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Solving Terrifying Toilet Troubles


From phantom flushes to the dreaded clog, toilets are susceptible to several scary issues. While some problems can be solved with simple solutions, others will likely require a plumber to fix. Read on to learn more about common issues and when to call for backup.  

Phantom Flushes

A toilet that refills intermittently as though someone flushed it is a common issue that can inflate your water bill if left unaddressed. The problem, called a "phantom flush," is usually caused by a bad flapper, which creates a slow leak from the tank to the toilet bowl. Luckily, replacing the flapper seat is simple: drain both the tank and the bowl, inspect the flapper seat, and buy a new one if it's worn out. Once the flapper is readjusted or replaced, the phantom flush should disappear.

Lurking Leaks

Standard toilets feature several seals which are prone to leaks. Be sure to identify exactly which seal the leak is coming from before you attempt to tighten or replace it. The seal between the tank and the bowl is the most important and will release the most water when misfunctioning. To fix it, drain the entire tank and flip it upside down before replacing the seal. For leaks in smaller seals, tightening nuts and bolts will usually solve the problem. A faulty base seal could cause the scariest damage: a rotted floor. If you spot this leak, you may be tempted to caulk around the base of the toilet. However, this actually traps the water, accelerating the damage to your floor. You will have to completely remove your toilet and replace the wax seal. Still leaking? Call a plumber and save your bathroom floor while you can.

Serious Clogs

Before you grab the plunger, check the water level in your toilet. If the water is scarce or completely drained, use a gallon of hot water and slowly pour it into the bowl. This will help break up a bad clog. Then, plunge slowly, but forcefully in order to loosen the obstruction. If, by this point, your clog is still causing issues, you'll likely need to call a plumber. A professional can use an electric auger tool to unclog once and for all.

If you're feeling spooked by these plumbing problems or others, give David Gray Plumbing a call at (904) 605-8190 or visit