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5 Causes Of A Malfunctioning Toilet And How To Fix Them

Is your toilet giving you trouble? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many homeowners encounter common toilet problems that can be easily fixed with a little know-how.

By understanding these common issues, you’ll be able to identify the root cause behind your toilet troubles. From clogged drains to faulty flappers, we’ll cover it all. We will also emphasize the importance of promptly addressing these problems to prevent further damage and costly repairs down the line.

So, if you’re tired of dealing with a finicky flush or a constantly running toilet, read on. Our expert tips and step-by-step instructions will empower you to tackle these common toilet problems head-on and restore peace in your bathroom.

Cause #1: Toilet Clogs


Clear A Clogged Toilet Using A Plunger

When your toilet is clogged, the first line of defense is a trusty plunger. To clear the clog, place the rubber end of the plunger over the drain hole in the bottom of your toilet bowl. Make sure there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the rubber part. Then, vigorously push and pull on the handle to create suction and pressure that can dislodge the clog.

Use A Plumbing Snake To Remove Stubborn Clogs

If plunging doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to bring out the big guns—a plumbing snake. Also known as an auger, this tool allows you to reach deeper into your toilet’s plumbing system to break up tough clogs. Insert one end of the snake into the drain opening and turn the handle clockwise while pushing forward. This action will help dislodge any blockages in your pipes.

Try Natural Remedies Like Baking Soda And Vinegar For Minor Clogs

For minor toilet clogs caused by organic matter or buildup, you can try using natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar. Start by pouring about a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by an equal amount of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the fizzing action to break down the clog. Then, flush the toilet to see if the clog has cleared.

Learn When It’s Necessary To Call A Professional Plumber

While many toilet clogs can be resolved with DIY methods, there are instances where it’s best to call in a professional plumber. If you’ve tried plunging, using a snake, or natural remedies without success, it could indicate a more significant issue within your plumbing system. If you notice recurring or frequent toilet clogs, it’s wise to seek professional assistance to identify and address any underlying problems.

Remember that maintaining good habits like avoiding flushing non-flushable items and regular cleaning can help prevent future toilet clogs. However, if you do encounter a malfunctioning toilet due to a stubborn clog, don’t panic! Try these easy fixes first before considering calling in the professionals.

Cause #2: Leaking Toilet At The Base

If you’ve noticed water pooling around the base of your toilet, you likely have a leaking toilet. A leaking toilet can lead to water damage, unpleasant odors, and an overall messy situation.

Identify Potential Causes Of A Leaking Toilet At The Base

There can be several reasons why your toilet is leaking at the base. It’s important to identify the cause before attempting any repairs. Here are some common culprits:

  1. Worn-out Wax Ring: The wax ring seals the connection between the toilet flange and the base of the toilet. Over time, this ring can deteriorate or become misaligned, causing leaks.
  2. Loose Bolts: The bolts securing your toilet to the floor may become loose over time due to regular usage or improper installation. This can create gaps between the base and flange, resulting in leaks.
  3. Cracked Toilet Base: If there is a crack in your toilet’s base, water can seep through and leak onto your bathroom floor.
  4. Faulty Sealant: In some cases, inadequate or deteriorated waterproof sealant around the base of your toilet can allow water to escape.

Check If The Wax Ring Needs Replacement Or Readjustment

To fix a leaking toilet at the base caused by a worn-out wax ring:

  1. Turn off your water supply by shutting off the valve behind or beneath your toilet.
  2. Empty any remaining water from the tank and bowl using a sponge or towel.
  3. Remove any bolts securing your toilet to its flange using an adjustable wrench.
  4. Lift on your toilet carefully and inspect both sides of the wax ring for damage or misalignment.
  5. If necessary, replace the wax ring with a new one or readjust it to ensure a proper seal.

Tighten Loose Bolts To Fix Leaks Around The Base

If loose bolts are causing leaks around the base of your toilet:

  1. Turn off the water supply and empty the tank and bowl as mentioned earlier.
  2. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the bolts on both sides of your toilet’s base, ensuring they are snug but not over-tightened.
  3. Check for any remaining leaks after tightening the bolts. If leaks persist, you may need to replace the wax ring or consider other solutions.

