What To Do When Your Toilet Doesn't Completely Flush

One of the most unpleasant plumbing problems to face is a toilet that won’t flush all the way. Not only is it highly inconvenient, but it also presents a sanitation hazard. Everyone takes their toilets for granted — but when they’re not working as they should, what can you do? Read on to find out.

Narrow Down Possible Problems

When a toilet doesn’t flush completely, there could be any number of causes. Start by checking the toilet tank. If the toilet tank doesn’t fill all the way, you’ll need to figure out why and fix that problem. If the tank is filling properly, then you may have a clog, or there may be other issues at work.

Another easy thing to check is the toilet’s chain and handle. If the handle doesn’t do anything when you press it — in other words, if it swings freely — that’s a sign there is a problem with the handle itself or the chain that connects it to the flapper. Check inside the toilet tank, and if you find the chain or handle is broken, replace them to get your toilet back up and running.

Clear a Clogged Toilet

A clog is the most common reason for a toilet that doesn’t flush. Clogs can range in severity, from a complete blockage to a partial obstruction. Wipes, toilet paper and other items can build up in sewer lines, which could result in slow flushing that doesn’t completely clear the bowl.

To remedy this problem, use a plunger or toilet augur. If using a plunger, make sure it’s a flange-style so that it seals well with the bowl. Use the plunger a few times to loosen any materials potentially clogging the sewer lines, then flush the toilet to see if it’s working better. If the flushing improves, you may need to use the plunger once or twice more to completely clear the blockage.

If using a toilet augur, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, then flush to see if the situation has improved.

If you have neither a plunger nor an augur handy, you can also try hot water. Sometimes this is enough to loosen mild blockages. However, never use boiling water as this can damage the toilet or its seals.

If none of the above methods work, you may not have a clog. Below, you’ll find some other issues that can cause a toilet problem.

Check the Flapper

Flappers are at the bottom of the toilet tank. They should seal tightly when closed. If they don’t seal completely, it can affect the way your toilet flushes. Remove the tank lid and examine the flapper to see if it is sealing properly. One way to check is to listen for a toilet that runs often. This is a sign that water is draining from the tank even when the flapper should be closed. If you spot an issue, then you’ll need to pick up a new flapper at a local hardware store and follow its instructions for installation.

Check the Inlet Holes

When you flush the toilet, water drains from the tank through small inlet holes around the underside of the toilet bowl’s rim. If these are clogged, then the water will drain sluggishly into the toilet bowl, resulting in a slow flush that doesn’t clear the bowl. Look for these signs to determine whether inlet holes are clogged:

  • Your tank drains slowly when it flushes.
  • Water flows into the bowl straight down from the rim, rather than in a diagonal direction.
  • You can see areas in the bowl where water isn’t flowing at all when you flush.

Each of these signs could indicate clogged jets. Use a scrubber, brush or toothpick to clean mineral buildup from the jets to get the water flowing again.

Check the Overflow Tube

An overflow tube is the tube in the center of your toilet’s tank. It’s meant to drain excess water into the toilet bowl should the tank overfill. With time, the overflow tube can develop cracks, which could cause the tank to constantly drain water into the bowl. This lowers the level of water in the tank, which results in slow, sluggish flushing. If you spot cracks in the overflow tube, replace it.

Check the Fill Valve Assembly

If your toilet doesn’t completely flush, the problem could be the fill valve. Start by checking the fill valve’s float. Depending on the style of the valve, this could be a bulb on the end of a metal rod, or it could be a circular float that fits around the fill valve itself. The float is designed to shut off the fill valve when the water reaches a certain level in the tank. If the float is improperly adjusted or if it has become stuck, it won’t rise when the water level rises, which could result in an underfilled tank and poor flushing.

Underfilling can also happen if the fill valve itself is clogged. To check this, flush the toilet so that water drains from the tank, then watch the fill valve to see if water is flowing from it as it should.

Check each of these things, and you’re likely to find the reason your toilet doesn’t flush well. If none of these solutions fix the problem, you may need to call in a professional — or possibly upgrade your toilet. For the best in new toilets, be sure to shop the selection at Modern Bathroom.

How To Descale A Shower Head

Have you ever noticed a crusty buildup on your showerhead? This is almost always what is known as limescale buildup. It’s caused by minerals building up on your showerhead each time you use it, kind of like how stalagmites form, only in miniature.

When the problem gets bad enough, you’ll notice issues with the way the water flows from the shower head. In serious cases, jets may clog entirely. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to descale your showerhead — or replace it if the problem has gotten bad enough to warrant it.

Read below to learn more. 

How to Descale a Shower Head That Is Fixed

If your shower head is fixed, you’ll need to get a bit creative. The best way to descale a shower head is to soak it in something that will dissolve the minerals. Vinegar works. For heavy-duty descaling, you can also purchase limescale removers.

