If you’ve got a dog at home, then you’ve likely found yourself looking into a toilet bowl that has been emptied of water at least once.
For those without a pet who might use the toilet as the occasional drinking fountain, missing water from a toilet bowl is evidence that there is a repair issue which must be addressed. This is especially true if you have a tank full of water waiting for the next flush.
You Have a Toilet Paper Problem
If water is not in the toilet bowl, but it is in the tank, then you likely have a partial clog in the trap which is caused by toilet paper. The toilet paper will siphon water out of the bowl, much like a lantern siphons oil from a reservoir to create fire.
To stop this issue, you will need to use a plumbing auger to dislodge the clog. Plunging may be able to remove it as well, but you’ll use less water in the removal process with an auger.
You Have a Structural Problem
If you don’t seem to have a toilet paper clog, then there is a good chance that the interior of the toilet has been damaged. When a crack occurs within the interior of the toilet, the water can drain out of the bowl. It may lead the water directly into the drain or it could be causing water to seep into your floor.
The only solution to fix this problem is a complete replacement of the toilet bowl.
You Have a Gravity Problem
Have you ever flushed a toilet using a bucket of water? By using the force of gravity, the extra water creates a flush without engaging the tank. Because the tank has not been used, there is no water to replenish what was in the bowl.
In some homes where a toilet is on an upper floor, there is a possibility that human waste can trigger enough extra weight within the toilet bowl to cause a flush to happen. If this occurs, just engage the tank so the bowl can be cleaned and the water replaced.
Water can drain from a toilet bowl for a number of reasons. By identifying the cause of the problem, you can then implement the correct solution.
When a toilet is gurgling, the sound could be an indication that it is working as it should. It can also be an indication that there is something serious going on that needs to be fixed right away.
One of the most common reasons for a gurgling sound from a toilet is an issue with the flapper. If the flapper is not creating a proper seal, water will slowly escape into the bowl from the tank. As the pressure from the water forces the flapper upward, the toilet gurgles.
Here are some other reasons why a toilet may gurgle.
1. There’s a Partial Clog
Clogs can form within the trap of the toilet. That’s the “S” shaped area along the side of the toilet you can see under the bowl. The partial clog restricts water movement, so the gurgling sound is created as the water moves through the restricted area. Plunging or suction can often remove these partial clogs.
2. There May Be Air in the Line
When air becomes trapped in your water lines, a gurgling sound is often created. If you’ve ever seen a faucet sputter when it was turned on in your home, then there’s a good chance this is happening to your toilet too. Turn on all your faucets to remove air from the plumbing system. When the water flows smoothly, you’re good to go. The toilet gurgling should stop.
3. You Have Hard Water
Homes that have hard water, filled with minerals and scale, can often experience toilet gurgling. Those scale and mineral deposits line the toilet, the drain, and can even cause issues within a septic tank. These deposits can also form around the water source. A good cleaning can often stop the gurgling sound, but some homes may need to install a water softener or similar appliance at the entry point of the plumbing system for a long-term solution.
4. The Float Mechanisms Have Malfunctioned
If the float malfunctions and allows more water into the toilet tank than necessary, a gurgling sound may occur. This happens because the overflow pipe is being utilized. You may need to repair the float or bend the arm of the mechanism to reduce water levels in the toilet tank.
Sometimes a gurgle from a toilet is harmless and can be ignored. Sometimes it is a serious issue that must be addressed. Always investigate this sound to make sure your toilet is working properly.
Your toilet has a tough clog. You’ve tried plunging. You’ve even tried a plumbing auger. Nothing seems to be working. What is your next step?
A professional-strength unclogging formula may be able to remove the clog for you. Several chemically-based products are available at most retailers. When given enough time, these products will typically work in 15-60 minutes.
What if you don’t want to pour chemicals down your toilet? You still have options available to you. Here are the best options you can use to clear a tough clog.
1. Hot Water
Just one gallon of hot water can be enough to clear out a tough clog. Make sure the water isn’t boiling hot, but warmer than what you’d use for a hot shower. Pour the entire gallon down the toilet at once. Gravity will help it to flush. Have a backup plan in place in case the toilet overflows so your floor doesn’t suffer water damage.
2. Dish Soap
If the water won’t dislodge the clog, try adding some standard dish soap to the mixture. The soap will coat the ceramic sides of the trap and penetrate down to the drain, helping a blockage make its way out of the toilet. A bar of soap that is cut into small flakes can also work.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda can be quite helpful when a toilet needs to be unclogged, but it must be combined with an acidic product to work. Vinegar is one of the cheapest options available, but lemon juice or a similar liquid will also work. Combine one-part baking soda with one-part vinegar and pour down the toilet.
