Hello everyone – welcome to this week’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber!”. This week, we’re going to talk about what you should and shouldn’t be doing to lengthen the lifespan of your toilet.
As the saying goes, “things aren’t built the way they used to be” – and toilets fall under the same category. But here’s the thing: quite a few of the issues we’re called to fix are caused unknowingly by the homeowner or tenant and can therefore be avoided! Aside from telling you to be mindful of what goes down the drain, here are a few other common issues:
The first and most common thing we need to do is to flush the toilet! Believe me, I get it. I’m guilty of not flushing myself, as the last thing I want to do is wake up our 1 year old by flushing the toilet in the middle of the night. Over time, when we use the toilet without flushing, the minerals in our urine build up on the insides of the toilet bowl. Sometimes you are able to see that buildup right at the very bottom of the toilet bowl. You’ll also notice over time a big reduction in the “flushing power” of the toilet. We call these minerals Uratic salts, which can be quite difficult to remove and may even mean you need to replace the toilet altogether!
The second thing you can do to prolong the life of your toilet is to avoid putting ANYTHING in the tank. That means no chemical cleaners, deodorizers, or anything else you might be thinking of putting back there. The reasoning for this one is fairly simple, in that all of those chemicals, etc. will cause the inner workings of the toilet to break down significantly faster than normal. Toilets are somewhat finicky – they need everything to be working at 100% to work properly, so we don’t want to speed up the process of anything breaking down! Don’t believe what they try to sell you – nothing is safe!
Lastly, we need to keep an eye on any rocking toilets. While this won’t necessarily hurt the toilet itself, it has the potential to do some significant damage to the drain underneath. When toilets are rocking, it puts undue stress on the bolts and subsequently what we call the “flange” (the part of the drain that the toilet connects to). When your toilet is rocking, there is a chance it causes the toilet bolts to pull right through the flange itself, breaking it in the process. There are a couple of relatively “simple fixes” (you’d still need a plumber) if this happens, but depending on the age and condition of the drain, it could mean a partial re-piping of that section of drain, which we definitely want to avoid!
That’s it for this week! As usual with the plumbing system, it’s usually much simpler than you think to avoid bigger issues down the road – don’t let anyone tell you any different!
Thank you all if you’ve made it this far. I really appreciate you taking the time to read these – I enjoy putting them together for you! As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions that might come up!