back on?? (now i miss that republican boyfriend)

Reply:

I suspect your toilet supply valve is stuck and broken internally.

Question: slow toilet re-fill

(Oct 11, 2014) Berni said:
When you flush the toilet in one of our bathrooms, it's loud and take's a long time to fill the tank. It didn't do this before! Also (this is a hit or miss) But we turned water up because the toilet wouldn't always flush on the first time. The toilet is about 10 yrs old. Very frustrating!

(Oct 22, 2014) Linda said:
When I flush my toilet the tank fills up slow and the sinks in the other parts of the house if you try to use water it just trickle until the tank on the toilet finally fills up.Flush the toilet and wait in line.

Reply:

Berni: See TOILET FLUSHES POORLY

Linda: in addition to the article above, check for clogged water supply piping- it sounds like poor water pressure or limited flow rate is the problem.

Question: water splashes up at remote toilets

(Oct 15, 2014) Shelley A said:
Toilet upstairs flushes and make a really loud sound, causing the toilet downstairs to splash water up. It seems like we can keep this under control by using rid x every month in both toilets but wonder if there is a real solution to this problem?

Reply:

Look for a blocked main drain

Question: surges in toilet fill, noises during toilet fill

(Oct 26, 2014) toilet cistern refilling said:
after flushing the toilet the cistern refills in the normal way then release a final surge of water into the toilet pan

(Nov 16, 2014) Kathy said:
After toilet is flushed it makes a terrible noise that then lessens and finally goes away

(Nov 30, 2014) Anonymous said:
My toilet works as it should however, usually within an hour after flushing, there a clunk in the bathroom pipes and then I can hear the water running down them. SHould I be worried?

I've been in the house 10 years but have just been noticing this over the last month or so, so I'm guessing it hasn't always been like this. Elle said:
Oops. I missed filling in my name. I'm the one with the clunking toilet. :)

Reply:

Toilet cistern, if the bowl is not overfilling what you describe should not be a problem. I suspect it's an artifact of how the toilet bowl fill flapper valve closes.

Kathy, try slightly closing the toilet stop valve to slow the water fill rate

Elle, worried, I can't say, but it sounds as if there is a failing flush valve or a problem with the fill valve. You might be able to figure out what's going on by removing the lid from the toilet cistern (tank) and watching what's happening as the tank re-fills and then the fill stops.e clunking toilet. :),

About that clunking sound in the water pipes, see WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE

Question: snake didn't fix clogged toilet

(Nov 1, 2014) Nee said:
Our toilet just "stopped up", have used a small snake and plunged. Nothing??? But after plunging it looks like "dirt" is coming back up into the bowl. Can't unstop the toilet. HELP!

Reply:

Please see BLOCKED DRAIN REPAIR METHODS where I give alternatives to snakes in the drains - check out the Kinetic Water Ram discussed there

Question: how to fix the control stop on a commercial toilet

(Nov 3, 2014) Bill said:
the control stop on a commercial closet toilet is leaking. how do I replace it or repair it?

Reply:

(Nov 4, 2014) (mod) said:
Bill I'm not quite sure which part you refer-to. Typically the water is shut off and the valve is replaced. Sometimes it's possible to just replace a washer, o-ring, or other internal part. If you've got the brand and part ID it's easier - by finding a parts explosion for the device.

See FLUSHOMETER VALVES for TOILETS URINALS

Question: slow toilet bowl leak

(Dec 7, 2014) Anonymous said:
why does my bowl leak out slowly?

Reply:

Anon

It would be odd for water to leak out of a toilet bowl as the bowl shape forms a natural trap holding water - perhaps there is a crack in the toilet bowl or base.

Question: power flush toilet plumbing warning

(Feb 3, 2015) jrykowski said:
two power flush toilet are piped back to back can toilet suck the trap dry on the other

Reply:

Interesting observation, J.R. Do you think it's possible that the building vent system is inadequate?

Question: Glacier Bay Toilet Clog Troubles

Robin said:
Hello and thank you for this awesome website. Here's my problem: I installed and new toilet (Glacier Bay with button on top of tank to flush) after removing the old toilet and snaking the drain.

The first flush was perfect so I used it to #1 and when I flushed it backed up just like the old toilet except this one seemed to have air come up when the water stopped filling(about 2" below rim)then when I washed my hands in the sink (which was also snaked after toilet drain the same day) that water seemed to be filling the toilet.

A plumber came over and snaked the vent on the roof and everything was good...until the next day (about 3 flushes later) it bubbled or gurgled and the sink drained into the toilet again. I live in a single story home with an external sewer system that goes to the city sewer.

