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Ask the Expert About Clogged Toilets and DIY Toilet Repair

 

 

JOHN:

And you’re listening to TALK RADIO 1190. The ask the experts radio show and we’re privileged again to have Roger Wakefield the owner operator of Texas Green Plumbing with us and we’re going to dive right back in Roger with toilet talk. I have changed a toilet one time and it was not my most fun thing I have to say around the house. What should people know what would be the indicators that it’s time to actually change your toilet.

 

ROGER:

If a toilets made before 1994 you can change it and you’re automatically going to save water because you’re going to use less water to flush and saving your water is also going to save you money. Clogged toilets are if you’ve got a toilet that gets clogged often that’s something that’s an indicator that maybe you’ve got an issue inside the toilet. Maybe it’s old it’s not as smooth as it used to be on the inside. Clogged toilets are a pain they create issues around the house.

 

A sign that you may want to change it is if it’s going to cost you quite a bit to repair it. It may be worth it investing that money into a new toilet. Toilet repairs get costly. Just like other things that you know happen around the house and plumbing. So looking at it and realizing whether you need to replace it or repair it it’s kind of you got to look at what you’re investing in. So you said that wasn’t your best thing what was the problem you had do you remember?

 

JOHN:

Well yes this was on a first of all it was on the half bathroom downstairs. And so there was not a lot of room to move. And my mother in law and I were working on this job which has its own special qualities to it. But the two of us…it was heavy frankly for the two of us in trying to squeeze it into that tight spot. And then there’s the wax ring we were dealing with and it was and it was quite a few years ago I have to say but it was like wielding it over our heads trying to get in there. So I would just say the logistics of it. It was not a large bathroom probably was part of the problem.

 

ROGER:

I’ve got a really good friend Chad Wall. We were really lucky as most people know American Standard hired me as their expert plumber and we’ve actually got a video right now. I believe there is a link to our YouTube channel. If not there’s links to it through Facebook or you can you can google Roger Wakefield American Standard. The videos will come up. There’s one where we actually installed an Active Clean Plus American standard toilet.

 

Chad wall was gracious enough to let us do it at his house and do the video there. And it was really nice because he got to actually see what it’s like to take out a toilet and put the new toilet in. And we go through the steps very well. So anyone looking to change out a toilet. That would be a good video to go watch because it will give them some rough ideas. And like John says you can call me at the office or send me an e-mail or go on our Web site and we will communicate with you and help you and I’ve got customers I’ve talked to 15 to 30 minutes trying to walk them through problems before.

 

JOHN:

Really that’s great, and again that number is 972-442-4101, 972-442-4101 for Roger Wakefield to get that advice or if you need a plumber to come out Texas Green Plumbing. Now what is the story with a wax ring. How quickly does it actually break down.

 

ROGER:

A wax ring doesn’t break down. The only reason that a wax ring ever becomes a problem is if the sewer backs up and there’s water pressure from the inside or say you’ve got a stoppage that isn’t in your toilet but it’s in the lead band where the pot comes out of your toilet it goes down and turns and goes into a sanitary tea and then event goes up through the roof. If you’ve got a blockage down there and you flush that toilet and that water sets up in the bowl now it’s creating pressure around that wax ring and can push the wax out. But the wax it’s a real soft wax it’s almost like a candle if you’ll leave a candle in a room in a house, it’s going to stay there forever. A wax ring is about the same. It’s a softer wax that seals off really well and it doesn’t really deteriorate. The water can push it out or cause it to go away and that can create problems.

 

JOHN:

And we had a problem with an upstairs toilet that I think the fitting from before we moved in wasn’t exactly correct on the the what was coming out of the toilet and so the pipes didn’t match up exactly as they should and we had a leak that came through the ceiling down into the first floor is just lovely. But after we got all that fixed it seemed like the toilet was still sliding a little bit and some people said not a lot but a little bit of us that shouldn’t slide at all and I want to dive in there’s not a problem nothing’s going wrong. Is that correct that if there’s even let’s say an inch play there that if somebody puts his or her feet on the floor and just pushes a little bit the sliding is something that should never be happening.

 

ROGER:

It should never happen. Like I said a toilet repair is a very important thing that most homeowners can do. You’ve got two brass bolts that stick up on each side check them that’s on those and see if they’re snug the nuts may have come loose. I’ve seen old toilet bolts that rust or the flange below it breaks most problems as long as it’s not a flange. Most of these problems are issues that a homeowner can fix themselves. You can take those nuts off. You can pull that toilet you can clean off the old wax you clean it off on the flange and as long as the flange isn’t cracked and broken it secured to the floor that’s what you want or that’s what is there anchoring down the toilet.

 

So like I said for a toilet repair that’s a pretty expensive one or not an expensive one. It’s pretty inexpensive unless it’s the flange. If it’s the flange and it’s on the ground floor it can become costly because you’ve got to chip out concrete around it to replace it, different things that you have to go through there.

 

JOHN:

And what sort of problems have you seen with people who did have the courage to go forth and do a toilet change out and something went awry.

