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Tips to Keep Your Toilet Functioning Correctly

White toilet bowl against a green wall - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

All homeowners deal with toilet troubles every now and again. However, with proper maintenance residents of Indianapolis, Indiana deal with toilet problems far less than those who go without maintenance. With the right toilet maintenance tips, know just what to do to keep your toilets in good condition.

Learn toilet maintenance tips and make them a part of your home maintenance routine. Living in a home with malfunctioning toilets causes unnecessary stress to everyone in the residence. Mr. Plumber discusses the best toilet maintenance tips and advice on when to call for professional help with tricky toilet issues.

Common Toilet Problems

Before you tackle our toilet maintenance tips, it’s important to know which toilet problems you are most likely to encounter. Common toilet problems are sometimes minor, but sometimes quite significant. Below, find issues the average homeowner sees on a regular basis. In many situations, DIY methods solve these problems, though not everyone is capable of performing such work. Whenever you face one of the problems below, we welcome you to reach out for help from one of our licensed Indianapolis plumbers.

  • Water dripping in the bowl. From time to time, you may hear a toilet flush even though no one flushed it. When working correctly, toilet bowls refill once flushed; when the toilet does this on its own, a phantom flush occurs.

However, it’s not the fault of a ghost. A phantom flush is usually the result of a slow leak from the tank that flows into the bowl, which causes the bowl to refill absent a flush. Typically, this points to a bad flapper.

  • Water dripping in the tank. Similar to phantom flushes, water dripping in the tank signals a problem. Hissing noises likely come from the tank when this problem arises. When the tank produces a hissing noise, it usually comes from the supply line. For this common problem, the float, refill tube, and ballcock or inlet valve are common culprits in need of repair or replacement.
  • Bowl empties slowly. When a toilet bowl empties slowly, otherwise known as a weak flush, it causes frustration and anxiety to the person who flushed. In most cases, this stems from clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. Fix this problem with a wire to loosen the debris and mirrors to help better visualize the clog. 
  • Clogs. Next, clogs are a huge problem from homeowners everywhere, not just in Indianapolis. No matter what clogged the toilet, there are several courses of action to take. Plungers are the most well-known solution, plus they are not hard to use. However, if a plunger does not do the trick, use an auger or snake.
  • Leaky seals. Finally, seals on a toilet provide homes with protection from water damage as well as allow the toilet to properly function. When these seals deteriorate, leaks become inevitable. There are several places for leaks to occur, and some seals are more difficult to access and replace than others. A plumber is able to locate the leak and perform accurate seal replacement to eliminate further issues.

Why Toilet Maintenance Is Important

After learning the common problems toilets encounter, you must understand why toilet maintenance is crucial to the health of your plumbing. For most homeowners, dealing with toilet issues falls low on their priority lists—and understandably so. Toilets are not fun to deal with, even when they work properly. However, these toilet maintenance tips must be performed in order for your toilet to function at its best and without causing water damage.

Toilet maintenance prevents the common problems listed above. When you care for your toilet on a regular basis, the chance for malfunctions significantly decreases. Along with at-home maintenance, it’s important to schedule professional service checks once a year to ensure the health of your entire plumbing system. Without this maintenance, your home is more vulnerable to the damage and other issues a malfunctioning toilet creates.

Because of this, these toilet maintenance tips are important for Indianapolis homeowners to know. Nothing is worse than not being able to use your own toilet for extended periods of time, so make sure to practice these tips at least once a month. 

Best Toilet Maintenance Tips

Toilet maintenance tips are often hard to figure out without guidance. Luckily, Mr. Plumber knows all the best practices to get in the habit of as a homeowner. Use these toilet maintenance tips to check on the health of your toilet and prevent many common problems toilets encounter. 

