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Tempermental Toilets

A toilet that has to be flushed twice or more to clear the bowl is a water waster. If you are blessed with one of these tempermental dickens -- a toilet that sometimes does and sometimes doesn't -- here are a few ideas you can try to even the odds.

First, remove all conservation devices that may be in the tank, such as bottles or dams. Then make sure the water level in the tank is as high as possible without actually reaching the top of the overflow pipe. Raise the water level by unbending the float arm a bit or adjusting the floating cup on the ballcock.

Next, carefully remove the tank lid and set it aside; flush the toilet and watch to make sure the flush valve stays open long enough for most of the water to leave the tank -- the flush valve flapper is the part attached to the handle with a chain. There'll always be about an inch of water left in the bottom of the tank, but more than that means the flush valve is closing too fast. The rubber ball, flapper or disk may be worn out, or the chain may be too long.

Next, check the holes in the rim of the bowl, if any appear clogged, ream them out with a stiff wire. Also run the wire into the jet hole in the bottom of the toilet bowl to dislodge calcium and lime deposits. If the toilet is not very old, contact the manufacturer's customer service department and complain.

Friends found the manufacturer of their toilet had an adaptor that raised the overflow pipe so the tank would hold more water. That manufacturer knew there was a problem, but waited for customers to complain. On some toilets you can make an adaptor, using a plastic pipe coupler from a plumbing supply store. However, don't allow the top of the adaptor to be higher than the bottom of the hole in the tank for the handle.

If you are using a "drop-in the tank" bowl cleaner, remove it and flush the toilet several times to completly flush out the chemicals. The drop-in cleaners are known to create a condition known as Blue Goo. The type of bowl cleaning system that hangs on the wall of the tank above the water line does not cause this problem.



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