Consider Using Waterproof Sealants As An Additional Solution

In some cases, applying waterproof sealant can provide an extra layer of protection against leaks:

  1. Ensure that your toilet is clean and dry before applying sealant.
  2. Apply a generous bead of waterproof sealant around the base of your toilet, covering any gaps or cracks.
  3. Smooth out the sealant using a caulk smoothing tool or your finger for a neat finish.
  4. Allow sufficient time for the sealant to dry before turning on the water supply and using your toilet again.

Remember, if you’re unsure about any repairs or if leaks persist despite your efforts, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Cause #3: Worn Flapper Valve

A worn flapper valve can be one of the main culprits behind a malfunctioning toilet. The flapper valve is responsible for controlling the flow of water from the tank into the bowl during a flush. Over time, this essential component can become worn out or damaged, leading to various issues such as constant running or inadequate flushing.

Understand How A Worn Flapper Valve Can Cause Toilet Issues

When the flapper valve wears out, it may not create a proper seal when closed. This can result in water continuously leaking from the tank into the bowl, causing your toilet to run constantly. If the flapper doesn’t lift fully or quickly enough during a flush, it can lead to weak or incomplete flushing.

Adjust Or Replace The Flapper Chain For Proper Functioning

One common problem with flappers is an improperly adjusted chain. If the chain connecting the flapper to the flush handle is too loose or too tight, it can prevent proper operation. To fix this issue, you can adjust the length of the chain by either tightening or loosening it until there is just enough slack for smooth movement.

Clean Mineral Deposits From The Flapper Valve For Better Performance

Mineral deposits from hard water can accumulate on the surface of the flapper valve over time, affecting its functionality. These deposits can cause stiffness and hinder proper sealing. To address this issue, you can clean the flapper valve by soaking it in vinegar overnight to dissolve mineral buildup. Gently scrubbing with a soft brush will help remove any remaining residue.

Replace The Entire Flapper Assembly If Necessary

If adjusting and cleaning doesn’t solve your toilet problems, it may be necessary to replace the entire flapper assembly. This involves removing and replacing both the flapper valve and its seat within your toilet tank. It’s important to choose the correct replacement flapper that matches your toilet model. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure a proper installation.

Cause #4: Toilet Tank Issues

Toilet troubles got you down? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Let’s start by tackling those pesky toilet tank issues.

Troubleshoot Problems With A Loose Or Tangled Chain In The Tank.

Sometimes, the chain inside your toilet tank can become loose or tangled, causing all sorts of havoc. To fix this issue:

  • Lift the lid of the toilet tank.
  • Take a look at the chain connected to the flush handle.
  • Make sure it’s not too loose or twisted up.
  • Adjust the length of the chain if needed so that it has just enough slack to allow for smooth flushing.

Make Sure That The Flush Handle Is Properly Aligned And Adjusted For Smooth Operation.

If your toilet handle feels wobbly or doesn’t flush properly, it may be misaligned or in need of adjustment. Here’s what you can do:

  • Remove the tank lid and take a peek inside.
  • Check if the lift arm (the metal rod connected to the handle) is straight and securely attached.
  • Ensure that it aligns with the flapper valve and moves freely without any obstructions.
  • If necessary, adjust the position of the lift arm so that it properly activates the flushing mechanism when you press down on the handle.

Learn How To Fix Water Running Continuously Into The Bowl By Adjusting Float Levels In The Tank.

Is your toilet constantly running water into the bowl? This can lead to wasted water and higher bills. Here’s how you can fix it:

  1. Open up your toilet tank by removing its lid.
  2. Locate the fill valve (usually on one side of the tank) with an adjustable float attached to it.
  3. Depending on your model, either adjust a screw on top of the fill valve or slide the float up or down to change the water level.
  4. Experiment with different adjustments until you find a position that stops the continuous flow of water into the bowl.

Detect Cracks Or Leaks In The Tank That May Require Repair Or Replacement.

If your toilet tank has cracks or leaks, it’s essential to address them promptly to prevent further damage. Here’s what you should do:

  • Inspect the tank carefully for any visible cracks, especially around the bottom and sides.
  • Look for signs of water pooling on the floor near the base of the toilet.
  • If you spot any cracks or detect leaks, it may be necessary to replace your toilet tank entirely or seek professional help for repairs.

Remember, keeping your toilet in good working condition not only ensures convenience but also helps conserve water and avoid costly repairs. By checking and adjusting the chain and handle, fixing float levels, and addressing tank cracks or leaks, you’ll be well on your way to a properly functioning toilet!

