rear discharge toilet problems

4 Rear Discharge Toilet Problems & Solutions

A rear discharge toilet is excellent if you live in a high-rise apartment or your bathroom or home is far from your neighborhood’s sewer line. While these toilets give you a sleeker bathroom without visible pipes, you should know how to troubleshoot rear discharge toilet problems.

Common rear discharge toilet problems include continuous running, leakages, clogs, and loose handles. Troubleshooting and fixing these issues helps restore a back-flush toilet.

The best part is you can DIY these problems helping you save money. Below is a walk-through on solving these problems. 

Rear Discharge Toilet Problems & Solutions

The table below summarizes rear discharge toilet problems and their recommended fixes. 

Problem Possible Cause Recommended Fix
1. Toilet running continuously
  • Worn-out flapper
  • Disconnected or kinked lift chain
  • Lack of proper spacing between the float ball and the tank
  • Too high water levels in the tank
  • Replace the worn-out flapper
  • Connect the lift chain
  • Adjust the water level
2. Leaking
  • Faulty wax ring
  • Loose water lines 
  • Loose tank nuts
  • Replace the wax ring
  • Tighten the tank nuts
3. Clogging Debris buildup Use a plunger
4. Loose toilet handle
  • Disconnected chain
  • Loose tank connection between the tank and the handle
  • Reconnect the chain
  • Tighten the nut


1. Rear Discharge Toilet Running Continuously

Like other toilets, a rear discharge unit features a wire or lift chain that seats the flapper properly. If the lift chain or wire kinks, breaks, or disconnects from the flapper, you will hear constant sounds of running water from your fixture, a sign that it is running continually. 

Secondly, too high water levels in the toilet tank pose a risk of your toilet running continuously. When the water exceeds the indicator in the tank, water will spill into the overflow tube and trigger more problems. 

Moreover, the lack of proper spacing between the float ball and the side of the toilet tank is also something that should get your attention. If you do not factor in sufficient space between the ball and the tank, the ball will rub against the tank side, resulting in your fixture running without stopping. 

Rear discharge toilets boast plungers and diaphragm-type ballcocks that shut to regulate water getting into the tank. If the ballcocks fail to close completely, water will keep passing through the component, and you’ll hear the unending sounds of a running toilet. 

Besides that, leaking float balls and old or worn-out flappers are also culprits in this “crime.” 


  • Make sure there is a proper gap between the float ball and the side of the toilet tank. 
  • Fix the broken wire or lift chain attached to the flapper. 
  • Make sure the ballcock shuts completely. Bend the rod connecting to the float ball slightly so that the ball faces downward and causes the ballcock to close.
  • If you use newly collared types, squeeze the spring clip and shift the float up and down. 
  • Adjust the water level in the toilet tank to the recommended level. 
  • Replace worn-out flappers and leaking float balls. 

2. Toilet Leaking

Like other toilet models, rear discharge toilets are not strangers to water leaks. Leaking in these models is exhibited by water pooling around the base or behind the fixture. 

Water accumulating at the bottom of the toilet signifies loose tank nuts begging for tightening. A faulty wax ring will also trigger the same results. On the other hand, water behind the unit shows you have loose water lines connecting to the fixture. 

Water leaking onto your floor exposes it to mold growth and considerable damage risks. Therefore, act with speed when you notice this rear discharge toilet problem. 


  • Use a wrench to tighten loose fittings on the water lines connecting to the toilet. 
  • Tighten the tank nuts. 

If the leaking problem came as a result of a defective or old wax ring, follow these steps to fix it:

  • Cut off the water supply to the toilet. 
  • Flush the toilet while pressing the tank lever down to drain water from the tank. 
  • Stop water from getting back into the toilet. 
  • Use a wrench to loosen the nuts. 
  • Disconnect the water supply hose from the 3/8-inch compression nut and the fill valve. 
  • Place protective cardboard on the floor.
  • Thread a flathead screwdriver underneath the caps covering the bolts and washers. 
  • Get someone to help you twist and unseat the toilet bowl, lifting it upward from the wax ring and over the bolts. 
  • Place the toilet on the cardboard and make it lie on its side or the back. 
  • Use rags to soak water dripping from the fixture. 
  • Use a putty knife to scrap wax from the flange and at the base of the toilet., then use a cloth to clean the same area. It will help you apply an effective seal. 
  • Slip new bolts on the sides of the floor flange. 
  • Slide plastic washers over the bolts. 
  • Set the wax paper over the two bolts after removing it from the bottom of the seal. 
  • Press the seal down gently to make it adhere to the flange. 
  • Set the toilet in an upright position, lifting it slowly over the flange and finally placing it down. 
  • Place a metal washer and a plastic washer on the bolts, respectively. Do the same for the bolt nut. 
  • Use your hands to tighten the nuts. 
  • Reset the toilet and tighten the bolts. 
  • Restore the water supply to the tank and allow it to refill. 
  • Flush the toilet and check for any leaks. 

3. Loose Toilet Handles

When a toilet handle spins or jiggles effortlessly, it’s evident that it is loose. It stems from two areas. 

First, the nut adhering to the toilet tank to the handle could be reversely threaded and loosened in the course of its operation. Another reason you may have a jiggling toilet handle is the tank harbors a disconnected chain. 


  • Lift the toilet tank cover and place it aside. 
  • Cut off the water supply to the toilet. 
  • Flush your toilet to drain the tank. 
  • Find the loose toilet nut and use a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to tighten it. 
  • Reconnect the chain. 

4. Rear Discharge Toilet Clogging

Even though clogging wraps up the problems with back-flushing toilets, users will tell you it is a common drawback. You need to unclog a back flush toilet if it overflows during flushing. 


  • Make a seal around the hole of your toilet bowl and use a plunger to apply upward and downward pressure. 
  • If the clog still lingers in the toilet, drain the toilet bowl. Use a mirror and flashlight to ensure you removed the blockage. 

What Are Rear Discharge Toilets?

Conventional toilets employ connections located below the bowl. On the other hand, rear discharge toilets make use of connections at the backside of the bowl and attach to plumbing rough-ins on bathroom walls. 

Rear discharge toilets use gravity to discharge waste through the drainage lines. It differs from regular toilets sitting on top of rough-ins connecting to the plumbing that links to the septic system or the municipal sewage system. 

Final Remarks On Rear Discharge Toilet Problems

Rear discharge toilets are water-efficient toilets that use gravity to force waste down the drains. However, you need to know how to troubleshoot problems like leaking, clogging, loose toilet handles, and toilet running continuously to be on the safe side. 

Related Articles:

Scroll to Top