My other bathroom toilet and drain and shower are still working fine. Do you have any suggestions? thank you so much for your time.

Reply:

Robin what you are describing sounds as if there may well be a blockage in a drain more distant from the toilet than was reached by drain cleaning efforts. Air coming up into the bowl when the toilet is flushed could suggest a vent problem (which is why your plumber snaked the roof vent) but it can also be a symptom of drain blockage downstream.

When we can flush a toilet successfully, particularly after a period of dis-use, but when we find a backup after several flushes, that suggests that there is a blockage downstream far enough that the first 1 or few flushes are filling up a blocked or partly-blocked drain line.

When it's full the next flush backs up. The more flushes we can make before backup the more distant is the blockage.

Your comment that your other toilets and drains work would as you suggest often (but not always) mean that the blockage or partial blockage (or blocked vent) is in the system between the problem toilet and the point at which that toilet and other building drains join a common waste line.

But a distant blockage or partial blockage condition can also fool us into thinking another toilet drain is not blocked - depending in when various fixtures are flushed and depending on how much time has elapsed to allow a slow-drain to slowly empty.

Question: multiple toilet blockages means what?

(Feb 21, 2015) Liz said:
my Uncle's house was built in like the 1950's and we used one of the toilets and it didn't flush properly and started to fill back up.

Then the other toilet in the house stopped working at the same time. They both did the same thing, we plunged both of them and it just filled the bowls back up. Help.

Reply:

Sounds as if the main drain or septic is blocked. Start by asking your plumber to check for a blocked drain; inspect the septic tank for blockage or for a failed or blocked drainfield by noting if the sewage levels in the septic tank are above the bottom of the tank outlet pipe.

Question: Jacuzzi toilet trap doesn't fill

(Mar 2, 2015) Dave T. said:
Jacuzzi toilet. Trap doesn't seem to fill completly after flush. Bad odor. Manually filling tank to top of overflow tube stops the smell.

Reply:

Sounds as if you need to adjust the fill valve to bring more water into the bowl and tank or check that the toilet cistern (tank) overflow tube is receiving water during the cistern re-fill cycle.

Question: toilet fills only at a trickle

(Mar 4, 2015) Donna said:
When I flush my toilet will only try to fill with a trickle. If I turn water off and back on the toilet will then fill correctly. What should I be looking for to fix this?

Reply:

Your toilet fill valve is sticking.

Question: force to lift the tank flapper to release the tank water into the bowl

(Mar 15, 2015) WL said:
My toilet works, but it takes a lot of force to lift the tank flapper to release the tank water. It almost seems as though the plastic arm which lifts the flapper assembly will break.

The amount of force necessary to push the flush handle down in order to lift the flapper is gradually increasing. At some point the plastic arm which lifts the flapper is going to break.

Reply:

Hi WL

I've seen this problem and indeed ultimately the flush lever's plastic arm broke and we had to flush the toilet by removing the cistern top and manually pulling the flush valve chain up until we could replace the parts.

Look for

- something bent or out of place in the whole flush lever, arm, chain, flapper, linkage assembly. You might find this more pleasant by shutting off water to the toilet, then draining water from the tank (cistern), then examining the moving parts to see what's binding

- look in particular for a bind in the lever itself at its point of rotation

Question: we keep having sewage backup issues on the first floor

(Mar 30, 2015) LE said:
We have been having sewage back issues on the ground floor of a 3 story house. When upstairs showers are taking place the effluent will temporarily back up and fill the ground floor bath tub, we also notice that the toilet in the ground floor bathroom will occaisionaly gurgle.

I have pumped the septic tank and snaked the drains thru the clean outs..when I snaked the main drain thru the clean out the water in the backed up tub drains nicely, however that does not seem to have resolved the issue, because the problem comes back again when showers are running upstairs!Any thoughts would be helpful, thank you very much

Reply:

Unfortunately while regularly pumping a septic system extends drainfield life, pumping will never fix a clogged drain nor a failed field.

Gurgling suggests a blockage in the drain system, at the septic tank, or at failing drainfields.

Question: the toilet isn't flushing down

(May 28, 2015) Amanda said:
In our second story bathroom the show is fine and the sink is fine but the toilet isn't flushing down. I've replaced the flapper, I've snaked and plungered it like crazy, now its sit with the water turned off but now its slowly refilling - backwards?
What does it mean when the water is turned off BUT the water is filling up in reverse??

Reply:

It sounds as if your sewer line or septic system is blocked. Backing up wastewater will fill a toilet bowl.

