Practical tips for common problems with toilets

August 28, 2015

Follow these practical tips for common problems with toilets, but be aware that modern toilet tanks can be complicated so you may need to call a plumber.

Practical tips for common problems with toilets

Unblock it

  • To unblock a clogged toilet, use a large plunger with a funnel cup.
  • Place your plunger so it seals completely over the drain opening, making sure the cup is covered with water.
  • Then pump up and down as hard as you can several times.
  • Remove your plunger.
  • If the water has gone, fill a bucket with water and pour it into the bowl to clear the pipes.

Quick fix plunger

  •  If you don't have a toilet plunger to deal with a blockage, you can improvise with a mop head wrapped in a plastic bag.
  • Tie the bag securely to the handle of the mop so it can't work free.

Heat treatment

  • You can also try pouring a bucket of hot water own a toilet to clear it.
  • If your toilet seems to be draining more quickly after one bucket, follow up immediately with two or three more.

Don't lose control

  • Toilet tanks are usually fitted with their own isolating control valve, which turns the incoming water on and off.
  • Because these control valves are rarely used, they can seize up altogether and become impossible to operate in an emergency.
  • Turn the tap on and off at least once a year to prevent this from happening.
  • A squirt of penetrating oil will help to free up any stiffness.

Screaming cistern

  • Does your toilet tank make a blood-curdling wailing noise after each flush?
  • The noise is generated as water rushes in to refill the cistern.
  • An excessively loud noise could be due to high water pressure.
  • Adjust the control valve to regulate the flow of water
  • You can find the control valve on the inlet pipe that carries water to the cistern.
  • First, turn the valve off.
  • Flush the toilet, then slowly turn the valve back on until it makes the noise again.
  • Turn the valve back a little bit until the sound stops.
  • If this fails to correct the problem, ask a plumber to fit a special low-noise inlet valve inside your toilet's tank.

Raise the water level

  • If your toilet won't flush, check that the water level in the tank is up to the "full" mark.
  • If it is too low, you can adjust the angle of the float arm.
  • How you make this adjustment depends on the type of valve you have.
  • With a plastic valve, you'll have to turn its adjustment screw with a screwdriver to alter the angle of the arm.
  • With a brass valve, you can bend the float arm up a little, or loosen the securing nut on a moveable float and slide the fixing up the arm slightly to lower it.

If you follow these practical tips you'll be ready to deal with some common problems with toilets.

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