4. Shampoo or Conditioner
If you don’t have dish soap lying around, another soap-like item that can be used is a shampoo or a conditioner. Squirt a generous amount into the toilet and then add hot water. A shower gel or certain lotions meant to go on in the shower can also help to dislodge a difficult clog when nothing else is lying around.
Knowing what to pour into a toilet to unclog it can be a real life-saver. If these methods have not worked and plunging or a toilet auger has not worked either, then it may be time to call a professional. Some clogs can be underneath the toilet and those can sometimes be difficult to clear from a DIY perspective.
If a toilet begins to fill up with water in the bowl instead of draining it away, there is a good chance that it is blocked. The #1 tool to use when a toilet becomes blocked is a plunger. In most circumstances, careful plunging will dislodge the blockage and allow the bowl to drain.
For difficult blockages, a plumbing auger can be used to dislodge the clog.
Remember to clean the bowl as needed after removing the blockage to have a sanitary experience.
There are times, however, when neither tool can get the job done. What can be used to unblock a toilet then? Here are the best options.
1. Use a Build-up Remover.
If air becomes trapped within the drain of the toilet, waste can stick to the sides and dry. Over time, this waste builds up until a tough clog develops. Using a build-up remover in the toilet once per quarter can help to prevent slow flushes and troublesome blockages.
2. Try a Natural Method.
Several natural methods can be used to remove a toilet blockage. Vinegar, baking soda, and even hot water with dish soap have all been used successfully to clear a toilet.
3. Use a Wire Hanger.
If you don’t have access to a plumbing auger, then try using a wire hanger. Twist the hanger apart and bend it so that it becomes a long, straight piece of wire. Then use it carefully to work on the blockage. Be careful with this method as the ceramic of the toilet bowl can scratch easily.
4. Suck it Out.
If you have a wet/dry vacuum in your garage or shop, it may be able to remove the blockage for you. Remove the water in the bowl and then place the hose down the drainage point. This method can be particularly effective if the blockage is being caused by a foreign object. Even if the hose doesn’t suck up the blockage into the bin or bag, the suction can attach the item so it can be removed.
5. Make a Toilet Bomb.
Bake up a combination of dish detergent, Epsom salts, and baking soda. Allow them to dry and then use them later in your toilet.
When your toilet becomes blocked, a plunger will often be your best friend. If it can’t get the job done, then try these alternatives to get that toilet working again.
After you press the flushing lever or button on the toilet, what happens to what was in the bowl?
When the toilet is flushed, the entire contents are sent into a drain pipe. That pipe is connected to a sewer line or a septic system outside of the home. This outside pipe will collect lots of other waste too, like shower water, stuff from the kitchen sink, and anything else that is connected to a drain.
This waste is referred to as sewage. It will travel to either the home’s septic system to be liquefied by beneficial bacteria or sent to a wastewater treatment facility. In a city, all the pipes from all the homes connect to central pipes that lead to the treatment facility. The largest pipes can be so large that a school bus could be driven inside of them.
Why Is Sewage Treated?
Sewage must be treated because it contains lots of germs. Many of the diseases that have been so destructive to humans throughout history are directly tied to waste exposure. Even today, in places where sewage treatment is not available, the transmission of many diseases is known to occur.
Typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis E, cholera, and even certain parasites can all be transmitted with sewage contact.
Once the sewage arrives at the treatment plant, it goes through a multi-stage process to remove the most harmful components of the waste. Chemicals are added to the “sludge” and it may be stored in large tanks for several days at a time to ensure it is safe.
Continued processing helps to remove the waste products from the sewage as well. That creates a separation. The treatment facility will have the waste, which can be dried and then used as fertilizer, and they will have clean water.
In some instances, the treated water can be repackaged and sold because it is safe to drink. The water can also be sent to farms or factories to be used again.
What About the Big Stuff that Gets Flushed?
You never know what might get flushed down the toilet. You might flush tissues when you run out of toilet paper. Maybe baby wipes or personal wipes are flushed. The products say they are safe to flush, but are they really safe?
That depends on the product. Toilet paper breaks down easily, which is why it is safe to flush. Some wipes are thicker and don’t break down as quickly. That means they become a “waste” product within the sewage line. These items must be removed from the liquid sewage so it can be processed properly.
Many sewage lines have grills and filters in place that catch the largest items that may get flushed down the toilet. These screens are then periodically cleaned so they don’t cause a backup in the sewer pipe.
Some screens are dumped into machines that grind up the waste so it can be treated with the other sewage. Other grinders just reduce the waste into something that is manageable and can be taken to the local landfill.
How Does a Septic Tank Work?
If a home is connected to a septic system, then a toilet flushes the waste into an underground treatment structure on that home’s property. The tank will lead to a drain field or an absorption field after helpful bacteria have processed the waste so it is broken down properly.