To decalcify a shower head that is fixed, you will need a freezer bag, your removal product of choice and some rubber bands. Fill the bag with the descaling product, then use the rubber bands to bind the bag tightly to the showerhead so that the jets are soaking in the descaling product.

Let it soak for about an hour, then remove the bag and turn the water on to flush the cleaning product and dissolved lime. If there are stubborn bits of scale remaining, use a toothbrush to scrub them. A paperclip or pin will work to clean jets that are filled with scale. 

How to Decalcify a Shower Head That Is Detached or Removable

This process works the same as above: Choose a descaling product, vinegar or something commercially available. Soak the shower head for about one hour, then use a toothbrush and running water to flush the cleansing product and remove the last bits of scale. During the soaking process, however, you can use a bowl or bucket to submerge the shower head, which is quite a bit easier than using a bag and rubber band!

If it’s a removable shower head, be sure to have the right tools on hand to remove it and reinstall it. You’ll need channel lock pliers to twist the shower head loose. Once you’ve removed it, clean any grime or bits of leftover plumber’s tape that may be on the threads. When it’s time to reinstall it, you’ll need plumber’s tape and pliers. Wrap the tape around the pipe’s threads (this will help prevent leaks) and use the pliers to tighten the shower head. Take care to avoid overtightening.

Preventing Limescale on Shower Heads

Limescale buildup can be tough to remove — prevention is much easier. Purchase shower heads that use specialized materials to prevent the buildup from happening, or you can turn descaling into a once weekly part of your cleaning routine.

To add it to your routine, you’ll need a spray bottle of your favorite commercial descaling product or white vinegar, plus a toothbrush. Spray shower heads with your cleanser, give them a quick scrub with the toothbrush, and rinse. This removes small bits of buildup quickly and easily so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time soaking and scrubbing a few months down the road.

Use these methods to remove limescale buildup on your shower heads. If the problem is severe enough, you can always purchase a new shower head. Be sure to check out Modern Bathroom’s line of shower heads and sprayers. We have a full line of products to help you create the perfect shower experience.

How To Replace A Bathroom Vanity Light

There are lots of reasons you might need to know how to replace a vanity light. It may not be giving you quite enough light, or perhaps you’re looking to upgrade your bathroom’s style. Sometimes light fixtures break — and nobody wants to be inconvenienced by nonfunctional lighting, which means the time for a change is now.

If you’re wondering how to replace a vanity light fixture, the process is relatively straightforward. Take caution, though — you will be working with electrical components, which means extra safety measures will be required. When you’re ready to get started, read below and we’ll walk you through the process.

Safety First

Changing a bathroom vanity light is one of those jobs that many DIYers can handle — but if the prospect makes you nervous, there’s no shame in hiring a professional to do it. Knowing your limits and taking extra care when dealing with electrical fixtures could help you avoid injuries or even a fire.

If you decide to do the job yourself, you’ll need to make sure that the electricity to the fixture is shut off at the breaker box. To do this, start by turning the bathroom light on. Shut off the electricity at the breaker box, then verify that the light went off when you flipped the breaker. Then, turn the light switch off as an extra safeguard in case someone unknowingly turns the breaker back on — and make sure that you warn everyone in your household to leave the light switch and breaker box alone until the job is finished.

How to Replace a Bathroom Vanity Light: Removing the Old Fixture

Now that you’ve taken some safety precautions, it’s time to get started. The first thing you’ll want to do is open the packaging for your new light fixture, so that you can verify that it has all the parts needed to complete the job. Also, check to make sure that enough wiring sticks out from the back of the new fixture, so you’ll be able to attach it to the wires within the wall.

Next, you’ll need to remove the old light fixture. Take off any glass shades so they don’t break, and remove the lightbulbs. Use gloves if the bulbs are hot or if there is broken glass. Look for screws that attach the fixture to the wall — sometimes these can be hidden along the rims of a flange or beneath decorative caps. You may also find thumb screws to remove a decorative plate that conceals the main attachments.

When the original light fixture is free from the wall, you’ll be able to undo the wiring that connects it. If you have a voltage tester, use it to confirm that the electricity is off — otherwise, you can always doublecheck the light switch and breaker box to confirm that the electricity is still off. Then, gently pull the wires out of the junction box within the wall and undo the wire nuts joining them.

Once you’ve finished with this, check the wires protruding from the wall and make sure the ends of the wires are in good shape — not overly frayed or damaged. If the wires are badly frayed, you can use a wire cutter to snip away the damaged section, then strip off the wire’s coating to leave about 1/2 inch of the wire exposed.

