I don’t want to think about toilets- they are not pleasant things to ponder. But, as we all know, in-door plumbing is one of the most important advancements of a human civilization. To flush away all that waste and not have to worry about where it goes or how a toilet works is a luxury. No one wants to be wondering what could go wrong every time the toilet flushes.
As a home inspector it is my job to look for what could go wrong. I check out an average of 5 toilets during a normal work day. Each one is unique. As they say, ‘there are no two toilets that are exactly alike.’ I check to make sure they are secured to the floor an unable to shift or rock. Each toilet needs to have a water supply line shutoff valve close enough so that the water can be quickly turned off in an emergency overflow situation.
A leaky toilet is bad- it takes away from the whole ‘flushing all that waste away out of the house’ thing. If a toilet leaks at the floor or below it is usually because of a worn out wax ring. The wax ring is an actual ring of wax which creates the connection between the bottom of the toilet and the drain on the bathroom floor.
A toilet that runs is usually caused by a faulty flapper, located in the tank. A worn rubber flapper will let water run past it, out of the tank, into the toilet bowl and down the drain instead of hold the water in the tank.
Toilet cakes can be placed inside the toilet bowl, but should never be put inside the tank. The chemicals can wear out the rubber gasket that is between the tank and the bowl. I have flushed a toilet during an inspection and had dark blue (fragrant) water gush out from the base of the tank and splash all over the bathroom floor.
Older toilets use more water and are less efficient. Toilets that were from 1982 or before use 5 to 7 gallons per flush. Per current federal plumbing standards, toilets must today be designed to flush using no more than 1.6 gallons of water. A new toilet with new parts is much more efficient and less likely to have a problem- one less thing to worry about.
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