Unpleasant Plumbing JobA clogged toilet is always an unsightly nuisance that can turn into a much bigger pain if your toilet bowl begins overflowing. Mitigate any water damage and related clean up and unclog your toilet with the use of a properly prepared plunger and effective plunging procedures.

Choose your plunger wisely. Ideally, try to secure a funnel-cup plunger for your foray into toilet bowl repair. These plungers feature an added extension, or flange, at the bottom of their plunging cups that makes them ideal for unclogging toilets. However, sometimes you just have to “love the one you’re with”, so if you lack a funnel-cup plunger, don’t despair. You should still be able to successfully unclog your toilet.

Prep your plunger before use. If your plunger is new or hasn’t been used lately, it will surely have stiffened up since your last use, and stiff plungers are not as adept at unclogging your toilet. Take your plunger and submerge it in hot water for a minute or two before tackling the toilet. This will increase plunger flexibility.
Create a solid seal with your plunger. Push down firmly with the plunger after inserting it over the toilet’s water exit hole, and then pull up just as firmly. Repeat these motion several times vigorously before removing the plunger and attempting to flush the toilet.

Close the flapper if your plunging efforts were unsuccessful and the toilet begins to overflow. Remove the toilet’s lid if you haven’t already and locate the flapper at the bottom of the tank. It will be a round, rubber piece that is connected to the flapper chain. Place your hand on the flapper to close it. This will keep further water from entering the toilet bowl.

Repeat your plunging efforts as you did before, then flush again to check for effectiveness. Repeat the plunging and flushing procedure until your toilet properly flushes without overflowing.


A running toilet is more than a mere annoyance — it can affect your water bill, too. Here’s how to tackle this common issue.

Check the fill tube. Your toilet’s fill tube is relatively small and connects between the overflow tube and the fill valve. Its purpose is to shoot water into and down the overflow tube as the tank refills following a flush. If this tube comes unattached it won’t be able to deliver adequate water to the overflow tube and your toilet won’t be able to properly refill. Reattach the fill tube and ensure it sits about an inch above the top rim of the overflow tube.

Adjust the float. The adjustable float in your toilet tweaks the water level in your toilet’s tank. It may be ball or doughnut shaped. When your toilet’s float is either too high or too low, your toilet will run continuously due to the fill valve not shutting off, or it will simply produce a weak flush, respectively. Fix the float by twisting the screw or sliding the clip along the float ball’s rod to free it and then adjust the height of the float within the toilet’s tank as necessary, moving the float either up or down. Check the toilet’s water level after your adjustment by flushing the toilet. Repeat float adjustment as necessary.

Tweak the flapper chain. The flapper in your toilet closes when necessary to keep water from continuing to fill the bowl unnecessarily. A flapper chain that is too short will keep the flapper from closing, while a flapper chain that is adjusted to be too long will keep the flapper from opening entirely properly. Tweak the flapper chain’s linkage so that there’s just a bit of slack when the flapper is in its closed position.

Replace the fill valve. Over time, a fill valve may stop working, and this will cause the valve to fail to shut off. A fill valve that doesn’t shut off will cause the toilet to run. In this instance, be sure to close the water supply at the shutoff valve under the tank and head to your local hardware store to purchase a replacement valve. Always check with a store employee, but most fill valves will fit most toilets.

Switch out the flapper. Turn off the water to the toilet before proceeding, then remove the old flapper and take it with you to your local hardware store this time, as finding a proper flapper replacement is a bit more involved than simply plugging in a new fill valve. Ensure you’ve made note of the kind of toilet you possess before seeking aid at the hardware store in finding a new flapper. If you do not find a flapper specifically tailored for your toilet, you should be able to opt for a “Universal” flapper. If the new flapper does not keep your toilet from running, you’ll need to opt for another flapper model.

The advantages of a dual flush toilet versus a conventional toilet can be summed up concisely: Environmental impact, cost savings and upkeep.

Environmental Impact. Dual flush toilets bear their namesake because of the two (dual) setting mechanism that drives their operation. This two setting mechanism is usually a button or a lever on the toilet that allows you to flush either a low volume flush or a high volume flush. Low volume flushes are designed for liquid waste, while high volume flushes are designed for solid waste. Unlike standard toilets designed with only one flushing option, the low volume flush of dual flush toilets allows for the conservation of water when using the liquid waste setting. As such, dual flush toilets are high efficiency toilets (HET) and are in compliance with the National Energy Policy Act of 1994, using no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) compared to older toilet models that use as much as 3.5 to 5 gpf. Lower volume flushes on new dual flush toilets do not use more than 1.1 gpf.

Cost Savings. A dual flush toilet drives lower water usage in your home, thereby saving money on your monthly water bill. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 4,000 gallons of water can be saved annually in a residential household that employs dual flush toilets.

Low Upkeep. Older, “one flush” toilets simply use a pressure siphoning system to dispose of waste. Dual flush toilets are generally designed to utilize gravity to dispose of waste down a large trapway. This design typically cuts down on clogging and saves you the headache of an undesirable plunging expedition.