3 ways to troubleshoot your toilet - HMS National, Inc.

3 ways to troubleshoot your toilet

October 21, 2014

Aside from the common clog, there aren't too many things that can break in your toilet. If it's not working correctly, chances are that you can find out what's wrong with your toilet. Use these three steps to troubleshoot your toilet and figure out if you need to call the plumber.

1. Check inside the tank
Plumbing Supply Group explained that there are three main culprits when it comes to a toilet that runs when it's not supposed to: the flapper, fill valve or flush valve. These are all located inside the tank on the back of the toilet and are easy enough to spot. Whether your toilet is constantly or intermittently running, check to ensure that these pieces are functioning correctly. Remove the cover of the tank and place it somewhere safe. Flush the toilet and wait for the tank to refill. As it does, the flapper, or tank ball, should stop the water from exiting the tank by settling down onto the flush valve. If this isn't the case, one of those is your faulty part. If the flapper and flush valve are working, but the tank continues filling until it reaches the overflow tube, then your fill valve is likely the problem. If any of these parts are faulty, you'll need to call a plumber to have them replaced.

2. Use food coloring
If you find water on the floor around your toilet, all you need to troubleshoot is a little bit of food coloring. Put 10 or 20 drops into the tank and wait until the color is dispersed. If your toilet is leaking, you'll be able to spot where the colored water is coming out and dripping. If you don't see the colored water, chances are that your toilet is just "sweating" from condensation.

3. Clear the flush holes
If your toilet takes a long time to empty, also known as a weak flush, the problem is likely that the flush holes are clogged. To troubleshoot this problem, you'll need a curved piece of wire and a small mirror. DIY Network recommended using the mirror to take a peek under the rim of the toilet. Locate the flush holes, which are situated all around the toilet's rim, and use the wire to carefully loosen any debris that's blocking them. Once you've cleared out the holes, give your toilet a flush to see if the problem is solved. If it's not, you'll need to call a plumber to find the source of the problem.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.