 

ROGER:

Problem number one for a toilet repair is that toilet is made of porcelain. It will break. And not only break it it’s a sharp edge it’s like glass. You can cut yourself. I actually had a gentleman working with me at Medical City Hospital when we did the E2 building and he actually cut himself on the tiles installing the flange and gashed his hand open where we actually walk next door and got him stitches.

 

Glass the porcelain the tile that are all very sharp edges. That is one of the most important things. Be gentle when you’re tightening up that toilet you want to tighten it down where it doesn’t move. Plumbers will use shims or wedges in there sometimes to help alleviate that problem. If that toilet rocks and moves a lot that’s going to cause that wax to compact. And then you’re going to get sewer gas smells or water if the toilet ever backs up.

 

Radio Show Producer:

Can I ask you a question? Real quick I guess I had a toilet issue this past week and it started to where I was. I had a leak coming from it felt like the I guess the bowl of whatever the tank it was coming out those two little screws it seemed. But in further investigating there is I guess a ring in between the tank and the base the tank and the ball. Yes sir. And I guess that seal ended up I guess deteriorating and I had a gentleman he replaced that and then he left he’s like oh you’ll be fine it’s going to seep a little bit. Well the first time I went to flush it all the water came and just went to the floor.

 

ROGER:

Number one guys this is Anthony our producer, a great guy. Ah the tank to bowl gasket. Is it becomes it can be a difficult replacement because most people have never a lot of people don’t even realize the tank and the ball are two separate pieces. Everybody looks at it as you know I’ve got a toilet. Well you do. But there are many pieces that make that toilet work. The tank to bowl gasket is what can what is attached to the bottom of the flush valve. And the flush Valve is what’s attached to the flapper.

 

That gasket there depending on what type of toilet you have there are a few different sizes a few different shapes. Different people have their own version of their own special brand. They’re not difficult to replace. There’s just certain order that things have to go through. You’ve got the brass bolts you if I was changing and I thing what I would do is I’d pull it. I would take that complete flush valve out. Then make replacements I believe you can actually get them at home depot. We use a Douglas flush valve and you can replace that depending on what size and brand it is. But that flash Valve is going to come with new toilet bowls that’s going to come with a new gasket. And one thing that’s not everybody is when you take the stuff off like that. Make sure you clean it up real good because you want all this new product to seal off really well.

 

Anthony the Producer:

And that’s the thing right. I called them back. I’m like this isn’t working out. And instead of trying to fix it it’s like I’m just going to put a new toilet in. So I mean I think he could have actually just fixed it and gone about it the right way but I think he just decided it’s easier for me just to replace the toilet. I mean is that just the plumber just being lazy.

 

ROGER:

Yeah. I’m not going to say that because I don’t know what brand the toilet was. I don’t know how old the toilet was. Some of these toilets are hard to find parts for. And I get that.

Anthony the Producer:

He did replace it with one of the new high efficiency ones.

 

ROGER:

To be honest you’re probably going to save money in the long run because it is going to save you water every time you flush. Does that mean the other one couldn’t be fixed. Not necessarily. Sometimes getting those parts to though it may take longer to get the parts and do you want to pay a plumber to drive all around town because you’ve got a specialty part and I know people don’t understand that. But if you’ve got a toilet that that requires a specialty part and that plumbers got to drive say you live in Allen and the part is in downtown Dallas and we run into that a lot especially on not really hard to find items but specialty plumbing equipment. There’s not a lot of places that stock those parts. Luckily in Dallas we’ve got it made. We’ve got Teeters and they can pretty much find or get anything that we need. So it’s a good deal.

 

Anthony the Producer:

Yeah it’s like I guess with the toilet. It was put in it first it was molded to the floor within the tiles also whoever laid the tile laid it is flush with the toilet. So now I have a toilet sitting on top of my tile. And I think like you said that that wax ring. I mean I can’t see how it’s fitting on their correctly

 

ROGER:

They make extra thick bowl wax. It’s like almost two of them stacked together. So that may be what they did. They may have done that. There’s also extension rings that you can put on the flange for a situation like that. I recommend anybody who’s getting a tile floor to pull this pull the toilet before the tile gets done. And then we have to tile in. Yes. All the way into the flange and that’s a good deal.

 

Anthony the Producer:

Yeah I think like I said I think you just try and take the easy way out. It looks like he had to go the hard way but it is what it is.

 

ROGER:

There’s a lot of plumbers out there that do want to take the easy way out. Thank goodness I’m renting and it’s a condo.

 

JOHN:

So you didn’t have to pay for the toilet. Oh no sir. Oh that could be a key issue right there.

We’re going to come back. Talk a little bit about changing sinks. What you should do what you shouldn’t do what you should look for. You’re listening to Roger Wakefield of Texas green plumbing the owner operator. And kinda new at the business though only 38 years experience in business. If you have any questions for Roger right now talk radio 1190 the number is 214-787-1190. Rogers number 972-442-4101, 972-442-4101 or Texasgreenplumbing.com or look to his YouTube channel and we will be right back on ask the experts radio show.

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