10 Toilet Problems You Should Never Ignore

6 min read

Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away–it just makes it worse! That’s especially true when it comes to plumbing problems, which could cost you thousands of dollars if you choose to ignore them. Here are ten toilet problems you should NEVER ignore!

10. Clogged Toilet

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know anyone who would ignore a clogged toilet, especially when the problem is so easy to solve. But, if left unresolved, a clogged toilet can lead to some big problems. Not only are clogged toilets an inconvenience (since you can’t use or flush the toilet until it’s unclogged), they’re also messy and unsanitary. And, depending on the cause of the clog, it could lead to costly repairs. For example, if your home uses a septic tank, the clog could be caused by an obstructed leach line. If ignored, the whole system could back up.

SOLUTION: Reach for a plunger if it’s a simple clog (e.g. excessive toilet paper). If it’s anything more serious, call a plumber.

9. Running Toilet

Toilet Tank
Source: Wikimedia Commons By MTSRider18 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

A constantly running toilet can mean a number of things. It could be that the chain is blocking the flapper. Or, it could be that flapper doesn’t seal due to sediment build-up. It could also be that the flapper is worn and you need to replace it. Either way, a toilet that constantly runs can use about 26 gallons of water a day and run up your water bill.

-Remove the tank lid and check to see if the chain is preventing the flapper from sealing.
-Replace the flapper valve. They only cost a few bucks and are fairly easy to replace.

8. Sluggish Toilet

Slow Sign
Source: Pixabay

A sluggish toilet could mean that the rinse holes under the rim are clogged with mineral deposits. If you happen to notice that your shower is also draining slowly, you could have a partial obstruction in your main sewer line. If not addressed, the partially obstructed line will become completely obstructed.

SOLUTION: If it’s clogged with mineral deposits, use a mirror and coat hanger to clean out the rinse holes. The purpose of the mirror is to help you see if the holes are clogged. If it’s a partial obstruction that’s causing the problem, you’ll need to call a plumber.

7. Whistling Toilet

Whistling Kettle
Source: Pixabay

If your toilet whistles, you more than likely have a faulty fill valve due to deteriorated parts. NOTE: A faulty fill valve can cause vibrations and other odd noises, too.

SOLUTION: You can adjust the fill valve, and that’ll stop the whistling for now. But, if the valve is faulty, it’ll need to be replaced sooner rather than later. If not, you could end up wasting tons of water, which, depending on your situation, could lead to a high water bill. If you have no idea what you’re doing, get a professional to replace the fill valve. One little mistake could end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs.

6. Phantom Flushing

Flushing Toilet
Source: Wikimedia Commons By SuSanA Secretariat [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

If your toilet flushes on its own, you’ve got a case of phantom flushing. Okay, so it’s not really flushing all by itself–but it sounds like it is. Basically, a phantom flush is a leaking toilet tank that automatically refills with water. And, what’s worse is that it can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day.

SOLUTION: Replace the flapper. It’s likely old and worn. As it deteriorates over time, it allows water to flow from the tank to the bowl even when the toilet hasn’t been flushed by anyone.

5. Rocking Toilet

Broken Toilet
Source: Wikimedia Commons By BrokenSphere [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Sitting on a toilet that rocks back and forth is no fun. It can also trap foul odors in your bathroom, plus it can lead to leaks, which can lead to major repairs. To solve this problem, you have to first know what’s causing it. According to The Pink Plumber, a plumbing service in Atlanta, St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL, there could be a number of things causing your rocking toilet, including broken flange bolts, a broken flange, deteriorating wax ring, or an uneven/sagging floor.

-Replace broken flange bolts.
-Replace the toilet flange.
-Contact your plumber if the wax ring has deteriorated. If it has, you’ll notice a discoloration around the base of the toilet.
-Contact a local carpenter to address uneven or sagging floors.

4. Foul Odors

Source: Pixabay

As we just mentioned, a loose toilet can trap foul odors in your bathroom. But, don’t think that just because you smell something foul, that it just means you have an uncaulked toilet. It could be something even more serious–like a broken vent or sewer pipe under your house. And, ignoring it can lead to major problems with your home’s foundation. Plus, it can also cause environmental issues.

SOLUTION: Call a plumber any time you smell a foul odor in your bathroom–unless of course there’s an odor because someone just used it, lol!

3. Sweating Toilet

Source: Pixabay

Those of us who live on the East Coast or in the Deep South can relate to this. On a really hot day, you’ve probably noticed that both you and your toilet tank are sweating. Well, it’s not actually sweat–it’s condensation that forms on the outside of the tank in homes located in humid regions. To be quite honest, I’d never even considered that a sweating toilet could result in costly damage, but it can. That’s because when the condensation drips down onto the floor, not only does it make a mess, it could actually cause your floor to rot out!

SOLUTION: Get an insulated toilet tank. The insulation keeps them from sweating.

2. Bubbling Toilet

Source: Pixabay

If your toilet has air bubbles or makes a gurgling sound, it’s likely that your toilet is improperly vented. This is the result of negative air pressure somewhere in the drain system or somewhere in your home’s vent stack. It could be something as simple as an appliance, like a washing machine for example, competing with your toilet for air. Or, it could be something more complex, like a broken or collapsed sewer line. If left untreated, waste could back up into your toilet, tub, or shower.

SOLUTION: Depending on the severity of the problem, you may have to call in a professional. If not, there are steps you can take to remedy the problem yourself, including plunging the toilet (after you’ve sealed off any nearby sink, shower and tub drains), snaking the drain, inserting a manual toilet auger to cut through clogs, and checking and clearing the vent stack.

10. Broken Shut Off Valves

Shut Off Valve
Source: Wikimedia Commons By BrokenSphere [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t even give your toilet’s shut off valves a second thought–that is until you actually need to shut off the water, say, for example, if you flush the toilet and it starts to overflow. And, with all that water flowing all over the place, you’re sure to run up your repair bill. But, even if the toilet doesn’t overflow, broken shut off valves can still be costly. According to Express Sewer & Drain, a plumbing company in California, broken shut off valves can produce steady leaks that waste tons of water each month.

SOLUTION: Replace the broken valves.


Have you ever been guilty of ignoring important plumbing problems? Tell us how it turned out.