The bathroom is an essential room in any household and is probably one of the most frequently used too. This is why it is unsurprising when something eventually breaks down once in a while. In such situations, damage should be assessed as quickly as possible and one needs to decide whether to try and repair the issue themselves or call a professional for help.
There is also the question of whether it is better to mend it or to completely replace what is no longer working properly. This especially applies to the toilet since it is possibly the most utilized item in the bathroom and is the one that is most prone to breaking.
So let’s take a look at some of the more common complications and ways to repair them, as well as when to know that it is the right time to get a new fixture.
Leakage can come from a variety of places such as from the base or the inside of the bowl, a supply pipe or the valve, the tank, and a few other spots too. If you notice a pool of liquid constantly forming around the bowl or if it is often lower or missing from it than there is a good chance that there is a leak. The amount of liquid in your tank is another possible sign.
Clogging is another common complication and is easily noticeable as well. A weak discharge is the first sign, followed by the bowl being refilled with water but draining it slowly, although this might be just a partial blockage.
Complete clogging is even easier to notice since the bowl will keep filling up until the point of overflowing. On the other hand, determining where the issue is coming from might be a bit harder.
Constant running water often occurs after you flush and it might be caused by the valve, known as the flapper, not closing properly due to the chain length. Another reason might simply be dirt buildup while in other cases the seal between the ball cock and float mount arm might be broken.
Sink or tub backup after flushing might occur due to the toilet vent pipe being partially or fully blocked. Gurgling sounds in the sink or tub might be heard after you flush and that is a clear sign of a pipe problem.
Repairing It By Yourself or Calling a Professional?
Although hiring a plumber is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of any trouble, there are still certain repairs one can do on their own. Hiring a local professional to do the job is optimal in cases that include:
Leaking at the base since the job usually requires replacing the wax ring. This is probably one of the trickiest and time-consuming things to do and is best left to someone who knows how to do it properly. This should be applied in any case of severe leakage or overflowing as well.
If the continuous running is caused by a broken rubber diaphragm seal, understandably, it needs to be replaced. However, trying this on your own might not be the best idea, so do not hesitate to hire a plumber for the job.
Backup of any sort should also be handled by a professional, but especially raw sewage one. It can pose danger to health and should not be handled by people who are not trained in the business.
Now, some problems you can try mending yourself include:
Unclogging is typically an easy thing to do and simply requires a plunger and a few minutes to take care of. However, keep in mind that you should not use any other tool or item when trying to solve the issue and never use chemical drain cleaners.
To easier create a good vacuum, make sure there is at least some water in the bowl. Also, accordion-shaped plungers tend to work better than other ones. If you do not manage to unclog, a professional might need to come in and check whether the issue is coming from somewhere else.
Constant Running due to dirt or the flapper valve can easily be fixed. Simply remove the sediment from the area or readjust the length of the chain by unlatching the clip and elongating or shortening it.
The Seat is probably the simplest thing to take care of. All that is needed is to lift the seat, unscrew the two screws, remove it, and install the new one.
Repair or Replace?
There comes a time when replacing becomes unavoidable. All the above-mentioned cases can generally be mended, so you will no longer have to worry about them for a while.
However, if you catch yourself dealing with complications over and over again and more frequently at that, it can not only become extremely time-consuming but expensive as well. The same goes if you start using the plunger more and more.
If you notice any porcelain cracks or scratches, even superficial ones, it might be best to go shopping. Firstly, such areas make a perfect home for bacteria and dirt, meaning it will never be truly clean. On the other hand, it can also lead to bigger damages in the form of leaks and other drawbacks if the cracks keep expanding.
One more important thing to have in mind is that toilets made before ‘94 are inefficient and use three times as much water as compared to newer models. Even though it might not sound as serious, you might be paying your bill higher than what is necessary. This is another reason why replacement might be a good investment.
When shopping for a new fixture, look for one with a great flushing system, low fluid consumption, and one that is low-maintenance as well. You can always search online and read guides such as this one and find reviews on such products, so you can at least narrow down your options.
If for any reason you cannot figure out what is wrong or are not skilled enough to do the work yourself, do not think too much or too long before asking for help and hiring a trained and highly-qualified individual to take care of everything for you. More often than not, it is the best way to avoid additional stress and even bigger problems.