Cause #5: Water Pooling And Continuous Running

Water problems can be a major headache. Let’s dive into some common causes of water pooling and continuous running in toilets, and how you can fix them.

Pooling Water Around The Toilet Base

If you notice water pooling around the base of your toilet after flushing, it could indicate an issue with the seals or gaskets. These components create a watertight seal between the toilet and the floor. Over time, they may become worn out or misaligned, causing leaks.

To fix this problem:

  1. Turn off the water supply valve located near the base of your toilet.
  2. Remove any excess water from the tank using a sponge or towel.
  3. Unscrew the bolts securing the toilet to the floor.
  4. Carefully lift the toilet and inspect the seals and gaskets for damage or misalignment.
  5. Replace any faulty seals or gaskets with new ones.
  6. Place the toilet back in position, ensuring a proper seal with fresh wax rings.
  7. Tighten the bolts securely but not excessively to avoid damaging the porcelain.

Continuous Running Water

A constantly running toilet is not only annoying but can also lead to wasted water and higher bills. The most common cause of this issue is a faulty fill valve, which controls the flow of water into your tank.

To troubleshoot continuous running water:

  1. Lift off the lid of your toilet tank.
  2. Locate the fill valve, usually on one side of the tank.
  3. Check if there are any visible signs of damage or debris clogging it.
  4. Clean out any sediment or debris that may be blocking proper valve function.
  5. If cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, consider adjusting or replacing the fill valve depending on its severity.

Leaking Water From Tank To Bowl

Another frustrating issue is when you hear water continuously leaking from the tank into the bowl. This is often caused by a faulty flapper valve, which is responsible for sealing off the tank and allowing water to flow into the bowl during flushing.

To fix this problem:

  1. Turn off the water supply valve.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Examine the flapper valve for any signs of wear or damage.
  4. Replace the old flapper valve with a new one, ensuring a proper seal.
  5. Adjust the chain length connecting the flush handle to ensure proper flapper operation.

Adjusting Water Levels

Adjusting your toilet’s water level can help resolve various water-related problems. If you experience issues like overflowing, condensation, or bubbling in your toilet, adjusting the water level might be necessary.

To adjust the water level:

  1. Remove the lid of your toilet tank.
  2. Locate the float cup or ball attached to an arm inside your tank.
  3. Gently bend or adjust this arm to raise or lower the float cup/ball.
  4. Raising it will increase the water level while lowering it will decrease it.
  5. Test flushes after each adjustment until you find a satisfactory level that resolves your specific issues.

By troubleshooting these common causes of water problems in toilets and following these steps for repair and adjustment, you can keep your toilet functioning properly and potentially save on your water bill too!


In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the top five causes of a malfunctioning toilet and provided you with step-by-step solutions to fix them. From troubleshooting toilet clogs to addressing leaking toilets at the base, we’ve covered it all. We’ve also discussed how to fix a worn flapper valve, check for toilet tank issues, and troubleshoot water pooling and continuous running problems. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently tackle any toilet malfunction that comes your way.

To ensure your success in fixing your malfunctioning toilet, remember to follow these steps carefully and pay attention to detail. By doing so, you’ll be able to save time and money by avoiding unnecessary plumber visits. Remember that regular maintenance is crucial in preventing future issues with your toilet. Stay proactive by implementing these fixes and performing routine checks on your plumbing system.

Looking For A Reliable Malfunctioning Toilet Repair Team?

Look no further than Garcia Plumbing and Home Restoration! We are your go-to experts for all your toilet and plumbing needs. Our licensed and insured team delivers top-notch services that will leave you impressed.

We cover it all, from toilet repairs and replacements to clog removal and water-efficient upgrades. We’re also experts in bathroom mold remediation and plumbing-related damage repair. No matter the issue, we have the skills to restore your bathroom to its former glory.

At Garcia Plumbing and Home Restoration, our commitment is unwavering. We provide exceptional service to homeowners throughout Contra Costa County and beyond. With satisfied repeat customers and glowing referrals, we take immense pride in our quality workmanship.

Don’t hesitate! Contact us today, and let us be your trusted partner in fixing your malfunctioning toilet. Experience the difference our dedicated team can make in bringing your bathroom back to life!

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