All About Your Toilet

Not to make it sound like plumbers are rocket scientists, but there is quite a bit of physics happening inside your toilet, the majority of it happens in the portion of the toilet you do not see.

toilet_graphicInside the toilet:

When you press the handle down, it lifts a lever arm that pulls a chain or rod, opening the flapper. Water from the tank rushes through the exposed hole and into the toilet bowl. As you see the water level rise inside the bowl, it is also rising within the base and then overflows into the drain behind it. Because no air gets past the water in the bowl, the water falling into the drain creates a siphon effect that sucks the rest of the water with it until air finally enters and breaks the vacuum created.

While that takes place, the tank fills with fresh water and would overflow without some mechanism to shut off the water when it reaches a certain level. This is accomplished by a float. A float is typically a hollow ball the size of grapefruit at the end of a rod. As the ball floats on the rising surface of the water the lever eventually shuts off the water intake valve.


When a toilet backs up, it is likely that the clog is not far down the drain and you can remedy it with the all to familiar plunger.

Plunging 101:

  • Hold the toilet plunger over the toilet bowl’s drain hole and lower it into the water so that you’ve retained air inside of it and the edges of the plunger are below the water line.
  • Position it in the drain opening and push down, forcing the air out of the plunger. Then continue with several rapid up and down movements. You may have to try this several times.
  • Lift the plunger out of the water to let more air into it between each effort.

Are your other drains working normally? If not, the clog is apparently in the main drain and no amount of plunging will dislodge it. Time to call Bizzy B Plumbing.

Toilet Tips:

  • Don’t flush any materials other than toilet paper.
  • Feminine products should go in the trashcan, not the toilet.
  • Most plumbers even recommend against putting “flushable wipes” down the drain because they don’t degrade well and can cause clogs down the line.
  • Keep the counter space around the toilet and the back of the tank clear of small objects that might fall in without being noticed. Plumbers often find little green army men and other small toys that probably didn’t jump into the toilet on their own. So have a little chat with junior.

When a toilet runs:

If you are having to jiggle the handle to get the toilet to stop running, something is not right. Constantly running toilet problems are normally caused by the malfunction of either the flapper,  float valve, or the fill valve.

The flapper is a rubber piece at the bottom of the toilet tank that covers the discharge drain. It is lifted by a chain or rod attached to the handle when a toilet is flushed. It should set securely back into place before the tank is refilled. If the flapper is damaged or does not fully close, water will slowly leak from the tank.

The float valve is attached to the incoming water line and regulates the water level inside the toilet tank. If it is not properly adjusted or if it has become clogged by sediments, it will constantly attempt to refill the water level.

The fill valve is the tube the float is attached to. High water pressure can overload the fill valves and cause them not to shut off. This can run your water bill up quickly.

Bizzy B Plumbing can remedy any of these issues for you. Just give us a call.

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