Toilets are one of the most essential fixtures in any household. When they work correctly, we barely notice them. However, when issues arise, they can become a major inconvenience. Fortunately, many common toilet problems can be fixed without the need for professional help. Here’s a guide to troubleshooting toilet issues and how to fix them.

1. The Constantly Running Toilet

A toilet that runs constantly can be a significant annoyance and waste of water. This issue is often due to a faulty flapper, the rubber valve at the bottom of the tank that seals water inside.


  1. Check the Flapper: Lift the toilet tank lid and inspect the flapper. If it’s worn or damaged, it won’t create a proper seal.
  2. Replace the Flapper: Turn off the water supply, flush the toilet to empty the tank, and replace the old flapper with a new one. Make sure it fits properly and creates a good seal.

2. Weak or Partial Flush

A weak or partial flush is often caused by low water levels in the tank or a clogged rim jet.


  1. Check the Water Level: Ensure the water level in the tank is about an inch below the top of the overflow tube. Adjust the fill valve if necessary.
  2. Clean the Rim Jets: Use a wire or a small brush to clear any debris from the holes around the rim of the toilet bowl.

3. Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is one of the most common issues and can usually be fixed with a plunger.


  1. Use a Plunger: Position the plunger over the toilet drain and push down firmly, then pull up slightly. Repeat this motion several times to create a suction that will help dislodge the clog.
  2. Use a Toilet Auger: If the plunger doesn’t work, try a toilet auger. Insert the auger into the toilet drain and turn the handle to break up or retrieve the clog.

4. Leaking Toilet Base

If water pools around the base of the toilet, it could indicate a leaking wax ring seal.


  1. Check for Tight Bolts: Ensure the bolts that secure the toilet to the floor are tight.
  2. Replace the Wax Ring: If tightening the bolts doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to replace the wax ring. Turn off the water supply, disconnect the water line, and remove the toilet. Replace the old wax ring with a new one and reassemble the toilet.

5. Phantom Flushes

Phantom flushes occur when your toilet runs briefly for no apparent reason, often due to a slow leak from the tank into the bowl.


  1. Check the Flapper: Inspect the flapper for wear and replace it if necessary.
  2. Inspect the Fill Valve: Make sure the fill valve is working correctly and adjust the water level if needed.

6. Slow-Filling Tank

A slow-filling tank can be frustrating and may be caused by a partially closed shut-off valve or a clogged fill valve.


  1. Check the Shut-Off Valve: Ensure the shut-off valve is fully open.
  2. Clean the Fill Valve: Turn off the water supply, remove the fill valve cap, and flush out debris.

7. Loose Toilet Seat

A wobbly toilet seat can be uncomfortable and is usually an easy fix.


  1. Tighten the Bolts: Locate the bolts at the back of the toilet seat and tighten them with a screwdriver. If the bolts are stripped, replace them with new ones.

8. Gurgling Toilet

A gurgling toilet can indicate a blockage in the vent pipe or the main sewer line.


  1. Clear the Vent Pipe: Check the roof vent for obstructions like leaves or bird nests and clear them out.
  2. Call a Professional: When vent pipe cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, you should reach out to an emergency plumber in Salt Lakefor a thorough inspection and sewer line clearing.


Maintaining a properly functioning toilet is crucial for a comfortable and efficient home. Understanding these common toilet problems and knowing how to fix them can save time and money while keeping your bathroom in good working order. If you encounter an issue that seems too complex or your repairs aren’t working, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

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