Follow these tips to keep the loo in tip-top shape
The loo needs more than just regular cleaning to keep it in tiptop shape. Image: Thinkstock
Loo maintenance isn’t high on anyone’s list of favourite chores, but it’s essential to keep everything in working order.
Follow these tips to avoid overflows, wasted water and flushing failure.
Tighten the connections to the water pipe if there’s a leak pooling on the floor. Also check the tightness of the big plastic nut on the flush pipe underneath. If that doesn’t work, the sealing washer may have perished, and you’ll need a plumber to replace it.
Look inside the cistern when it won’t flush to make sure it contains water. If it’s empty then the problem is with the inlet valve or supply pipe.
If there is water in the cistern, check the flushing arm is connected to the internal hook at the top of the cistern and is lifting the piston.
Poor flushing can be caused by the flush pipe being pushed too tight into its housing, restricting the flow. Try pulling it back and see if it improves.
A flush failure may also be caused by a loose handle in older cisterns. Remove the cistern lid, hold the handle and tighten the locknut with a wrench.
Adjust the water level in an older float ball assembly by bending the metal float arm up or down slightly, or by adjusting the screw in newer models.
If the water level is fine, you may need to replace the plastic flap valve inside the siphon unit.
How a toilet works
Most toilets use a siphon flushing system with an inverted U-shaped pipe that prevents water leaking from the cistern into the pan in between flushes.
Modern toilets are usually designed as dual-flush, with a two-part button or ‘flush-and-hold’ system to save water.
Slimline cisterns may be too small to incorporate a ball-float system. Instead, they use a Torbeck valve with a very short float arm and mini float, or a vertical valve withm a float cup that fits around the centre column.
In both cases, a valve-operated flush mechanism replaces the siphonic system, and is activated by a push button, usually in the cistern lid.
Toilets with this kind of mechanism are not easy to maintain or repair yourself, and problems often require a replacement part.