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Can a Toilet Go Bad: Common Toilet Issues and What to Do About Them

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Yes, a toilet can go very bad. Plumbing issues are always a challenge, but things can turn sour very quickly when you’re having toilet issues.

Good plumbing is something most people take for granted.

interior of white modern bathroom with toilet bowl near folding screen, toilet brush and toilet papers

We just expect our toilets to work. Out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes we’re better off not knowing what can go wrong, but that’s like putting your head in the sand.

If you don’t understand how your toilet works, then you should spend a bit of time learning the mechanics and proper maintenance.

If your toilet runs into trouble, it can cause property damage, and, at its worst, become a health and safety hazard.

Most of the time, when toilets go bad, it’s a minor nuisance that can be fixed relatively easily.

Other times, however, you’re going to need to call for a professional plumber.

Knowing the difference between the two can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars and hours of stress.

Here are some of the common items that break in a toilet and what you can do about it.

8 Signs of a Bad Toilet (and How to Fix It)

1. Clogged DrainsThis is one of the most common issues with toilets.

If your toilet is clogged frequently, you could have some debris in your pipes that is affecting proper water flow.

Usually, a plunger will do the trick, but if you’re constantly having to plunge your toilet, you need to make repairs with more of a concerted effort.

A snaking tool can push deep into your drain system to shake any debris loose and clear your toilet drain.

2. Water Overflows – This is tied to clogged drains. Sometimes the water won’t go down.

Other times, though, water comes back up. Things can get messy when your toilet overflows, so be careful and don’t keep flushing it if you’ve got a clogged drain.

plunger clearing a clogged toilet, overflowing water from the toilet in the bathroom

3. Constant Running Water

A toilet tank that is constantly running means something is wrong with the seal inside the tank.

Either the mechanics of the toilet are positioned wrongly or your plastic seal needs to be replaced.

4. Your tank filling up over and over again

Usually, it should be done in under a minute for a single flush.

If, however, water keeps running, it could cause a spike in your monthly water bills.

5. Nothing Happens When You Push the Lever

What about if nothing happens when you flush your toilet? It’s easy for your chain to detach from the device inside your toilet tank.

This is a simple fix that you can do by yourself. Lift the toilet tank lid off and reattach the hook that links your toilet handle to the plastic seal at the bottom.

6. Water Leaking from Pipes

If you see water leaking from the pipes under your toilet, that’s a sign of a bad toilet.

Try to tighten the pipes a bit to see if it stops. If it continues, though, you may need to call a plumber.

You can twist the knob on the pipes under the toilet to shut off the water flow until help arrives.

7. Water Pooling Around the Bottom of Your Toilet

Porcelain toilets can last for decades. The parts inside and the wax seal underneath them are what go bad.

If you notice that water is pooling around the bottom of your toilet, there is likely a problem with the wax seal that sits underneath it.

These can be purchased and replaced DIY, but most homeowners call for a professional plumber to do it.

8. Poor Flushing Power

Is your water pressure in your toilet too low? Are you regularly having to flush multiple times after use?

When toilets go bad, flushing them can be a pain. It’s usually a sign that you’ve got a problem with a valve inside the tank.

These are just some of the signs of a toilet gone bad. You can find a lot of helpful repair tutorials online if you feel like managing the problem yourself.

All of the parts are common and available at your local hardware store.

If, though, you feel uncomfortable handling the situation, a professional plumber can handle it promptly.

5 Signs You Need a New Toilet

We’ve just covered some of the most common reasons your toilet isn’t performing well.

But how can you know whether you need a toilet replacement?

No one wants to spend a ton of money on repairs, especially if they could save by installing a brand new toilet! Here are five signs you need for a new toilet installation.

plumber in overall fixes the toilet

1. You are Constantly Repairing Your Toilet

When repairing your toilet becomes a part-time job, then you should probably get a new toilet.

Don’t live with the stress of constant leaks, clogs, and mechanical issues. Some toilets are installed improperly or break down due to years of use.

A good plumber will let you know when a repair is going to cost you nearly as much or the same as a new toilet.

They can give you a range of different toilet options to find something that fits your budget and your needs.

2. Cracks in the Porcelain

If you notice cracks developing in your toilet tank or the base, you should replace your toilet before a large crack happens and water and sewage start leaking all over your floor.

You don’t have to constantly inspect the condition of your toilet, but you should give it a quick inspection around once a year to make sure it’s still in good shape.

3. It Wobbles When You Sit on It

Your toilet should be firmly attached to the ground.

It shouldn’t shake or shift when you sit down on it. If it does, you could have a problem with the wax seal or the structure itself.

What started as small wobbles typically develop into larger shakes that move the toilet around and make leaks more possible.

4. Your Toilet Is Years Old

Toilets have come a long way.

Unfortunately, they are an afterthought for a lot of businesses and homeowners in houses and apartments.

But having a nice, modern toilet will drastically improve your quality of life! Talk to a plumber about new toilets or go online and check out some of the features newer toilets offer.

5. Toilet Bowl Stains

If you’ve got an older toilet, there could be stains in the bowl or around the outside that are impossible to remove.

It looks bad and can’t be repaired, so a replacement is the only way to get rid of them.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot more to toilet care and maintenance than just preventing clogs.

If you live in a house or an apartment and you’re worried about water use, then take a look at how your toilet is working.

Take the stress out of dealing with some of the most common plumbing issues by keeping your toilet in good condition and calling for help when necessary.

By getting expert help when required, you can get the assistance you need quickly and prevent the toilet problem from turning into an emergency.


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