Dealing with a clogged or leaky toilet once in a while can be a hassle and pain. But if your toilet clogs up, leaks, and overflows repeatedly, even after you use a plunger or a plumbing snake to unblock it, take drastic steps to solve the problem. Your clogged or leaky toilet can potentially trigger problems in your entire plumbing system, including the release of toxic odors. If pipes burst, collapse, or degrade from pressure, you may need to replace them. Here are two possible reasons for your clogged or leaky toilet and what you can do to fix them.
Your Toilet Has Lost Its Seal and Requires Leveling
The water and waste from your toilet should flow downward to enter the sewage system on your property. Sometimes, toilets become unlevel, which changes the direction of how wastewater flows out of them. The contaminated water might become stagnant in the pipes and fixtures that support your toilet, and this keeps solid waste from moving through them.
Additionally, your toilet bowl might rock or wobble whenever you sit on it. The rocking motion can loosen up the seals around the base of the toilet or around the drain pipes that transport and empty waste. Water containing pathogens, such as bacteria, feces, and parasites, can leak out of the toilet's base and spread throughout your bathroom.
To see whether your toilet is off balance, discontinue the toilet's water supply at the stop valve found at the back of the bowl. Brace the toilet with your hands and then gently move it. If the movement is slight, you most likely need to reseal the gasket that holds the base in place. Placing a thin line of gasket seal around the base and tightening the toilet's bolts solves this issue.
However, if you can clearly see the opening of the pipe beneath the base when you move the toilet, you'll need to replace the closet flange.
The Closet Flange Is Damaged
The closet flange is a circular, plastic, or metal device that resembles a disc. The flange sits directly over the opening of the soil pipe, which directs wastewater away from the toilet bowl after each flush. Sometimes, the flange loosens up, degrades, or breaks, and this prevents wastewater from moving past the flange properly. Waste-filled water can potentially leak from the base of the toilet or overflow the toilet bowl's rim.
Solid waste may even back up into the soil pipe, closet bend, and sewer line connected to the flange. The waste releases hazardous sewer odors that can irritate your respiratory system as well as make your home feel unclean. If the problems persist, you might experience a sewer-line leak in your yard.
To prevent the issues above, you'll need to purchase a flange in the same size and diameter as the original piece. Place newspaper or another absorbent material around the base of the toilet and on the bathroom's flooring before you attempt to replace the closet flange. If the toilet bowl contains waste, try to flush the toilet manually with a plunger or reduce the clog with a plumbing snake. If the waste doesn't go down, stop and contact a plumber for further assistance. You don't want to handle waste or allow it to contaminate your bathroom.
If the waste does empty from the toilet bowl, you can go ahead and replace the flange. After you replace the flange and reposition the toilet's base to the flooring, return the water supply's access to the toilet. Flush the toilet once and then wait to see whether the water goes down properly. If the water does, you will have solved the problem.
If the toilet doesn't flush or overflows the rim, schedule an appointment with your local plumber.