Within the septic tank, the solids will settle to the bottom to begin forming a sludge. Oils, grease, and other materials remain at the top. The liquids leave the tank and go into the drainage or absorption area.
Eventually, the sludge within the tank builds up enough that it must be serviced as there is no longer any place for the liquid waste to go. A professional servicing agency then comes out, removes the sludge from the tank, and the system continues to operate as normal.
Most septic systems need to be serviced once every 3-5 years under normal use.
Why Is This Important to Know?
By knowing what happens to the water and waste in a toilet after it is flushed, it becomes easier to take care of our environment. Certain things, like kitty litter, coffee grounds, and prescription medicine, should never be flushed down the toilet – even if the product recommends this.
That is because the treatment process is not always 100% effective. Some items can survive and be recycled into the environment. By understanding what can be flushed, we can recycle much of what we currently flush away.
In basic terms, the modern toilet has three components. You have the toilet bowl, the toilet seat, and the toilet tank. The back of the toilet is called the “tank.”
The tank is where water is retained so that users can engaged the flushing mechanism after they have finished using the toilet. A handle or button is on the exterior of the tank and this is engaged. Once that happens, the interior components of the tank begin to work so that the toilet bowl can be flushed clean.
Here is a look at some of those internal components.
Fill Valve: This is the valve responsible for filling the toilet tank with water. It receives water from the supply line and sends it into the toilet whenever the float arm or cup is in a lowered position.
Flapper: This holds the water in the tank. When a flush occurs, a chain is pulled and the flapper is pulled upward, allowing water to rush out.
Float Arm: This mechanism extends across the tank and has a ball attached to it. As water levels rise, the ball rises, causing the float arm to rise. When it reaches a predetermined height, it causes the fill valve to shut off.
Float Cup: Small toilet tanks use a float cup that is above the fill valve instead of a float arm that extends across the tank. As water levels rise, the float cup rises too, eventually disengaging the flow of water from the supply line.
Overflow Pipe: This upward structure in the tank is connected to the flapper. If water levels get too high, then it will flow into this pipe, bypass the flapper, and go into the bowl. A running toilet may have the float arm or cup too low, causing too much water to enter the tank, which is when this component would be used.
Supply Line: This sends water from the plumbing system to the toilet tank.
Tank Lever: This is attached to the button or handle on the exterior of the tank. The chain for the flapper is connected to it as well.
The back of the toilet might be a “generic” component, but the interior of the tank provides intricate mechanics that support multiple daily flushes for several years. Taking care of the tank and its components is the easiest way to prolong the life of a toilet.
If you have a toilet that is not filling with water, there is a water access issue that must be addressed. Before checking anything with the mechanisms of the toilet, double-check that your water supply hasn’t been turned off. The supply controls are usually located underneath the tank of the toilet.
When the water is on, but the tank is not filling with water properly, then here are the other issues you’ll want to check inside the tank.
1. Float Ball
The float ball sits above the water in the toilet tank. As water rises, it slows the flow of water inside the tank and eventually shuts off the fill valve. If the float ball is too low, then it can cause water to stop entering the tank prematurely. Give the float arm a bend upward and this will usually solve the issue.
2. Fill Valve
The fill valve takes the water from the supply line to put water into the toilet tank. By raising the height of the fill valve, you can encourage more water to come into the tank. There should be an adjustment screw on the top of the valve. Turn it clockwise to raise the valve. Some valves use cylinders instead of screws – just pinch the cylinder and raise it upward.
3. Flapper Valve
You can tell if the flapper valve is the issue because your toilet will be running. There will be water movement in the bowl at all times. Check to make sure the chain is properly connected to the toilet handle first. Some chains can get pinched or knotted, causing the flapper to remain open. Otherwise, replacing the flapper valve can create the seal you need.
4. Water Pressure
If you’ve checked out everything on your toilet and the mechanisms seem to be working, then you could have a plumbing issue in your home. Older homes can experience corrosion in the pipes that lowers available water pressure. Some older homes may have a slow leak at a plumbing connection that is robbing your toilet of water. In this instance, you may need to hire a professional plumber to resolve your issue.
A toilet not filling up with water can be a frustrating issue. With these fixes, it can be quickly resolved.
In the United States, a toilet must reach a certain height to be considered ADA-compliant. That measurement does include the seat, as measured from a finished floor surface. The current requirement is a minimum of 17 inches. Most ADA-compliant toilets are therefore 16 1/8 inches from the floor to the bowl rim to accommodate the current regulations.
If you’re shopping for an ADA-compliant toilet today, here is how you can make sure that you’re purchasing the right model for your specific needs.
1. Measure the height personally.
Don’t rely on the printed measurements you see on the box. If you’ve found a toilet you like, take a tape measure out and actually measure the floor-to-rim height. That way you can verify the exact measurements of the product and know how much space you’ll need for it in the bathroom.
