Common Toilet Issues

As a Vancouver Handyman, one of the most common things I’m asked about are issues with toilets. These days, most households have more than one toilet, so it’s a good idea to have some solid basic knowledge about how to fix common toilet problems, in case you aren’t able to get someone out to your house quickly.


It goes without saying, that a clogged toilet is the most common issue my customers ask me about. There are lots of reasons why a toilet would clog. Obvious causes include putting too much toilet paper or Kleenex into the bowl, and flushing things that really should not be put into a toilet in the first place.

I advise my handyman customers to purchase a special plunger called a force-cup plunger. For a few dollars more than they’d pay for a standard plunger, the force-cup plunger will do a much better job of clearing clogs, and will require a lot less physical exertion to use.

Trickling Water

Trickling toilet water is not only annoying, but it’s a sign that there is something wrong with the toilet and/or plumbing.

Trickling in the Bowl

If you hear an occasional ‘ghost’ flush, where the toilet bowl appears to be refilling on its own like it would after being flushed, the issue is most likely the flapper or flapper set. This issue should be resolved by a handyman, as the parts will need to be replaced, and if not done properly, can lead to bigger problems.

Trickling in the Tank

Many customers report hearing a constant trickling sound coming from their toilet. Most of the time, the trickling is caused by a problem with the float, and a simple adjustment will resolve the issue.

Slow Emptying

If your toilet bowl seems to empty more slowly than it should, we call it a ‘weak flush’. Every toilet bowl has holes just under the rim that are not visible. If these holes become clogged or partially blocked, it can lead to slow emptying of the bowl.

As a handyman, the best method I’ve found to resolve this issue, is to take a special piece of wire to poke through each of the holes to remove blockages, thereby returning the water flow to normal.

Partial Flush

If your toilet only seems to be partially flushing, the issue is probably related to the flapper valve. As with a trickling water issue, the flapper valve should be professionally replaced by your handyman.

Low Water Level in Bowl

A normal flush will include the toilet bowl draining most of the water, then gradually refilling the bowl to the correct water level. If the water level in your toilet bowl does not appear to be returning to the normal level, there is most likely a clog somewhere in the pipes of the toilet (referred to as the toilet colon).

If plunging the toilet with a force-cup plunger does not resolve the issue, contact your handyman, who will be able to use other specialized tools to help remove the clog.