Getting to the Basics: Remodeling Projects

How To Troubleshoot A Low-Flow Toilet

by Jill Jenkins

No matter where you live, using too much water in the home is always going to be an issue. This is why low-flow toilets were introduced a few decades ago. They are now used in most homes, and new toilet installations must use them. Low-flow toilets use about half the water to flush than what toilets used to use. When you are troubleshooting toilet problems, you will need to find out first if it is a low-flow toilet. If so, these tips can help you figure out what the problem is.

Check the Flapper Chain

To troubleshoot the problem, begin by checking the flapper chain. Take the lid off the toilet tank, then locate the flapper, which is the small plastic piece that helps your toilet to flush. It will be attached to a chain that is a few inches long. Take hold of the chain and see if it has any tension. If it feels loose, then the flapper is not opening enough to allow water to flush completely. In this case, you probably just need to tighten the chain or replace it.

Look at the Tank Level

If your toilet is not flushing all the way, check the tank level. With the tank lid still off, look at the water level when the fill valve shuts off. You want the level to be about an inch underneath the opening of the overflow tube. You can adjust the float in order to raise the level if it doesn't look high enough. To adjust the float, screw the ball in a clockwise direction. Now try flushing the toilet again and see if the water empties.

Remove Blockages

Low-flow toilets are great at conserving water, but they tend to have more difficulty with blockages. Less water and less pressure being used for flushes means less foreign materials can be flushed. Get out your plunger and try plunging the toilet a few times to see if the water goes down. If it went down, flush the toilet and check to see if the water is draining at a reasonable level. If not, there is either not a blockage, or you need a toilet auger to get it.

These are the basic DIY troubleshooting tips you can use for figuring out what is wrong with your low-flow toilet. If it still not working properly, contact a professional plumber like C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning to assess the situation.