2. Know your toe clearance.
Toilets that are ADA-compliant are built with an undercut bowl to provide users with more toe clearance. A minimum of 9 inches is required between the toilet and the floor. That is why many public bathrooms tend to use wall-mounted toilets, as it increases toe clearance by keeping the plumbing for the toilet in the wall.
3. Make sure the toilet is ADA-compliant.
Manufacturers have used marketing terms like “comfort height” to promote their toilets and make it seem like they are taller, but this isn’t always true. Many “comfort height” toilets fall under 17 inches in height, even with the toilet seat attached.
4. Find the flush controls.
For a toilet to be ADA-compliant, there are standards that the flushing controls must meet as well. A flush mechanism cannot be higher than 44 inches from the mounting surface. It must be able to activate with less than 5 pounds of force. It cannot cause users to strain or twist their wrist to engage the mechanism. Button-flush toilets tend to be the worst offenders in this category.
After you choose your preferred toilet, take care with the installation process. Know where you’ll need to the flushing mechanism to be located for your space. Consider any obstacles that could prevent easy access. In doing so, you will be able to take the height of a handicap toilet and use it to your advantage.
Many toilet models offer a bowl height of 14 or 15 inches. This measurement comes from the floor and does not include the measurement for the seat, as that can be replaced by the owner. Toilet manufacturers also produce models that have a bowl height of 16-19 inches to provide users with better accessibility and comfort.
Toilets that have a bowl height in the 16-inch to 19-inch range are usually ADA-compliant in the United States as well.
What Are Tall Toilets Important?
For adults in the 65+ age category, 1 in 3 of them will experience a fall in the next 12 months. More than 200,000 of them will experience that fall in the bathroom. 1 in 4 falls that occur in the bathroom will cause a moderate-to-severe injury. Bathroom incidents account for 2.5% of all unintentional injuries.
By having a taller toilet in the bathroom, many of these injuries can be prevented.
Which Toilet is the Tallest?
To find the tallest toilet that is available in the United States, you’ll need to shop outside of the larger brands that are available at retail outlets. That is because the tallest toilet currently being manufactured comes from the Convenient Height Company in Boston, MA. It offers a 20-inch height from the floor to the bowl, with an extra inch added when a regular toilet seat is installed on the product.
The Model S toilet by Convenient Height is designed to help users struggling with mobility issues that involve the back or the knee. In the U.S. market, it is 3 inches taller than a Kohler toilet and 4 inches taller than a Toto toilet.
Because it has added height, the 20-inch toilet tends to flush better because of its steeper elevation. Added siphonic action allows for the contents of the bowl to be evacuated through the drain with ease, creating fewer double flushes. It has passed testing for 1.7 pounds of hard artificial waste.
Tall toilets aren’t just a design option. For some, they are a necessity. That is why finding the highest toilet available can be so important.
Working with a small bathroom can really make it difficult when you need to fit a toilet into that space. Because of the design of the modern toilet, they can only be so small. Now you could purchase a composting toilet or something similar, but if you need a small flushing toilet, your options are limited.
Most manufacturers offer a toilet that is in the 25- to 26-inch range for length. If you’re tight on space, however, you’ll want to consider the Galba small toilet. It is the smallest toilet available in many markets that still meets or exceeds local building codes.
What Are the Dimensions of the Galba Small Toilet?
The Galba small toilet is just 24.5 inches in length, 13.5 inches wide, and 28.5 inches high. It is a one-piece toilet that still offers a dual-flush feature so there are environmental benefits with the fixture. It also has an elongated trap way that is concealed to provide a clean look for any bathroom.
There are some additional key points about this toilet from Galba that you’ll want to know as well.
It requires a minimum rough-in of 11.5 inches so it will fit. It is cUPC, UPC, and MAP approved for a 12-inch rough-in.
The glazed surface provides a self-cleaning feature that prevents corrosion and fading.
The toilet bowl design is elongated instead of round for added comfort.
It features a quick-disconnect toilet seat for easy maintenance and the hard, plastic surface is supportive.
Because this toilet connects to a water supply, you don’t need to worry about dealing with a macerator in your space either. It weighs about 90 pounds.
Does the Galba Small Toilet Offer a Good Flush?
Like most modern toilets today, there are water-saving features built into the Galba small toilet. If you give it a half-tank flush, then you will be using 0.8 gallons to do so. A full flush is equal to 1.6 gallons. You still receive the pressure that is needed to completely clear the bowl and have it clean for the next time the toilet needs to be used.
It offers a nice fit inside a small bathroom. There is an elongated bowl for comfort. It provides a modern look with a glossy white finish. If you need the smallest toilet available today, then you need the Galba small toilet.