Do you ever stop to think twice about the toilet in your bathroom? If you’re like most Americans, probably not unless something has gone wrong and you’re now dealing with a flooded bowl or annoying leak. Well, this month may be the perfect time to change that—October is National Toilet Tank Repair Month! On this blog, we’ll explain how this could prove to be the perfect opportunity to give your toilet some much-needed repairs and make sure it’s not wasting water and sucking money out of your wallet.
The Importance of a Healthy Toilet
Did you know that toilet flushing accounts for nearly 40 percent of all household water use? It may come as a surprise, but flushing away the waste actually uses more water than doing the dishes, washing your clothes, or even running yard sprinklers every day. Even modern low-flow toilets use a tremendous amount of water.
Water is a precious natural resource, and wasting it not only limits the supply for everyone else, but it can suck a ton of money right out of your wallet. According to Fluidmaster, a leading manufacturer of toilet repair parts, a leaking toilet wastes an average of 78,000 gallons of water per year. That’s enough water to fill not just one, but two backyard swimming pools! Imagine how much you could save by not having to spend that money.
Why is this important? Because the overwhelming majority of toilet leaks occur in the toilet’s tank, and with it being National Toilet Tank Repair Month, now’s the perfect time to inspect your tank and make sure it’s leak free!
Common Toilet Tank Problems & Fixes
Here are a few of the most common problems you may experience with your toilet tank as well as how to fix them—you’ll be surprised how easy some of them are to do yourself!
Can you freely jiggle the handle on your toilet without it responding? Does your toilet not seem to flush with the same power and vigor as it once did (sometimes requiring multiple flushes to fully clear the bowl)? These are both signs of a loose lever. The lever is typically held onto your toilet by a threaded bushing that’s pushed through a hole in the side of the tank itself. The lever is secured on by a plastic nut that’s screwed on inside the tank. If this nut comes loose (which happens over time) the handle will start to become loose and jiggle freely. If the handle completely falls off, the nut has probably fallen off as well. Tightening the nut is the most common solution.
However, if the handle is still tight but your toilet refuses to flush, the rod connected to the handle may have simply detached itself from the rubber stopper. There’s usually a thin line or a chain that connects the two. Reattaching these fixes the issue.
A faulty flapper is usually the number one source for leaks. The flapper is a small piece of rubber that acts as a plug between the water in your tank and the bowl down below. Normally, when your toilet is simply sitting, the plug keeps the water in the tank, waiting for your next flush. When you flush the toilet, the stopper is lifted, allowing the water to flow.
Over time, these rubber flappers progressively degrade, wear out, and crack, causing leaks. At first, the leaks are usually extremely small and hard to detect, but over time they grow and become audible, eventually causing the toilet to turn on and run.
Failure to Refill
The fill valve is what fills the tank with water and preps it for the next flush. There are several different types of fill valves, but they all have something in common: a float. When the water level in your toilet gets too low, the float sinks, which opens the fill valve and causes the tank to refill. Over time, corrosion or hard water can cause this valve to stick and fail to engage. Replacing the fill valve is usually extremely simple as well, and only requires a couple of tools and an inexpensive replacement valve from your local home improvement warehouse.If your toilet is experiencing some serious problems, you may need a major repair or to have a new one installed! Call the Bartlett plumbers at Smith’s Plumbing Services at (901) 290-1110 today!