Toilets are a very important necessity for any home. Unfortunately, they often encounter problems. These problems can cause them to overflow and can lead to other issues, such as an inability to flush. However, one thing is for sure - toilet problems are gross! Fortunately, if you do encounter toilet trouble, know that toilet problems are fairly easy to identity. Once you've identified them, finding a solution usually isn't that hard.
A "Flapping" Valve
If your toilet is continuously running or overflowing, a bad "flapping" valve could be to blame. Take a look inside your tank and you should see a chain attached to a weighted device. Underneath that weighted device is the toilet valve, which controls when and how much water is let into and out of the toilet tank. That valve should be firmly secured to the weighted part above it.
If it's not, and if it "flaps" easily when you touch it, you've got a bad valve on your hand. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy fix if you want to try doing it yourself. You can purchase a new valve from any hardware store and follow the directions, or if you don't want to take a chance, Lenny's Plumbing can usually fix it for you quickly and affordably.
Old and Troubled
Some toilets are set up for failure, plain and simple. If your toilet isn't flushing correctly, runs constantly, or has other problems, take a look at the manufacturing date. You can usually find this somewhere on the toilet base, often around the back at the bottom.
If that date is between 1994 and 1997, you might have a toilet that, no matter what you do, isn't going to get better. Toilets made during these years often experience problems due to an accumulation of hard water deposits. Sadly,, since this problem involves the original manufacturing of the toilet, it's not one you can fix permanently. You'll have to replace your toilet to end the annoyance.
This example serves as a good reminder to always buy high quality toilets made by a reputable manufacturer.
A Dislocated Float Arm
The tank really does hold many of your toilet's secrets! If you're having trouble, check to see if the float arm- literally a long, metallic device that floats in the toilet bowl- is pointed at a downward angle. If it is, it's probably become dislocated from its correct position, a common problem as a toilet ages.
Before you give up on your toilet, experiment with gently moving the float arm upwards at an angle. Check the water level each time you shift the arm, and once it reaches the correct depth and/or your toilet starts working properly, you'll know you've solved this small but annoying issue.
As you can see, there are many troubleshooting techniques you can try when your toilet doesn't work. However, if you ever find yourself with a problem you can't solve, call a professional plumber for help!