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Get More Mileage out of Your Toilet

No matter how you take care of your toilet, it is bound to break down over time. The years of continuous use will take their toll, and eventually, you will need to do something to improve your toilet’s diminishing performance.

Improve Your Toilet

(Pixabay / ErikaWittllieb)

If your toilet has been a bit anemic lately, here are some tips to improve its performance:

  • Remove the tank lid and put it in a safe place so it will not break. The tank lid is fragile, so you need to exercise caution in handling it.
  • Turn off the water supply to the toilet before you repair it. There is a shut-off valve—usually behind or below the toilet on the left side. Turning the handle clockwise will turn the water supply off.
  • Inspect the flush lever in the water tank. Ensure that it is secured to the wall. Tighten it if you find it loose. See if all the parts of the flush lever work properly.
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank, and wait for about 20 minutes. This is the simplest test to find out if there is a leak in the tank. Check the bowl to see if any food coloring appears in the water. If there is a leak, there is a significant possibility that there is erosion in the flush valve. You may also need to replace the flapper, tank ball or seat disc.
  • Remove the water from your tank. You can use a cup to scoop the water out and put it in a bucket.
  • Inspect the flapper, seat disc, tank ball, and seal. Check closely to see if any of these parts are damaged. If you notice water leaks in the bowl, try pushing down the flapper. If water continues to leak, you need to replace the flapper. The flapper and the tank balls may lose their original shape over time and need to be replaced.
  • Check your flush valve. Wear latex gloves and check the surface of the valve with your hands. It should be without chips and rough spots. If there is any imperfection on the surface of the flush valve’s rim, water will leak unnoticed into the bowl, activating the valve to fill the tank with water.
  • Examine the chain attached to the flush lever. If it is too tight, the flapper may not work properly. It if is too loose, it may prematurely close the bowl, resulting in a partial flush. Give the chain or strap about half an inch of slack.
  • Examine the bowl while the water is still off – Check the holes in the bowl’s rim. Sometimes they get clogged due to sediment deposits, resulting in less flow of water into the bowl. Push a piece of wire coat hanger into each hole to clear out any buildup.
  • Turn the water on – Reverse the shut-off valve, and water will begin coming into the toilet once again.
  • Inspect your fill valve – Watch as water slowly fills your tank. Make sure there is no leak from any part of the fill valve. Adjust your float to stop water flow to the water line.

Once you observe that there are no more leaks and all parts are working fine, you will have extended the life of your toilet. If your plumbing problems exceed your expertise level, make sure to call a professional to assist you with toilet repair.