There are numerous toilet problems that should definitely be left in the hands of professionals. However, not every problem requires the services of a plumber. In fact, some modern toilets come with user manuals that homeowners can consult if they run into a problem. In this guide, we will go over some of the most common toilet problems and provide solutions without the need for a plumber.

What are the two most common problems with repairs to toilets?

According to Bonney when they list the top five problems with a toilet the first two are:

Toilet won’t stop running

toilet issues and bath

This is the most common problem. When the water is turned down, the toilet keeps running. The mechanism of a toilet is quite simple, but it can wear out quickly, especially if is poorly installed. They clog or break some of its constituent elements, wasting drinking water and skyrocketing the water bill. They can spill water through the bowl or exceed the overflow limit of the tank and cause a small flood in the bathroom.

The toilet’s internal system lids are responsible for this problem. These lids are designed to open when the lever is lowered, allowing the accumulated water in the tank to pass through. When the cap does not seal after each flush, it allows water to flow continuously causing the toilet to continue to run. These caps are located at the bottom of the tank, near the overflow pipe of the flush valve.


Depending on the type of system your toilet has, simply adjusting the length between the lever and the lid in the traditional toilet can fix it, if not, you will need to replace it with a new one. 

To replace the lid, simply remove the old lid from the two hooks and disconnect the chain from the lever. Then connect the new cover. It is essential to make sure that the chain is the proper length and that the lid matches the toilet and its flush.

Some new toilets use a disc gasket instead of a lid. While these are not too difficult to fix, they can be a bit technical. It is easy for inexperienced hands to break toilet components when trying to disassemble the toilet. The best thing to do in this case is to look in your toilet manual or call someone more experienced to help you fix this little problem.

The toilet runs too long

If the water continues to run even after filling the tank, it is possible that the fill valve is malfunctioning. This causes excess water to pour through the overflow pipe and like the previous problem you will have a very high water bill and an annoying noise.

The fill valve is responsible for opening and closing the water flow after each flush.

To reset it you just need to adjust the valve a little bit to lower the water level. Now, if the float rises but does not shut off the water, means that the valves break or internal joints become damaged. Do not attempt to repair them because all materials are made of rubber and plastic which become brittle when in contact with water.

Toilet tank issues and how do you troubleshoot a toilet tank?

toilet problems in bathrooms

In this guide, we’ll go over some of the most common toilet problems and tips for fixing them without hiring a plumber.

Clogged Toilet

It will prevent water from running out of the bowl as it should. Flushing sanitary napkins, wet wipes, sanitary napkins, or any non-degradable plastic material will clog the toilet. To avoid this problem, do not flush anything other than toilet paper and feces down the toilet.


These can be solved more or less quickly and easily with a good-sized suction cup to reduce splashing. If the object causing the clog is in the trap you can use a flange plunger to remove it.

Read more: Unclog a toilet without a plunger

The toilet does not fill/the toilet bowl water level is low

The water level in the bowl is determined by the height of the internal siphon outlet. If the water level in the bowl rises too high, it is an indication that the toilet is clogged. However, if the water level in the bowl is too low, there are four possible reasons. These are:

Damaged fill tube

The filler pipe is a plastic hose that is responsible for returning water to the toilet cistern once the toilet has been flushed. The tube connects to the overflow pipe and, over time, can become loose from it due to wear and tear. If this happens, the tank fills quickly but the water remains below the level and the tank does not fill properly.

Solution: Lift the tank lid and visually inspect it to determine if the filler tube is damaged or has become dislodged. If it is damaged, replace it, but if it is still in good condition, simply reattach it.

Cracks in the toilet bowl

These are quite rare, but they do occur. If you find water on the floor you probably have a cracked bowl. If you have a cracked bowl, the water levels in the toilet bowl will be lower than usual.

Solution: If your toilet bowl is cracked, contact a plumber to help you replace it. Toilet bowls are made of porcelain and cannot be repaired, so you may have to replace the entire unit.

Faulty venting

All plumbing systems have a vent to ensure the pressure in the pipes, if something happens to the venting of the pipes, this is reflected in the low water level in the toilet bowl.