Question:

(June 29, 2015) Bob said:
To add to the question below it can take up to 5 mins for the tank to fill due to the water leaking to the bowl. i'm surprised that it no longer leaks when the tank is full.

(June 29, 2015) Bob said:
After I flush the water slowly keeps seeping into the bowl until the box manages to fill to the appropriate level then the seepage stops. What will cause this to happen?

Reply:

Bob

It is normal for some water to continue to flow into the bowl as the tank or cistern re-fills after flushing a toilet.

If you lift the tank lid you'll see a small tube that connects the fill valve to the top of the tank overflow tube at the tank center. Water will discharge through that tube into the toilet bowl during tank re-fill cycle in order to assure proper bowl water level for the next usage.

Separately, the slow toilet tank fill may be due to clogging of the fill valve itself, toilet supply piping, toilet water supply valve position, or low building water pressure and flow rates.

Question:

(July 3, 2015) Pat said:
When I flush the toilet and the tank is filling up near the end it makes a dragging noise ! What causes this to happen?

Reply:

Pat

Check the fill valve - it may be sticking; try moving the moveable parts around a bit. Or if it continues replace the valve.

Pat said:
American standard 1.2 tank-----tank appears to fill properly but very little flushing capability without pouring water into bowl

Reply:

Pat:

Check that the tube between the tank fill valve and the overflow tube in the tank is in place.

This tube sends additional water into the bowl during tank refill. If that water is not in place in the bowl the tank flush volume may be inadequate.

Question:

17 July 2015 Anonymous said:
my water bill spiked and I found apt a tenant had a toilet fixex with my permission and the toilet moves. could that have coused more water usage

Reply:

Anon

If your toilet was running constantly that can show up as an increase in your water bill.

Question:

(Sept 12, 2015) Anonymous said:
AFTER THE TANK FILLS THIER IS NOISE HIGH PITCH

(Nov 18, 2015) Melissa Sarmiento said:
Melissa Sarmiento i would like a trial for my septic to flush. melodysarm31@yahoo.com thank u

Reply:

(Nov 19, 2015) (mod) said:
Sorry Melissa, we do not sell nor distribute any products whatsoever. To protect our reader trust InspectApedia.com has no relationship with any building products or services.

Question: hold the handle down to flush the toilet completely

(Nov 27, 2015) Walter Beale said:
I have to hold the handle down for the toilet to flush completely.

Reply:

Walter

If holding the handle down successfully flushes the toilet then the proper repair should be simple: slightly shorten the pull chain connecting the toilet handle flush lever to the flush valve flapper.

You might also need to check that the level of water in the flush tank is high enough - check that it's at the FILL LINE marked in the tank.

You may also need to check the water level in the toilet bowl: if the small tube carrying water into the overflow tube in the flush tank and thence into the toilet bowl is disconnected then the bowl won't have enough water for a proper flush.

Question: toilet flush lever hard to press down - or sticks in the "down" position

(Dec 28, 2015) Anonymous said:
The flush lever has gotten very hard to push down. Almost like suction is holding it down. Nothing seems broken in the tank.

Reply:

The flush lever is probably damaged in a plastic or rubber component at its mount on the tank; this is an inexpensive and easy part to replace. I'd buy a new assembly; remove the old one so that you can select a close match at your hardware store.

Question: toilet fills too slowly after a flush

(Jan 4, 2016) Carolyn B said:
I called a plumber to repair a toilet that trickled to fill up after a flush. He replaced the fill valve and supply line. Now I notice that sometimes after a flush, the toilet will cycle on/off. All the waste is emptied from the bowl, but the way to stop the cycling is to flush again. What causes this and why doesn't it happen every time I flush?

I want the plumber to fix it but don't want to have to pay again if this new problem was due to a faulty install. I also feel bad that it's an hour drive for him if it's a simple thing he can't charge for as a warranty issue. If I can easily fix it and save everyone the time - I will.

Reply:

Carolyn,

If the plumber's repair was incomplete or not functioning properly she should return to fix the trouble; I'm unclear about just what's happening with your toilet so can't diagnose it. I'd check first for something simple and obvious such as a flush valve chain length that is too short or too long, or a fill valve float that is sticking or jamming in the toilet tank during fill-up.

Question: toilet flushes itself every 10 minutes

(Jan 22, 2016) DEBORAH KIMBALL said:
My toilet flushes properly, but it then makes like a flushing noise every 10min or so constantly! Please tell me what causes this and can I fix it myself?

