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Common problems with a toilet with backflush

Blocked Toilet PipeAlthough the majority of toilets in the world are squat toilets, back-flush toilets dominate Western society. These ingenious inventions take our bodily waste out of the house and into the sewer system, where we no longer have to worry about it. However, as with any product, things may not go exactly according to plan and problems may arise, resulting in either a malfunctioning toilet or, even worse, sewage in the home.

Clogged Toilet

Signs: The toilet overflows when you try to flush

This is probably the most common problem and only requires the use of a common bathroom tool, the plunger. Simply seal the hole in the toilet bowl and apply pressure in an up and down motion. If the clog is cleared, you’re good to go. If not, you will need to empty the bowl and examine it with a flashlight and mirror. In most cases, after a few dips, the toilet will no longer be clogged.

Constantly running toilet

Signs: The sound of running water constantly coming out of the toilet

This can be caused by several things. First, check to make sure the lift chain/cable leading to the flapper is not broken or kinked, causing the flapper to not seat properly. If you have a float ball mechanism, it could be that the float ball on the side of the tank is not spaced properly and is rubbing against the side. If this is the case, you will need to slightly bend the rod that goes to the float ball so that the float ball is tilted down a little more and the ball valve can be closed.

Also, the water level in the tank may be too high, causing water to overflow into the overflow pipe. In this case, the level of the tank must be adjusted either by adjusting the valve screw (float ball types) or by compressing the spring clamp and moving the float up and down (newer types with collar). It is also possible that the float ball is leaking or the flapper is worn, requiring replacement of the appropriate part. If all else fails, the problem may be a faulty ball valve that you need to replace.

Loose toilet handle

Signs: The toilet handle wobbles or turns freely

In some cases, the toilet handle may become loose. This is usually caused by two things. First, the chain may have come loose and you just need to reattach it. Second, the nut that attaches the toilet handle to the tank may have come loose. This nut has a reverse thread, so you have to turn it counterclockwise to tighten it.

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