It is possible to improve your toilet performance.
And you will ultimately need to do so, since all man made items are subject to breakdown – including your toilets.
Here, we offer you simple methods of “tuning up” your toilet to boost performance.
Ensure you have on some latex gloves before you commence.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 1
Take out the lid of the tank.
Place the lid of the tank somewhere safe to protect it against accidental breakage.
You must handle the tank lid with extra care being that it is fragile and heavy, as well as slippery at times.
The toilet water supply must be turned off whenever a tank component is to be repaired or replaced.
There is usually a shut-off valve situated on the floor or wall at the left side of the back of the toilet.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 2
Check the flush lever of the toilet tank.
Inspect the tank to ensure the flush lever or trip lever is secured tightly to the tank wall.
If this is not the case, then tighten the nut from within the tank.
When the flush lever of your tank is situated at the front left side of the toilet, its base and matching nut are typically left-handed threads which tighten in opposing direction from regular nuts.
(We recommend that this nut be tightened by hand so as not to crack your porcelain).
If the flush lever of the tank is situated at the right side, then its base and matching nut are typically a regular right-hand thread.
(We recommend that this nut be tightened by hand so as not to crack your porcelain).
Ensure that all the flush lever components are functioning correctly.
The internal rod has to be straight (unless so manufactured) and joined to the base.
If the flush lever seems bad, then you may have to replace it with a fresh flush lever assembly.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 3
Put food coloring in the tank. Wait 15-20 minutes.
This simple method of water leakage detection is very efficient for leakages from the tank.
When the water in the bowl is colored same as that in the tank, then there is a leakage from the tank into the bowl.
If this is so, then it is possible that the flush valve has worn out, or maybe the flapper, seat disc or tank ball should be replaced.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 4
Empty the water contained in the tank.
To check these components, you have to remove water contained in the tank.
You can either flush it down the toilet or use a bucket and small cup to remove it to be used for watering your plants.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 5
Inspect your flapper, seat disc, seal or tank ball.
Recently, the most common seal types used on flush valves are flappers.
They are typically mounted on two posts close to the bottom of the overflow hose.
It's arms turn around the post and it pivots in an upward direction whenever the attached tank lever is tripped or pushed to allow water flow into the bowl from the tank.
Before the use of flapper in plumbing, older toilets made use of tank balls.
These are connected to the flush lever by thin rods made of brass, with one threading into it.
The thin rods have to be carefully kept on track alongside the tank ball to settle right back on the flush valve.
These toilets make use of seat discs connected to an actuator attached to the flush lever with a chain.
The actuator cylinder stores water in counter-balance so as to ensure the seat disc stays up and off the rim of the flush valve whenever the flush lever is triggered.
This cylinder has a tiny hole allowing the water drain slowly until it cannot stay up and has to close so as to seal the rim of the flush valve.
Most of these toilets make use of a seal beneath the flush valve, detached from the float cylinder.
As the tank lever is pushed, the float cylinder comes off the seal and the trapped air within the cylinder allows it to stay afloat till there is low water and it drops on the seal.
If you hear leakage of water outside the tank, then press the flapper. If the leakage stops, then you need to replace the flapper.
Fully inspect the flapper, seat disc, or tank ball for any indication of material weakness or wear.
Check under the flapper for indications of wear.
Some tank balls and flappers may seem alright from the top, yet under it may be weakened and cause the premature escape of air from the flapper pocket.
The air contained in the flapper pocket is to keep it buoyant and floating as water leaves the tank via the flush valve.
As water leaves the tank, the tank ball or flapper cannot float and seals onto the flush valve rim.
Any compromise in the tank ball or flapper air pocket may lead to untimely closing of the tank ball or flapper, and cause a partial flush of the bowl.
After touching the tank ball, seat disc or flapper, if you have any flapper material on your gloves or fingers then the flapper, seat disc or tank ball needs to be replaced being that it is disintegrating and deteriorating.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 6
Inspect the flush valve.
With latex gloves on, move the tank ball, seat disc or flapper upwards and inspect the surface of the flush valve rim where the tank ball, seat disc or flapper forms the seal to retain the tank water.
The rim ought to be smooth without any rough spots, chips or erosion signs. Any failures on the rim surface can let water seep into the bowl without you knowing.
This then results in the activation of the fill valve as soon as much water has left the tank.
If the flush valve rim is smooth and clean but water still leaks into the bowl, it is likely that the tank ball, seat disc or flapper is the problem.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 7
Inspect the flush lever strap or chain.
A flapper is typically connected to the arm of the flush lever by a strap or chain.
You need to ensure that this strap or chain is not too tight or to loose.
If too tight, it is likely the flapper would not seat rightly on the rim of the flush valve which allows water empty into the bowl.
When too loose, on the other hand, it may be difficult for the flapper to lift high sufficiently to remain open as it should be, therefore closing prematurely and resulting in a partial flush of the bowl.
Check that the flapper is working properly then remove any excess strap or chain.
This excess could restrict the flapper and suspend it to a point where it may not even close.
The result will cause the continuous flow of water into the bowl, leaving open the fill valve while water wastes.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 8
With the water off, inspect the bowl.
Most times, the toilet bowl is ignored. As time passes, the holes in the toilet bowl rim can become clogged as a result of deposits of hard water or dirt or sediments in the water.
This may result in poor flushing of the bowl from reduced water flowing in.
A wire coat hanger of short length can be used to push into the holes of the toilet bowl rim to rid them of any lime buildup or other debris.
You can also insert a funnel in the overflow hose and pour in white vinegar into the passageway of the rim, and allow it for some minutes.
The occasional treatment with white vinegar is effective in keeping the toilet rim holes buildup free.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 9
Turn on the water supply.
In order to check the fill valve, the shut-off valve must be turned back on to operate the fill valve.
As the tank gets filled with water, check if the float is moving upwards and shuts the water at the right line level.
This line level is usually indicated on the overflow hose or on the tank inner body.
If you cannot clearly identify this line, then it is acceptable to adjust the water level below the top of the overflow hose by 1 inch.
Ensure that there is no water leakages from the fill valve parts, such as water spurting out from the cap or plunger.
If this happens, then you may need to replace the internal components, or dirt may have been built up in the diaphragm or plunger which has to be cleaned.
When the fill valve is turned off by the float but the water level is short, then you need to adjust the float components.
It is critical to achieve the right tank water level so that the toilet bowl can be totally flushed.
Make adjustments to the float until the water is at the line level.
The design of many toilets is such that it is at optimum function when water in the tank is at the manufacturer’s predetermined line level.
Adjusting this level too high may give rise to wastages in water if it leaks over and into the overflow hose.
Improving Toilet Performance: Step 10
Observe the refill hose. It should be positioned to get water into the overflow hose to refill the bowl as the fill valve refills the tank.
Many recent fill valves make use of a cylinder-type float or something similar which moves up and down the shaft of the fill valve.
These are designed not to have the refill hose inserted in the overflow hose.
Instead, they use a “clip” on the refill hose which connects to the overflow hose top, providing the refill hose with an air gap.
Without this clip, tank water can siphon into the bowl and cause the continuous on and off or running of the fill valve.
Many fill valves which make use of a float ball at a brass rod end can have the refill hose inserted into the overflow hose, since the fill valve performance is not affected and water is not siphoned from the tank.
Check out our Toilet Buying Guide