Common Toilet Problems
- Leaking Toilet – Toilets can leak from multiple places. Water may show up on the floor, at the base of the toilet, or it may be leaking internally.
- Clogs – When you have a toilet clog, a plunger is a great tool. The toilet plunger has an outer flange that fits into the hole at the bottom of the toilet and can be purchased at any hardware store. The flat bottom plunger shape is designed to plunge a sink.
- Difficult to flush – Toilets that don’t completely flush may need adjusting, they may be partially plugged, or it is old and needs to be replaced.
- Rocking Toilet – A toilet shouldn’t rock or move at all when you sit on it. If this is happening, the toilet may need to be adjusted or reset. It may be that the bolts attaching the toilet to the floor have come loose. If your toilet needs updating, use this opportunity to purchase a new one.
- Lead Bend Failing – A lead (pronounced led) bend is a short piece of pipe installed on toilets up until the 1920s.
Purchasing a New Toilet
- A toilet is a home’s largest water user. New efficient toilets are those designed after 2004. These can save you water and money.
- Toilets are available as 2 pieces, 1 piece, round front, elongated, wall-hung, and ADA compliant. Homeowners can choose models with features ranging from water-saving high-efficiency, choice of flush methods, and pressure-assisted flushing, to LED lighting and warm air drying.
- ADA compliant toilets are those that are in compliance with the American Disabilities Act. These toilets offer a slightly higher seat height which is often easier for those with disabilities.
- Our experienced technicians carry Toto and Gerber brand toilets on their trucks, in round, elongated, and ADA-compliant styles.
What to Flush and Not Flush
Indoor plumbing is an incredible and relatively new invention that many of us take for granted. New toilet technology and advanced wastewater treatment processes are improving our world. But in spite of advancements, our side sewer lines and the city’s main sewer lines are not designed to handle anything other than basics. In fact, Seattle sewer lines were designed to flush only human waste and standard toilet paper into the city sewer system.
To get the best performance from your toilet and to alleviate the possibility of a sewer backup, never flush anything other than standard toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Thick toilet paper, wipes, tampons, diapers, paper towels, dental floss, kitty litter, cotton swab sticks, and other products advertised as “flushable” really aren’t. Flushing these are asking for trouble. Flushing these also means someone else is cleaning up the mess downstream.
- Watch one of these short Seattle Public Utilities videos to see what happens when you flush garbage down the toilet. Make It A Straight Flush and Straight Flush.
In our experience, many if not most plugged toilet and sewer calls are the result of homeowners or guests flushing the above-named items down the toilet. Debris catches onto roots and imperfections on the inside of the side sewer line and causes a slow, clogged, or completely blocked sewer line.
It may take effort to change the habit of using your toilet as a garbage can, but this change in habit could save you many thousands of dollars in repairs. Place a plastic-lined container next to your toilet for these non-flushables and dispose of the contents in the garbage can.
Other commonly found flushed objects that cause clogs and backups are bath toys, toilet paper rolls, and soap bars. In particular, one of our customers found her toddler had thrown all of her makeup into the toilet and then tried to flush it all. Children often want to see what will happen when they flush something.
- The toilet is a drain. See our Drain Cleaning /Repair page for more information on how to keep your drains running freely.
Cleaning the Toilet
- White vinegar is a natural and inexpensive cleaning agent. Pour some into the toilet bowl water and let it sit. Then scrub the bowl and flush. If extra power is needed, add baking soda to the vinegar in the toilet bowl.
- If you have marble or stone floors in the bathroom, avoid splashing vinegar on the floor.