Reply:

Check for a stuck flush valve or a toilet that is overfilling. If a toilet fill valve is stuck open and constantly filling the toilet the bowl level rises enough to cause it to self-empty or self-flush.

Question: water comes out of floor when I flush the toilet

(Jan 27, 2016) susie said:
When I flushed my toilet, water seemed to come up out of the floor..gallons!! The water in the bowl flushed and the tank was empty...

I'm not sure if that's because I shut the valve off or not... cleaned up the mess and turned the water back on, ive flushed the toilet 7 or 8 times to try and figure out where the water came from and NOTHING happened other than a normal flush.. I have no clue what my issue is since it hasn't happened again.. HELP!

(June 28, 2016) Rick said:
Water is coming from base on of the floor when you flush

Reply:

Your plumber will need to replace the toilet wax ring that seals it to the wastepipe in the floor, and she may need to also cleare a blocked drain.

Rick,

Chances are the toilet mounting bolts are loose AND the toilet wax ring seal is shot; the toilet needs to be removed, the old wax ring scraped away, a new wax ring pushed into place, and the toilet re-set and then bolted securely to the floor.

Question: grinding noise at toilet

(Feb 3, 2016) Joan said:
Our 4 litre low flush toilet is making a grinding noise -- 6 times last night when it is not being used. The water is not coming up to the usual level in the tank.

Reply:

Sounds as if the toilet is running - a control or valve is sticking open.

Question: toilet overfills

(Feb 3, 2016) Rebecca said:
Toilet does flush but then overfills -- has 't overflowed yet but comes all the way to the top. Then it begins to drain ever so slowly until there's only a small amount of water left in the very bottom of the bowl.

Reply:

Most likely the drain is blocked

Question:

Feb 8, 2016) (mod) said:
RE-posting without links (not permitted)

Everlast Plumbing said:
We Everlast Plumbing is a plumbing service provider at Sydney. Your blog is more useful to us..if need any assistance related to plumbing freely contact us

Reply:

Thanks Everlast. We welcome questions, corrections, content-suggestions and are happy to cite and link to content contributors to InspectApedia.com. However our comments system does not permit posting of links or ads.

Question: incomplet toilet flush repair

(Apr 12, 2016) Kasi said:
My toilet flushes incompletely when it is flushed after another toilet on our system, but will flush weakly but completely on the second try. What could the problem be? (all parts in the tank have been replaced and there doesn't seem to be a clog)

Reply:

Kasi, typically a partly clogged drain or vent can cause the trouble you describe.

Question: Rotary Damper for the Toilet Seat Cover

(Apr 17, 2016) Daniel said:
Need a replacement for a Rotary Damper for the Toilet Seat Cover. Can you advise where I could inquire about getting one please?

Many Thanks, Dan Snyder

Reply:

Daniel, I've not seen this part sold separately from a replacement toilet seat cover assembly. If you give me the toilet seat brand and model (and a photo would help) I'll research further. You can send photos using our page bottom CONTACT link.

Question: bubbles in downstairs toilet when upper floor toilet is flushed

(Apr 21, 2016) Dick said:
When I flush the 2nd floor toilet the toilet on the 1st floor bubbles, sometimes splashing water on floor. Any ideas of cause.

Reply:

Dick:

I suspect a partly blocked main building drain.

Question: why upper floor toilets don't drain out of lower floor toilet bowls

(May 27, 2016) Anonymous said:
what prevents effluent from upper floor toilets from rushing out of lower floor toilets due to gravity?

Reply:

Good question.

The upper floor toilets drain into a large diameter drain line as do the lower floor toilets. Water and waste flowing down the drain line from above want to stay in the drain - the water seal in the lower floor toilets helps, but consider that even those lower floor toilets are **above** their own drain line.

So the only time that waste wants to come up a lower floor toilet is when the drain line past those lower toilets is itself blocked. Then, watch out.

Question:

(June 1, 2016) Smithc882 said:
Dead written subject material, Really enjoyed studying.

Reply:

Thanks, I think, Smithc - "dead written" ? Meaning shoot the author? I suspect that your spell checker, like mine, has a mind of its own. Actually when we began writing this section at InspectApedia I was at first surprised to see that problems with toilets and also septic systems were among the most-troubling and most-asked-about topics. I welcome critique, content suggestions, corrections as working together benefits us all.

Daniel

Question: is my toilet problem fixed?

July 2, 2016) Marion said:
Toilet was clogged and noticed some back up into the shower. Got the toilet unplugged. Appears to be flushing OK, shower draining. Is the problem fixed? Would I have a back up into the shower if only the toilet was plugged? Anything else I should do?

