How to Fix Toilet Problems

The most common toilet problems are often easily fixable requiring only some cleaning or the replacement of a part.  If you cannot figure out the issue on your own, it requires a professional plumber to assess the toilet, make repairs, and sometimes, install a new toilet.  Below are three common toilet problems that you can often fix yourself.

Weak Flush

One common toilet problem is the weak flush and most often occurs when minerals such as calcium and lime build up on the rim feed and jet holes of the toilet bowl.  The way to fix this weak flush is to clean the rim feed and jet holes and once doing so, you’ll regain your toilet’s strong flush. To do this, turn the water supply valve off and hold the flapper open.  Then, let most of the water fall out of the tank.

Use a toilet bowl cleaner to pour 1-2 cups of cleaning solution down the valve.  Stick a wire hanger into the valve and scrape back and forth to break away any hard build up.  Then, turn the water supply on and let the tank refill.  This effort will remove the buildup and create a stronger toilet flush.

Running Toilet

A running toilet can cost you hundreds of dollars per year in wasted water.  Running toilets are often a simple fix and are brought on by a faulty fill valve or flush valve in your toilet’s water tank.  The first step is to clean the fill valve to wash away any debris that might be causing your running toilet.   To clean the fill valve, first turn off the water and flush your toilet.  Reach into your tank with your right hand and lift the float cup.

Grip the gray shaft and hold it in this position for now.  With your left-hand, grab onto the cap and place your thumb on the side of the plastic arm. Twist the cap and plastic arm counterclockwise 1/8th of a turn and press down on the cap while making this twisting motion.  Lift up on the cap and move it away from the top of the valve.   Then, turn the water on full force for 10-15 seconds, which will clean the debris in the valve.  Make sure to place a cup above the valve, covering the valve and protecting yourself from spraying water everywhere.  Finally, reverse the steps to put the top back on the valve.  Turn on the water and flush the toilet to make sure the problem is resolved.  If cleaning the fill valve doesn’t work to stop your running toilet, you’ll need to replace the fill valve first.  If you still have a running toilet, then replace the flush valve as well.

Leaking Toilet

Another toilet issue commonly seen is a leaking toilet, where water leaks from underneath the toilet.  If you see small puddles below your toilet, the problem is likely either that the tee bolts are loose or the wax seal is damaged below the toilet.  For starters, re-position the toilet and tighten the tee bolts.  If they’re lose and you tightened them, wait to see if your toilet bowl still leaks.  If not, the problem is fixed.  If the leak continues, you’ll have to now replace the wax seal beneath the toilet.  First, go to the hardware store and purchase yourself a new wax wing.  Then, prep the toilet by shutting off the water.  Flush the toilet twice to remove as much sitting water as possible.  To remove leftover water, unscrew the nut holding the fill valve and catch the excess water with a small bucket.

Next remove the toilet by unscrewing the water supply line and the tee bolts from the floor.  Move the toilet over or set it down gently on its side revealing the old wax ring.  Begin removing the wax ring.  Next, install the new wax ring placing it over the flange while the tee bolts are secured in their place.  Then re-position the toilet back to its usual position.  Reinstall your toilet by screwing the tee bolts in place but do not over tighten them.  Keep in mind the toilet must be leveled and centered properly.  Then reconnect your waterline, turn the valve back on, and flush.  Here, closely inspect your toilet to make sure no water leaks from the new seal.


Toilet problems can cause mold to grow, increase your water bill, and damage both the floor and the ceilings of your house.  It’s best to get these issues fixed right away.  If you need help assessing and fixing toilet clogs and back-up, we can handle all your needs at All County Sewer and Drain.  Give us a call at (800) 834-3102.