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Four Common Toilet Troubles


toilet1If you have a busy household and your toilet malfunctions, big problems can come up – literally. Let’s look at a few things that could cause it to act differently, and what the solution might be.

1. You see a leak at the base of the toilet when you flush it.

Most likely, the wax gasket between the drain pipe flange and the toilet should be replaced. This requires pulling up the toilet, so make sure to hire a plumber who can get in and out quickly so your family can get back to their business.

2. There’s a ghost flushing your toilet. (This always freaks the kids out.)

If you hear the water start to run for a few seconds when no one is using it, there’s probably a flapper that is leaking or poorly fitted, or a refill tube that’s too long. A corroded or worn flapper seat will cause water to trickle from the tank into the toilet bowl. After an hour or so of this, the water level in the tank drops, causing the fill valve to kick on. If the water line that runs from the base of the fill valve to the inside of an overflow tube that’s too long, this can also happen. New fill valves come with a special clip that holds the tip of the water line up so the water will stay in the tank. A knowledgeable plumber can let you know which valves will work best for your toilet.

3. Your toilet doesn’t finish its flush.

When the flapper valve gets waterlogged over time, it can flop down too quickly. Or, the chain running from the flapper valve to the flush handle could be too tight. If this is the case, you can adjust the chain one link at a time to the right fit.

Another solution is that the water level in the tank could be too low. You could modify the fill valve so extra water enters the tank, but if you have an older low flush toilet, it probably just doesn’t have enough power to flush the bowl fully. Consult a good plumber for suggestions on a newer model.

4. The water level in the toilet bowl keeps going down.

When you flush, the water in the bowl rises. If it falls back down, that’s a problem. The toilet could be partially clogged, causing a siphon and pulling water from the bowl. Or much worse, there could be a crack or defect within the colon of the toilet, which means it’s time for a new toilet.


A toilet is something your family can’t live without. If it’s not working properly, give Putman Plumbing a call at 301-371-4395.