Installing Your New Light Fixture

Attaching the new fixture follows a similar process to removing the old one, but in reverse. Make sure to adhere to package instructions as you complete this job. Get started by attaching the fixture’s wires to the wires in the wall using wire nuts. When you have each wire nut in place, give the wires a gentle tug to ensure that they are snug and won’t come loose later.

Next, install the new light fixture’s mounting system. This will usually involve a bracket and screws to attach the fixture to the wall. Once you have it in place according to package instructions, continue following those instructions to add any decorative covers, shades or other components.

By the end, all you’ll need to do is put in the light bulbs and install the shades, if applicable. When all of this is finished, give the light fixture a close look to make sure everything has been installed correctly. You’ll then be able to turn on the circuit breaker to the bathroom, followed by the switch for that light fixture to verify that the light is working.

Whether you’re wondering how to change a bathroom vanity light and looking for new fixtures, or you want to make a major upgrade to your bathroom, shop the selection at Modern Bathroom. We have everything you need to make your upgrades — including beautiful vanities to elevate your bathroom’s style.

How To Put Up A Shower Curtain Rod

Need a new curtain rod for your bathroom? Then you’ll need to learn how to put up a shower curtain rod — and before you get started on that, you’ll need to learn about the different types of rods available. There are several varieties, each with unique benefits. Read below to learn how to choose a new shower rod and how to install it.

Types of Shower Curtain Rods

Before you learn how to put up a shower rod, get started by choosing the right type of rod for your bathroom. There are several types, including:

  • Fixed Shower Rods: These are the most popular shower rods because, once in place, they stay put even if you use a heavy curtain or tug on the curtain occasionally. Fixed rods come in a variety of styles, and what makes them fixed is the fact that they are permanently fastened to the wall.
  • Tension Rods: As opposed to fixed shower rods, tension rods are not permanently fastened to shower walls. Instead, the rod is wedged between the shower walls. While they are prone to dislodging or occasionally damaging drywall, they are easy to install quickly.
  • Curved Shower Rods: These rods have a horizontal arch to them — and they’re nearly always a fixed rod. Curved rods are useful for the rare cases in which tubs or showers have a curve, but more often, curved rods are installed on rectangular tubs or showers that feel cramped. The outward curve provides a little more room in the shower, especially if you find that you’re always bumping your elbow or shoulder on the curtain.
  • Multi-Positional Shower Rods: This is a type of curved rod that rotates, so you can flip it if a regular curved rod sticks out into the bathroom too much. These are ideal for small bathrooms. When showering, flip the rod outward to give yourself more room in the shower, and, when you’ve finished, flip the rod inward to make more space in the bathroom.

The types of rods above are the most common available, though you may find specialty rods or custom-designed rods on occasion. Below, you’ll learn how to install each shower rod.

How to Install a Curved Shower Curtain Rod or Fixed Rod

The instructions for how to install a curved shower rod are the same as installing a straight rod. You’ll need a drill to make holes, a tape measure and a screwdriver. A level could also be helpful to make sure that the rod is installed straight.

Start by measuring the height from the floor and marking the places where you’ll need to install the rod’s mounting brackets. Once you have the areas marked, hold up the shower rod and use the level to ensure that your installation will be level.

Next, use the drill to make pilot holes for the mounting brackets. From here, you’ll need to follow the rod’s manufacturer instructions to install the mounting brackets and then position the rod on those brackets. Many shower rod kits come with decorative flanges to cover the mounting brackets, so once the rod is in place, make sure those flanges are secure. When you’ve finished, hang up your shower curtain and you’ll be ready to use the new shower rod.

Installing Tension Shower Rods

Installing a tension shower rod is a quick and easy process that should take you only a few minutes — and you likely won’t need any tools. However, you will need to take care to work carefully if you’re installing this type of rod with drywall walls, since these rods can potentially damage drywall.

To install a tension rod, you’ll need to twist one section of the rod while holding the other section in place. This should lengthen or shorten the rod, as needed. Hold the rod where it needs to be installed, and twist to lengthen it until it is firmly in place between the shower walls. If need be, use a level to ensure that you have installed it horizontally. Once the rod is snug, twist it another quarter turn to ensure that it is tightly in place.

After you’ve installed it, you can hang up your shower curtain. Tug on the curtain slightly to make sure that it isn’t too heavy for the rod and to ensure that the rod doesn’t slip. If the rod does slip, you’ll need to tighten it again to keep it in place. The same holds true if these rods slip during day-to-day use of the shower — just tighten the rod a bit more to keep it from moving.

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, you’ll probably want new shower curtains — and maybe a new tub or shower, too. Be sure to shop Modern Bathroom’s selection of tubs and showers. Among our collection, you’re sure to find a piece perfect for your home.

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