Fix Running Toilets, Leaking Wax Rings, and Toilet Tank Condensation In Your Lodi Home

blog-icon-plumbingIf there’s one thing in your home that you don’t want to go wrong, it’s probably the toilet. Not only are toilets essential to our everyday lives, they also carry away stuff we’d rather not come into the rest of the house. And they also hold gallons of water at all times, so the potential for flooding and water damage is high. For all of these reasons, toilet problems can mean real trouble. Today we’ll discuss a few of the most basic toilet issues we see on the job and how we go about fixing them.


A Running Toilet

A toilet that won’t stop running is an annoying and costly problem that many homeowners face at least once in their lives. A running toilet won’t flush efficiently, will constantly use too much water, and run up your bills as a result. And if you’re the kind of person who gets annoyed by constant background noises, you’re going to hate the sound.

We recently had a client who had had enough of his. After months of ignoring the problem, he finally called us up — the solution was as simple as a new toilet tank flapper. The old flapper had become cracked and was allowing water to enter the bowl even when the toilet wasn’t being flushed or refilling. Talk about a cheap and quick fix  it took just a few minutes to right this issue.

Not all toilets will be this easy to fix, but the principle remains the same: the toilet runs when the tank gets low. The tank gets low when water flows into the bowl. So either water is leaking into the bowl, or there’s something wrong with the shutoff or float in the tank itself.

The Low-Flow Flush

After a series of unpleasant clogs and plunging incidents, another one of our clients in Sacramento was ready for a new toilet. Theirs just didn’t flush right — the water moved very slowly, and it barely built enough volume to cause the toilet to flush. This lackluster performance was linked to the flapper, like in the previous client’s running toilet. In this particular case, however, the flapper was not opening all the way because of a bent flush handle rod. A quick straighten later, and the results were very noticeable.

Water Damage on the Floor

The linoleum around a third client’s toilet was looking pretty icky, and she was worried about water damage to the subfloor as well as the potential for mold and mildew. The situation wasn’t too bad yet, and she knew the cause: her toilet tank had water on the outside. This “sweat” is pretty common in toilets, especially if they’re not in a properly humidified and ventilated room (the bathroom fan in this particular case had broken and never been fixed). Water collects on the cool porcelain tank and drips onto the floor below.

This turned into a two-part solution. The first was to fix the bathroom fan: toilet condensation was symptomatic of a larger ventilation issue and the toilet wasn’t the only thing in the bathroom starting to have issues — her caulking around the bathtub was also starting to mildew. Once we had the fan up and running again, we turned our attention to the toilet itself.

Toilet “sweat” is the result of the cold porcelain attracting moisture from the surrounding air, and there’s an easy fix for this. An anti-sweat valve in the toilet supply line adds a little bit of warm water to the toilet’s cold water supply — just enough to raise the tank temperature so that it doesn’t attract moisture. Even though our client couldn’t feel the temperature difference with her hand, her toilet stopped sweating, and her floor was saved.

A Busted Wax Ring

When you flush the toilet, the last thing you want to see is liquid leaking from around the base. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened recently to one of our clients.

Toilets are made out of porcelain, and that means it’s hard to attach a metal or rubber fitting to them that will last for very long. But somehow that toilet has to seal against a metal drain pipe, and that’s where the wax ring comes in. A wax ring is a wax-covered gasket that seals tight against the metal drain in the floor and the porcelain toilet opening, creating a moisture-proof barrier that’s sturdy enough for years of use.

Wax rings often last decades, and in this particular situation, it had. But slowly it had been eaten away, and it failed enough to allow water and waste to leak out under the toilet base. The solution was to install another wax ring, and it only took our professionals twenty minutes to do it. Another relatively quick and painless fix.

Flushing Toilet Troubles Down the Drain

Whether you’re a DIY-gal or a guy who wants his toilet to just work right, you’ll be pleased to know that theses issues are usually pretty straightforward to work on. If your toilet is giving you trouble, then you need to get on it pronto — we’re here to answer your questions and fix your plumbing issues when the time comes.