Choices To Consider When Buying A Toilet:
Installing A Replacement Toilet Is Usually Fairly Easy:
What Can Go Wrong With Your Toilet:
There are a number of things that can go wrong with your toilet, including:
How long your toilet parts last depends on a number of variables. Water quality is one of the major factors. If your water source is heavily chlorinated then many parts won't last long. Or if you have a lot of sand or grit or have a low pH or "aggressive" water source then parts simply won't last as long as the 'average' length of time. Also the quality of the parts matters. The replaceable parts such as flappers and washers/seals generally will last at least 4 to 5 years on "average." If you use a bowl cleaner some flappers won't even last one year. If your flapper has black "goo" on it then it is either due to age or quality of your water and if it feels soft then it's best to change it.
To change the flapper with most toilets: turn off the water supply and flush the toilet. Reach in and unhook the ears of the flapper and unhook the chain from the trip lever. Install an identical flapper to the original that came from the factory. Do expect to get your hands dirty from the old flapper. Simply reinstall the new one in reverse order. Note that should you have very old brass pipes inside of your toilet, be careful not to be rough on them. They can easily break and end up leaking. After you have replaced your flapper, and the toilet tank bowl has refilled, the water fill valve should not leak (be going on and off in cycles). If it does, then we recommend putting some food coloring into your tank. This can help diagnose the problem. The colored water should not be going into the bowl (unless you flush the toilet of course). If the food color does go into the bowl, then possibly the flapper is not the correct one, the surface where the toilet flapper sits, has eroded (feel below where the flapper touched the toilet and see if you can feel erosion/grove) or you may only need to add some slack to the chain.
Fixing A Clog:
The first thing you should try is a plunger. A plunger is pumped up and down in the toilet bowl and then removed. This creates a vacuum below the clog and the returning water will sometimes remove the clog. The best action isn't the pushing action but the pulling action. Put the toilet plunger into the bowl, do a series of small strokes until it is pushed in all the way and sealed real well. Then pull up real hard (stand out of the way as this is also an easy way to get "you know what" on you). If that doesn't work try short, quick strokes with the emphasis on pulling. If the plunger doesn't take care of your clog the next thing to try is a snake, or toilet auger. Place the snake inside the toilet bowl with the auger tight against the tube and the end in the bowl outlet. Turn the snake's handle as you push it down into the pipes as far as it will go and then pull it back up. Repeat this action until the clog is removed. If that doesn't work it's time to take the toilet up.
Leaking toilets are the most common cause of high water bills. Toilet leaks can waste as much as four to five gallons of water per minute and cost you up to $100 extra on your monthly water bill. We highly recommend that you fix your leaking toilet as soon as possible.
There are many signs that your toilet is leaking. These include:
Jiggling the handle to make your toilet stop running.
If you notice your toilet is leaking the first thing you need to determine is the cause. Dry all around the toilet tank as well as the floor below. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet, make sure there are no "in tank" bowl cleaners that color the water (you must have clear water in the tank and in the bowl for this test to work). After the flapper/tank ball drops and the tank water refills, add several drops of food coloring into the tank until the water is a dark color (we like the color blue but other colors will work). Then wait for an hour or so. Look if any of the color has seeped through the tank (crack) or around a fitting, etc. If any color appears in the toilet bowl then you have a leak. If you do not see any of the coloring anywhere, then flush the toilet (best to have a flashlight on). If you still do not see any coloring (except in the bowl) then there is a good possibility that your tank is sweating. The sweating can be diminished a lot by a sweat stopper. It also could be that your flush valve ("ball cock") is shooting water up against the tank lid, and then some of the water drips down along the side of the toilet tank. Replace or repair the ball cock (flush valve) in that case. Do NOT seal around the tank lid and the tank with silicone, etc., as with most tanks and lids there needs to be some air space going into the tank.
The most common causes of leaks are a faulty flush valve or an improperly adjusted or broken refill (ball cock) valve. There is another test you can do to find out which part is the cause of your leak. First draw a pencil line on the back wall of the inside of the tank at the water line. Turn the water supply off and wait 20-30 minutes without using the toilet. If the water level remains at the pencil mark then your leak is most likely being caused by your refill valve. To fix this you simply have to reset the water to a lower level by using the fill valve's adjustment clip or in the case of a float ball-type valve simply bend the arm slightly downward. However, if the water level falls below your pencil mark then your leak is most likely caused by a faulty flush valve. To replace your flush valve you will need to cut a new overflow pipe to match the height of the old pipe. Install the valve by tightening the lock nut 1/2 turn beyond hand tight and then slide the gasket onto the threaded end of the valve. Connect the flapper chain to the flush lever, attach the refill tube to the overflow pipe and finally reconnect the tank to the bowl.
The high humidity on a hot day and the cold water that fills up the toilet tank causes the tank to "sweat", the water on the tank is actually condensation. The solution for this problem is to isolate the cold water in the tank by either insulating the tank with a styrofoam insulation kit, or replace the tank with a lined tank (some manufacturers with some toilet models sell them, but these are very costly and don't prevent condensation any more than the styrofoam insulation kits).
Other options include:
Installing a tempering valve with a hot and cold water source. The trick is to add water to your tank at close to the temperature of the room.
"What is a Washlet?"
A Washlet is a toilet seat with warm water, bidet style washing. It is a replacement toilet seat, and can be installed on a new or existing toilet, the same as any regular toilet seat. A Washlet will typically have additional functions and features, depending on the model and price range.
"Can I install my toilet flange to be flush with the floor?"
With most of today's toilets it is best to install your toilet flange to sit on top of the finished floor. In other words, most toilet flanges are 1/4 - 1/2" thick and the bottom of the flange itself should sit on top of your tile, linoleum, etc. which makes the actual top of the flange sit about 1/4"-1/2" above the finished floor.
"Any tricks to setting a toilet on top of a tile floor?"
Set the toilet in the usual manner. Then just grout around the base of the toilet (between the toilet and the floor tiles). Wash the joints and let them get hard. That grout will support the toilet and keep it from trying to rock when someone sits on it, and the grout looks much nicer and will generally last longer than standard caulking.
"Can I use a wax ring for my wall-hung toilet?"
Some people do. We absolutely do NOT recommend it because wax does not have "memory." Over time all walls will flex (somewhat) and when that happens, gravity will allow a space - which will allow leaks. We believe that wax gaskets are great for regular toilets but not for wall-hung toilets.
"What about felt gaskets with wax, for my wall hung toilet?"
It might be somewhat better than an all wax gasket, but since the felt does not take up all of the space, it also will leak once the wall has flexed/moved. Either the wall will flex, the closet (toilet) carrier will flex or the bolts will loosen somewhat. In all cases you need a quality gasket/sponge that bounces back and fills the void.
"On my regular toilet I've replaced the 'bad' wax gaskets a few times and my toilet still leaks!!??"
Generally wax doesn't "go bad" on a standard floor-mounted toilet, as its function is not to prevent leaks. Wax on a floor-mounted toilet is there to prevent odors. If you are experiencing a leak coming from underneath the floor-mounted toilet, you probably have a partial (or full blown) toilet stoppage down the drain line (or the toilet is cracked in the bowl). Also, make sure the leak isn't coming from above and dribbling down the back of the toilet, as this is a "typical" undetected problem. If you aren't sure where the leak is coming, from try putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank and waiting a few hours.
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