Reply:

I can only guess when playing Carno by e-text, but it sounds as if you're ok, and sure a blockage that is downstream from both toilet and shower would be likely to send toilet backup into the shower.

(July 2, 2016) Anonymous said:
Thanks for the comment. Bathroom is in the lower floor with the cap to the main drain leading out to the septic system in the corner. since toilet is flushing ok, I can assume the clog is gone? Anyway to test that?

(July 3, 2016) Marion said:
One more question.... Washing machine and dishwasher are draining fine. Does that mean any clog in the main line to the septic tank is clear? Also when the toilet was plugged, water leaked around the base. Do I now have to replace the wax ring? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Mod said:

The answer to Marion's first question is the answer to Anon's follow-up question.

Marion: if your drains don't back up or gurgle then most likely they're running; we cannot know if the clog is fully removed or partly removed, nor how quickly the problem will return - not by magical e-text.

For example a de-clog routine that unblocks a sticky blob of toilet paper may be a lasting repair while a de-clog that removes roots inside a drain line is only temporary, as the roots will grow back.

A plumber or septic company can inspect the septic tank inlet end to see the flow rate into the tank when toilets are flushed, though that's only partial data.

You could hire a plumber to use a camera to scope the entire line, but frankly unless you're having recurrent trouble and difficulty getting a proper repair the cost to scan the whole line is probablyl not justified.

(July 4, 2016) Marion said:

Thanks for the info! Everything still running OK. We are in the process of selling our home. Will have to eventually have the septic system inspected. Thinking about having the tank checked out and pumped to make sure the tank inlet is not partially clogged. (had a house full of company last week)

(mod) said:
Don't pump a septic tank before a septic inspection as that prevents an honest septic loading and dye test - risking a fraud charge.

Let me know what questions arise. We'll help as best we can.

Question: new product fixes wobbly loose toilets

(July 22, 2016) grant peacock said:
I would like to show a new product to fix a wobbly toilet , takes less than 5 minutes to install, it is called a toilet clamp, no need to remove toilet from the floor , no need to use toilet closet bolts, email me and I will show you the product and how to get it. egrantp@yahoo.com

Reply: really?

Thanks Grant, I'll be glad to take a look at your product - as you've sent information by e-mail.
But

Watch out: in almost every case in which a toilet is loose or wobbly, simply tightening the toilet to the floor creates a very high risk of hidden damage,rot, leaks, mold, and sewage contamination of the floor structure and the ceiling below. That's because when a toilet wobbles it also squashes and further-deforms the wax ring that seals the toilet to the top of the waste pipe below.

A proper repair for a loose and wobbly toilet, if we want to also stop leaks into the floor, requires that we completely remove the toilet, clean off the old wax ring, install a new wax ring seal to the waste pipe, then secure the toilet to the floor.

Question: toilet bowl overfills then drains down

July 24, 2016) Nancy said:
The toilet bowl fills about half full after flushing and then drains down to the correct level. No strange noises.

Reply:

Sounds as if your main drain is partly clogged and the bowl is not fully flushing.

Question: toilet tank refills "for no reason"

Aug 18, 2016) AJ in NC said:
Hello,
My toilet will 'cut on' and begin filling the back tank even when no one has flushed the toilet. It only remains on a second or two as if it is topping off the water level. This only happens every couple of hours. Do I have a slow leak somewhere? What should I check first?

Reply:

That's because your flush valve has a slow leak, AJ. Try cleaning the flapper valve and the valve seat; or just buy a replacement unit.

Search InspectApedia.com for RUNNING TOILET to see how to diagnose and repair this problem.

Question: sewage backup into toilet after flush

(Sept 11, 2016) Casey said:
toilet flushes but a bit of the fecal matter comes back into the bowl as though it's coming back up with the tiniest of bubbles...

Is a flap or valve or something not closing completely, is that why it comes back in?

Reply:

Casey,

Common causes of the problem you described include the following:

A partially blocked drain, inadequate venting of the drain system, or a mis adjustment of the toilet tank fill and flush control valve such that the volume of water being used to affect the flush is inadequate.

...


Continue reading at TOILET REPAIR GUIDE - home, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR onsite waste disposal systems - septic tanks, drainfields

Or see TOILET CLOGGED

Or see TOILET FLUSHES POORLY - slow draining or inadequate flush water volume

Or see these

Toilet Repair Articles

Suggested citation for this web page

TOILETS REPAIR FAQs at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to ARTICLE INDEX to TOILET INFORMATION

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