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Toilet Repair and Maintenance Tips

Here’s something you probably didn’t know. Contrary to popular belief, the flushable toilet was NOT invented by a man with the unfortunate name of Thomas Crapper. The flushable toilet was designed in 1596, by Sir John Harrington, godson of Elizabeth I, and was later patented by Alexander Cummings in 1775.

It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that the flushable toilet began to gain traction as a sanitation standard. Most of us have heard the stories of our grandparents (or parents) that grew up in a home with an outhouse, as the modern toilet didn’t become a standard home fixture until the early 1900’s.


Why is the toilet so important?

Aside from the obvious convenience, the modern toilet is also a lifesaver. There are more than fifty diseases that are spread via human waste; that are almost entirely non-existent today, thanks to our modern indoor plumbing processes. Dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, polio and typhoid were all epidemics at one time or another throughout history, all rendered nearly extinct by indoor plumbing. Right now, one-third of the world’s population does not have access to indoor plumbing, and those diseases I mentioned are running rampant in those areas.

To maintain this delicate eco-balance in your own home, it is essential to keep your toilets clean and in proper working order. With every flush, your toilet’s handle, flapper, and fill valves are put to work; and don’t forget, these parts are immersed in nature’s most effective solvent, water, twenty-four hours a day. If you’re currently using a tank cleaner tablet or liquid in your toilet, stop doing that. The use of these often corrosive, but always damaging, chemicals will cut the life of your toilet’s components in half. I’d say from about five years down to about two years if you’re lucky, and that’s in a situation without hard water.

Why is my toilet running and how can I catch it?

A running toilet sounds like a one-stop fix, but, there are several reasons your toilet could be running long after a flush. If you jiggle the handle and the running stops, the chain from the handle that leads to the ballcock got in the way. If you’re at all mechanically inclined, it is an easy fix to simply shorten the chain by a couple of links. Another possible reason for your running toilet is the handle itself has become loose and slipped down its connecting arm. The rubber or plastic flapper that acts as the dam between the tank and the bowl eventually will break down around the seal and start to leak. Or it could be a broken fill valve. If these possible scenarios make you a little nervous about tackling the issue yourself, it’s probably a good time to call in a plumber!

I have rust and mineral stains in my toilet bowl. How do I get rid of them?

In most cases, rust stains can only be removed from porcelain using hydrochloric acid. If you’re going to take on a rust removal project, PLEASE be sure to read and understand the directions on the packaging thoroughly. Do a little research before trying to remove the rust. If you’re concerned about using caustic chemicals, there are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube, showing how to remove rust and mineral scale with everything from vinegar to Coca-Cola. It is always best to start by trying to get the results you desire by using the least harsh method.

And while we’re talking about cleaning the toilet, let’s discuss the use of caustic and abrasive cleaners in your toilet bowl. Using some of these bleach-based granulated products in combination with a stiff toilet brush; can cause minuscule scratches in the porcelain.

Why are those little scratches a big deal?

Because those scratches become a breeding ground for bacteria, as they aren’t cleaned out by simply flushing. Once the porcelain is scratched, the only way remove that bacteria is with the use of more caustic chemicals and a toilet brush…creating more scratches and merely compounding the problem. Once the porcelain in the bowl is scratched, you need to replace the toilet to avoid potential sanitary problems.

So Why Choose Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Service for Your Toilet Repair or Replacement?

Many of the simple toilet repairs we’ve covered in this blog can be accomplished easily by a do-it-yourselfer. If you’re not comfortable tackling these projects on your own, call on a licensed, professional plumbing technician from Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services.

Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services have been repairing Houston’s toilets since 1979, and we have seen it all. In fact, we worked on a home that was built in 1890 and still has the original toilets. If we can fix a one-hundred-and-thirty-year-old toilet, yours will be a breeze!!

Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services uses only the best parts available for your toilet repair or toilet replacement. Our fifteen fully-stocked trucks are ready to arrive at your home with exactly what is needed to get the job done. All our repairs are guaranteed, and our parts and fixtures are fully warranted by us, as well as by the manufacturer.

When it’s time to consider a toilet repair or toilet replacement for your home, call the Houston experts, Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services today.

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