There's a reason the toilet is also called the throne: you need to treat it with respect or you'll end up in trouble. The Internet is full of do-it-yourself hacks for fixing and cleaning your toilet. But not all tips are created equal.
Here are a few things not to do if you don't want to have a plumber on call for frequent drain repair.
Don't Flush Tampons or Disposable Wipes
Tampons and disposable wipes often have the word "flushable" right there on the packaging. And it's true that flushing one tampon or wipe won't have any negative impact on your toilet or plumbing. But the problem comes in when you flush these items regularly.
Disposable wipes don't dissolve in the water the way that toilet paper does. So flushing a large number of wipes in a short time period can lead to a clogged pipe that will require either a wet/dry vacuum or a plumber with a snake. Tampons are an even worse idea since they are designed to soak up liquid and thus expand. You don't want a backlog of expanding cotton stuck in your pipes.
Don't Leave Cleaning Tablets in the Tank
A wide range of toilet cleaning products exists and all of them tout advantages to the competition. Bleaching tablets are advertised as a quick-fix cleaner that only requires you to pop the tab into the water and wait for the results. But it isn't made clear that these tablets should only be used in the bowl of the toilet.
You might be tempted to use the tablets in the tank to clean an often forgotten and under-cleaned area. Resist this temptation. The chemicals in the cleaner can cause damage to the internal mechanisms in the tank that are vital to your toilet functioning. No, one tablet isn't going to take out your flapper – that rubber thing at the bottom that opens to let water into the bowl. But frequent use could require you to replace a bunch of equipment that was fine before your cleaning experiments.
Don't Put a Heavy Object in Tank to Save Water
You might need to find a way to lower your water usage for either environment or financial concerns. Putting a brick in your toilet tank is not the way to achieve this result despite its popularity. The brick falsely elevates the water level in the tank, which tricks the float into thinking that it doesn't need to allow any more water in to store for flushing.
This will work if you try it. But the problem is that bricks aren't always the cleanest items and will deteriorate over time if left submerged. This means you can have bits of abrasive brick floating through your toilet and pipes, which isn't the best idea.
Instead of using the brick trick, use a waterproof half-gallon container with a lid. Fill that container with water, put on the lid, and place the container in the tank to turn your toilet into a low-flush variety.
If you've done any or all of these things and your toilet doesn't seem to flush correctly regardless of what you try, call in a drain repair professional (such as one from Shanks A & G Plumbing & Heating Ltd) to rectify the situation.