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Tips for When your Toilet Gets Tanked, and you Don’t Want to Telephone a Technician

Jim Bennett’s Plumbing is here to help you out anytime your toilet starts acting with a mind of its own, however we know that sometimes folks will want to DIY.  Whether your toilet is just making weird noises, it is leaking or it is having a full blown waterfall pouring out of the bowl, there are ways that you can solve these problems yourself, with tools you already own, or want to pick up. Yes,  you can be your own plumber with these tips. (Feel free to wrest your pants down low on your hips and dive in!)

1. Water Trickling Into the Bowl, or “Phantom Flushes”:  In plumber lingo, a “phantom flush” does not involve a ghost, but occurs when a toilet cuts on and off by itself. If you hear the toilet randomly refilling as if someone is flushing it, it is because there is a slow leak from the tank into the bowl caused by a bad flapper. Your tank and bowl will need to be drained and replaced. (GIVE SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS HERE HOW TO DO THAT).

2. Water Trickling Into the Tank:  Although it may sound like a snake, this constant hissing noise coming from your bathroom is the result of water trickling into the tank via the supply line. If you hear this, your first step is to check the float to see if it needs adjusting. Next, make sure the refill tube is not too far into the overflow tube (too far would be more than 1/4″ below the rim). If neither of these are the problem, that’s when you can call Jim Bennett at 850-878-3178 to come replace the ballcock assembly to meet these required standards.

3. The Bowl Empties Slowly: Also referred to as a “weak flush”, this can occur when your bowl when there are clogged holes underneath the rim. In an attempt to handle this yourself,  find a curved piece of wire or bend a coat-hanger wire and gently poke into each flush hole under the rim to loosen material that may potentially be blocking the siphon jet in the bottom of the drain as well.

4. The Dreaded Clog: Did you know that clogs are the most common toilet problem? If you have young children, you may have already experienced army men or doll clothes surprising you as the source of a clog when your plumber pulls it out. But for those occasions you plan to have a large party in a house with few bathrooms, be sure you own a force-cup plunger. Much more effective than the standard flat saucer type plungers for loosening a plethora of toilet paper buildup, it can make the difference between an embarrassing bathroom flood and a quick fix. Once you have this handy-dandy plunger, insert the bulb into the drain and pump down directly and forcefully, maintaining a tight seal. Release the handle slowly while letting a little water in so you can see if the drain is clear. If the clog is a little more serious than a plunger can handle, but you still aren’t ready to call in the pro, try borrowing or buying a closet auger. Insert the end of the auger into the drain hole and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward.

5. Leaky Seals: A standard toilet has 5 seals, all with the potential to leak. If you come in to find the equivalent of the Mississippi River is coming from your toilet, your first step in action is to identify which of the 5 is the faulty seal, and then tighten it or replace it.  Here’s a fast reference to those 5 seals:

  • The largest seal is the one between the tank and the bowl. If there is a break here, a monsoon leak is in the near future with water shooting every which way with every single flush. To replace this seal, turn the tank upside down, drain and remove it, remove the old seal and plop on a new one.

  • The smaller seals 2, 3 and 4 are at the mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock.  Replace these smaller seals just like the large one. Be aware that just tightening the bolts likely won’t stop the leak.

  • The 5th seal is the wax seal that is mounted on a plastic flange under the toilet base. If the wax fails, any leaking water under the base will eventually rot your pretty floor, so to repair this leak, remove the toilet and replace the wax seal. Obviously, this might require you to ring-a ding-ding Jim Bennett’s Plumbing, as most folks aren’t used to unseating a whole toilet.

If any of these 5 problems are testing your temper,  give these tips a try before you call up the plumber. If your attempts just aren’t working though, do not hesitate to call Jim Bennett Plumbing – we are experts in taming your toilet.

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