 

  • Check for leaks. One of the most important things to do for your toilet, and your home, is to check for leaks. Leaks spring up in multiple places on the toilet, giving them plenty of chances to occur. Check for wet areas on and around the toilet. An interesting way to check for leaks is to use food coloring. Add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank – after 30 minutes, the bowl should not change color. If the color from the dye is present in the bowl, there is a leak between the tank and the bowl – call a plumber for repairs.
  • Proper disposals. Most importantly, only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Nothing else goes down the toilet. Especially avoid feminine products, cotton balls and swabs, diapers, paper towels, and other heavy paper-based materials. These items are sure to cause clogs in your toilet. 
  • Check shut-off valve. Also called the stop valve, this device cuts off the water supply to the toilet. The shut-off valve is a small knob located either under or behind the toilet. A working valve turns with ease. If the knob does not turn easily, it likely needs replaced or repaired. Check this valve at least once a month to ensure it always works properly.
  • Check fill valve. Next, check the fill valve located in the tank. First, remove the tank lid and flush the toilet. When the tank has refilled completely, the fill valve should stop dispensing water. If it continues to release water, then repairs or replacement are warranted. To properly diagnose this issue, work with a plumber. 
  • Cleaning. Though it seems like a no-brainer, many homeowners leave toilet cleaning to the last possible moment, or rush through this job. This is understandable, as no one enjoys cleaning a toilet. However, a clean toilet means common problems like clogs are less likely to happen. With regular cleaning, the effort to clean a toilet significantly decreases. In fact, over time you only need to use a bowl cleaner without any elbow grease required! 
  • No harsh chemicals. Out of all the toilet maintenance tips, this one requires extra persistence – chemical cleaners and clog busters are touted as quick fixes. Be sure to use gentle cleaners in your toilet. Avoid harsh chemical clog removers at all costs. These do remove clogs, but they also damage the plumbing in your home. Chemical cleaners are corrosive, which means they cause plumbing pipes to break down over time. With frequent use, these cleaners cause leaks in the pipe system.
  • Water softeners. Water hardness contributes to the way our toilets and plumbing systems work. Hard water contains minerals that build up in the fixtures and pipes. When this happens, the fixtures and pipes are more likely to clog. Additionally, hard water breaks down key components in your toilet. Water softeners remove those harsh minerals from the water and replace them with softer ones, such as potassium or sodium, to improve the overall quality of your water. 
  • Maintenance checks. Finally, schedule regular maintenance visits from a licensed plumber. Even with our toilet maintenance tips, homeowners still need a professional to examine the toilet and properly assess any problems. A plumber thoroughly inspects the toilet for issues, and performs maintenance care for individual components. Toilets receive the care they need, and small problems are repaired before major issues form. 

 

When to Call a Professional

Some issues require the trained eye of a professional plumber. Even with our toilet maintenance tips, unexpected issues sometimes need the help of a pro. In these circumstances, it’s best to call for assistance if your DIY methods prove futile. 

 

  • Stubborn clogs. Most of the time, a clogged toilet unclogs with a plunger. In more difficult cases, snakes and augers often get the job done. However, for exceptionally stubborn clogs, these at-home methods still don’t remove blocks. When this happens, it’s time to call in reinforcements. A plumber has more tools to unclog a drain than most homeowners. They are well-equipped to handle your stubborn clog and able determine if the clog stems from somewhere lower in the line. Professional tools are used to remove the clog and prevent damage to your plumbing fixtures and piping.
  • Leaks. If you find a leak, call in a professional for repair. While DIY fixes are often a possibility, it is a difficult and potentially damaging project without the right set of skills. It’s best to leave leaks to the pros, who are able to examine the fixture, properly diagnose the issue, and perform the needed repair while protecting your toilet and plumbing system. 
  • Multiple fixture problems. Multiple fixture problems point to a larger issue in the plumbing system. If you notice your toilet and other water fixtures in your home acting up, call in a plumber to inspect your plumbing and diagnose the source. 

 

Contact Us for More Toilet Maintenance Tips

Mr. Plumber’s toilet maintenance tips help homeowners across Indianapolis, Indiana experience fewer problems with their toilets. For more information on Mr. Plumber’s services and to schedule a maintenance check, give us a call today!

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