Toilet Troubles

Toilets. A subject that most people don’t like to talk about, but something we all use in our every day lives. Most toilets go completely un-noticed until something goes wrong. Today we are going to talk about this wonderful invention, and what to do if yours is causing you to take notice.

The modern toilet as we know it was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, but really wasn’t a part of everyday life until the late 1800s in England when it was mass produced by Thomas Crapper who really made flushable toilets accessible to every household. I know this because I have come across a few toilets in some customer’s homes that may have been there since the 1850s. Now, some people would rather have an antique toilet than to spend money to replace it, but there are definitely going to be some problems with your toilet as it ages.

You can keep a toilet in business for 100 years as long as the porcelain doesn’t crack. No matter the age of the toilet, as soon as your porcelain cracks, your toilet is done. It will leak and break. Once you get a crack in your toilet it must be replaced. Now that’s not to say that you should keep a toilet in use for many years because while the porcelain may last many years, the components of your toilet tank will not. The older your toilet is, the more you will see performance issues with it. Here are 3 of the issues you may have and how they can be resolved:

1. THE FLAPPER: A bad flapper is one of the most common problems I see with toilets. It’s also the easiest fix. As that rubber or plastic flapper sits it water for a long period of time it can deteriorate and stop forming a proper seal on your flush valve causing your toilet to run constantly. This can cost you more money on your water bill because the fill valve keeps turning on and putting more water in your toilet tank that is being lost by a bad flapper. Also, if you ever get a clog in the toilet or the main sewer line, this could cause your toilet to overflow out of the bowl and flood your bathroom. This could be a major problem if you are at work or out of town. If your flapper is worn and causing your toilet to constantly run, flappers are inexpensive and can easily be replaced in a few simple steps. This is one of the most basic plumbing jobs that you may be able to do yourself without calling your plumbing professional. However, if you want to keep your hands out of the toilet tank, Jolly Rooter will be happy to change out your flapper for you and get your toilet running smooth.

2. The Fill Valve: The component in your toilet tank that delivers the water to refill your tank is called a fill valve. This is also called a water measuring device because it measures the water flow that goes into your tank and then stops the flow when the float tells it the tank is at the proper level. If your toilet tank is filling up slow, not filling up at all, or not stopping, chances are it’s a bad fill valve. I come across this often and have changed more of these out than I can count. If you’re going to attempt to change out your own fill valve, please be sure to turn the emergency shut-off to the off position and make sure you empty out the toilet tank before you remove the supply line, and then the fill valve. If you have any problems with the fill-valve removal and installation, or the emergency shut-off valve doesn’t shut-off the water supply, don’t be afraid to call a plumber for help.

3. Clogs: Ever have a toilet clog that you just can’t clear with a plunger? That’s when you know its time to call a plumber. If the clog is inside the toilet your plumber can use a toilet auger to snake the clog out of your toilet and getting it running smooth again. However, there are a couple of reasons that your toilet may clog often that might want to make you consider buying a new toilet. One reason is that your toilet isn’t getting enough flush power due to a lack of enough water to push the waste down the drain. The number one cause of this are those horrible “water efficient” or “low flow” toilets. These have actually become required in places like California. These water efficient toilets will clog time after time, and I never recommend that any of my customers buy one of these. If you are getting any less than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, your toilet is going to clog often from lack of water. I mean, are you really saving water if you have to flush it twice to get it down? I recommend anyone with a low-flow toilet to replace it right away. They are garbage. The other common reason that toilets clog often is build-up inside the s-bend of the toilet. As years go by, the inside of your toilet gets built up with crystals formed from urine and build-up from solid waste. The older that toilet gets, the thicker this build-up gets, and the walls of that s-bend have less space for your waste and paper to travel through, and the toilet clogs. So just because the outside of your toilet can last 100 years, doesn’t mean the inside can. The price of a new toilet can be less than multiple visits a year from your plumber to unclog it.

I hope this helps you in learning more about your commode. Remember, if you have any questions about the shape or performance of your toilet you can call Jolly Rooter and I will be happy to give you any guidance you need regarding your toilet or any other part of your plumbing system.

Rich Jolly

Jolly Rooter

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