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Secret Toilet Tips Help You

underside of the commode with a new wax gasket

Secret Toilet Tips | Here’s a rare photo of a toilet that you’ve undoubtedly never seen. It’s the underside of the commode with a new wax gasket applied to the outlet hole. Copyright 2021 Tim Carter

Secret Toilet Tips Will Save You Money & Prevent SHAME!

Toilets are a pretty important part of your life is my guess. They may appear simplistic to you but in reality, they’re quite complex. I’m going to try to de-mystify the porcelain pedestal in an effort to minimize problems you might have with one in the future.

I’ve been a master plumber since 1981 so I’ve not only installed my fair share of toilets, but I’ve also helped folks like you unclog them and keep them running quietly. Let’s start with the basics.

How Large is a Toilet Drain Pipe?

The toilet in your home connects directly to a drain pipe. In almost all instances the pipe you can’t see has an inner diameter of 3 inches. Toilets have a curved passageway, it’s called a colon, that will normally allow a 2-inch-diameter ball to pass through with no issues. It’s the same thinking for central vacuum cleaners. The opening at the end of the wand as well as the wand tubing are a smaller diameter than the invisible pipe in the wall. You want to make it very hard for the hidden pipes to get clogged.

How Do Toilets Connect to the Drain Pipe?

The connection between your toilet and the plumbing drain pipe must be leakproof for all the obvious reasons. Not only must it not leak water, but it absolutely can’t allow rank sewer gas to seep into your home. Wretched sewer gas is a chronic problem for many people. Each week I’m often or a frantic phone call helping someone solve a sewer gas problem. Most are traced to a failed seal between the toilet and the special flange on the floor that is the termination of the drain pipe.

toilet wax rings

What is the Correct Toilet Flange Height?

This flange must sit on top of the finished flooring material.


Here's a side view of a normal toilet flange on a floor. The gap between the bottom of the flange and the finished floor is just to show that the flooring goes under the flange. Most PVC flanges happen to be 3/8-inch thick at the edge so you want the flange to be tight to the finished flooring. Copyright 2021 Tim Carter

In many cases, for a host of reasons, it doesn’t. Two classic errors are a plumber that attaches the flange to the house subfloor. Another common mistake is a homeowner will install a new floor on top of an existing one. This buries the flange with its top surface often below the level of the new floor.

When this happens, a rookie homeowner trying to install a toilet might not realize the wax or rubber gasket that creates the seal is not making solid contact with both the underside of the toilet and the top of the flange.

Should Grout or Caulk Be Used Under a Toilet?

Once a toilet is bolted correctly to the flange, the gap between the base of the toilet and the floor should be grouted using regular tile grout. Don’t use caulk. Grout dries solid because it’s no different than brick mortar. Caulk is normally flexible. You never want the toilet to move whatsoever when you sit on it. If your toilet wobbles when you sit on it, trouble lies ahead as the seal will eventually fail.

What Does the Water in the Toilet Bowl Do?

The water in the bowl serves a very important function. It prevents sewer gas and vermin from entering your home. All traps under sinks, tubs, showers, floor drains, etc. do the same thing. The issue is these other traps have much less water in them than your toilet bowl. The large amount of water in the toilet bowl acts as a target for your bodily waste.

Shamed Girlfriend Alone in Bathroom Story

Clogged toilets are the bane of many a person. I created a very interesting video showing how to use a bucket of water to unclog a toilet. Just a month ago, a young woman avoided shame, her words, as she had clogged the toilet at her boyfriend’s house. Panicked and still in the bathroom using her smartphone to get help, she found my video, watched it, and then used the wastebasket in the bathroom as her bucket. I thought she was quite resourceful! The video is just below.

Is it Easy to Install a New Toilet Fill Valve?

You might be flummoxed about the fill valve in the tank of your toilet. It’s a very simple valve, although it looks quite complex. Believe it or not, if yours has worn out or is making noise you can usually install a new one in less than 30 minutes. It’s easy to do if the shut-off valve under the toilet works. New fill valves are affordable and extremely reliable. Your slow-filling toilet will stop whistling once you install a new fill valve.

Are Flushable Wipes a Good Thing?

Now’s a good time to talk about those wretched flushable wipes. Millions of these adult wet wipes are sold and sewer-plant operators despise most of them. I invested two full days a couple of years ago setting up a toilet on a pipe-scaffolding platform in my driveway. I then re-created the drain pipes you’d have in your home. I wanted to demonstrate what happens to several brands of flushable wipes when they travel down your pipes to the city sewer or your septic tank. The video I created has become quite popular.

You should absolutely watch the above video. If you must use flushable wipes, never flush them down a toilet. Treat them as you’d dispose of an infant’s dirty diaper. Have a special trash can, with a lid, in your bathroom. Put the soiled flushable wipes in that trash can.

Failure to do this might cause you to have to hire a drain-cleaning company to unclog your drain lines. This will cost you hundreds of dollars. Avoid the problem altogether by just using some common sense, a simple plastic liner for the small trash can, and cooperation from all in your home.

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