Solution: Use a plumbing snake to clean and dislodge any debris that may be clogging the plumbing vent.

Damaged fill valve

The fill valve is the component that ensures that the toilet’s water tank is refilled with water after each flush. If the fill valve becomes worn or misaligned, it can cause many problems, including affecting the water level in the toilet bowl.

Solution: Inspect the fill valve to make sure it seats properly in place and check for damage. If it is damaged, replace it with another valve that can be purchased at a home improvement store.

Flushing hissing sound when flushing the toilet

toilet and bath

Pipes whistle when there is too much pressure. When water is coming in, when water flows through the pipe, when the tank fills up, etc. But a hissing sound is a sign of a faulty filling of the tank, caused by a damaged or expired fill valve.

Solution: Replace the tank fill valve with a new one and the problem will be solved.

Slow flushing

One of the main causes of slow-running toilets is a clogged septic tank. It applies if and only if you have this system. It does not allow the water to filter as it should. As a result, the drains and toilet will become sluggish.

It may happen that a toilet is clogged or the water level is too low to flush properly.


  • If you have a septic system, clean the septic tank with a shock treatment product. Then use the maintenance product to keep your septic system healthy and prevent a recurrence of the same problem or odors.
  • For clogged drains use a plunger to unclog them.

Toilet swings

A toilet should not move under any circumstances. If it does, take care of it immediately, even if there are no leaks. This problem can occur when there is settling or when the putty hardens.

There is a flange that connects the toilet to the drain pipe and if this flange is slightly higher than the floor, the toilet may lift up and this will cause it to wobble.


  • Tighten the flange bolts if they are loose, without forcing them because it may split the toilet.
  • Shimming the toilet under its base is another DIY solution to this problem. Examine the gaps and insert shims between the floor and the toilet. Try different sizes of shims and in different places until the shims fit perfectly.

Toilet fills itself

The tank may fill by itself and not because of a ghost. When this happens it means that the toilet has been leaking water either internally or externally. This can occur intermittently throughout the day. If you cannot see water on the floor or on the outside of the toilet, then you have an internal leak. Water from an external leak should be visible on the floor.


  • Check that the refill tube is properly installed. Remove it if it is too far into the overflow pipe and reinstall it on the outside of the overflow pipe. This will prevent it from entering the overflow tube and causing an internal leak.
  • Examine the cap for any visible damage. Replace it with a new one if it becomes damaged.
  • If the first two steps do not solve the problem, the entire cistern needs to be replaced.

Sweating toilet problem

toilet in bath

Here the problem has to do with where you live. If it is a hot area you should take this into account because the humidity generates air condensation in the toilet causing drips in the tank and in the toilet in general. The problem with all this is that it can generate structural damage or cause accidents due to a slippery floor.


  • If high humidity is a common problem in your area, you can install an insulated toilet cistern that prevents condensation.
  • Making sure the air conditioner is properly functioning will also help to prevent condensation in the toilet cistern.

Toilet bubble problem

This is as strange as cracks but it does happen. Bubbles often appear in the cup even if the chain remains unflushed. This may result from a clogged toilet or a problem with the vent pipes.


  • If the toilet becomes clogged, use a plunger to clear it out. A large plunger is always preferable because it reduces splashing while increasing suction.
  • If the vent seems clogged, use a plumbing snake to unclog it. If this doesn’t work, you may need to hire a plumber because you may need to dig through the wall to reach the problem area.

Rusty hinge screws

Fairly common toilet problems. These screws rust easily. When this happens, you will start to witness rust on the edge of the vanity. If you have children at home it is likely to be a common problem because they still do not point correctly in the center of the bowl but in any direction. Urine contains salts that oxidize and rust metals.


  • To keep the hinges from rusting, apply clear nail polish to the screw heads.
  • Apply a small amount of caulk to the hinge screws if they are rusting already.

As soon as you notice them, you can fix any toilet problems. Attending on time will cause them to worsen, which could end up costing you a lot of money. In addition, even though most problems are simple to fix, do not be afraid to call a plumber for professional assistance.

A look at the most frequent toilet problems was last modified: July 31st, 2023 by Vanessa Gallanti
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