John, latrine, loo, powder room, privvy, potty, and our favorite, the throne, are all nicknames for the same non-glamorous thing: your trusty toilet. It’s the thing in your home that you probably use the most often over your lifetime, so why don’t we think of them as what they are? Assets.
Jokes aside, your toilet isn’t going to last forever. There are signs that yours is breaking down, needs repair, or can’t go on any longer. Some of the issues are easy to fix (like reattaching the chain), while others will cost you a pretty penny (like a full-on replacement).
Learn what level of broken toilet you have, by diagnosing it with the explanations (from easiest to fix to need to be replaced), below.
1. The Toilet Sounds Like It’s Always Running
There are two reasons this could happen. The first is that the flapper (the rubber stopper) isn’t fitting right. It either needs to be manually re-adjusted or replaced.
The second is that there is too much water in the tank, which is causing the overflow tube to work overtime. Look up your toilet make and model to find the guide on how to fix the water level in your tank.
2. The Handle is Jiggling or Not Working
If you can’t flush at all, the most common issue is that the chain has disconnected from the level that controls the handle. To fix this, open the tank and locate the chain. Re-attach it to the hook and you should be good to go! You may want to tighten it to the next link if this keeps happening regularly.
Second, you may just need to tighten the nut that holds the flushing handle in place. You might need a wrench, just because it’s humid in your tank and your fingers will get slippery. But it couldn’t be more simple – rightie tighty, lefty loosey!
3. There’s a Puddle Around Your Toilet
Now, this is a more complex issue. Your toilet has a wax ring around the bottom that holds the moisture in. These can crack and age over time to let some of the water through. To replace it, the entire toilet will need to be lifted up and a new seal needs to be added.
Toilets aren’t light and we recommend hiring a professional, like Norman’s Plumbing & Mechanical LLC to do this part for you. Otherwise, you might drop the toilet and crack it, which would mean a full replacement!
4. The Toilet is Wobbly and Re-Caulking Didn’t Help
Sometimes you can fix a wobbly toilet by replacing the caulk at the base, but that’s a temporary fix. If your toilet is really wobbly or it keeps cracking the caulk you’ve added, that means the floor underneath the toilet is sinking, for lack of a better term.
You’ll need to budget in a replacement toilet in the next few months, or the issue will just get worse and worse!
Fixing Your Broken Toilet
We hope, for your sake, that the issue you’re having is on the top of this list. But if it’s towards the bottom, remember that anything to do with plumbing is best handled by the pros.
A truly broken toilet will need replacing and the longer it goes without, the more damage it can do to the area around it. So it’s best to get it out of the way as soon as you can afford to.
Was this guide helpful? For more like it check out the rest of our problem-solving blog content!