Urinal Repair: Troubleshoot Urinal Plumbing Problems

Men's bathroom with a row of urinals

Most urinal repair is quite elementary, requiring very little understanding of plumbing mechanics. The main water line is cold water feed only and attaches to a flush handle that releases the water into the bowl. The flush handle is operated on a spring valve that allows a preset amount of water into the urinal, and the liquid uses gravity to flush the waste into the sewer drain. Here are some common issues along with likely solutions.

1. Backed Up Drain

If your urinal repair involves a backed up liquid level in the bowl, then it is likely that the drain holes are clogged, or the main drain line has built up sediment preventing proper drainage. Check the clean out pipes that lead to the vent stack after clearing the drain holes in the urinal itself. This can be plunged to knock clogs free with a plunger and potentially free up the system and allow it to drain. if clearing the urinal drain holes does not fix the problem, you will want to check the main drain line for blockages.

2. Low Flush Pressure

If the unit does not release enough water to push waste down the drain, you can simply turn up the water flow on the regulator. This is located at different locations near the bottom of the urinal's intake line. This line is the water intake, which should have a valve to regulate the amount of water flow allowed into the system, and opening this valve wider can complete your urinal repair.

3. High Volumes of Water

man looking down into a urinal

If too much water comes through the lines, simply turn the water intake pressure down, by turning the knob on the fresh water feed. Again, this is a valve located where the fresh water intake meets the base of the urinal. Turning this knob open and close will regulate the water flow to the urinal basin.

4. Strange Noises

Strange noises that erupt during a flush can involve sediment or obstructions in the water line. Old buildings generally have old pipes, which will lose flakes of metal from their insides over time. These metal flakes can be pushed through the system by the water pressure into the smaller nylon hoses used for toilets, sinks and urinals. Once these lines are clogged, the water flow to the toilet will be at a slow crawl, followed by back water pressure noises until the lines are cleared. This urinal repair involves turning off the main water line and clearing any flakes of iron and sediment from the intake hoses.

5. Inability to Flush

If the urinal does not flush at all, it is likely that the main intake line is off or there is a break in the system somewhere. The water comes in through the urinal by way of water pressure. If the main water line is shut off or there is a break in the water pipes, then there will be no pressure to push water through to the drainage bowl. This urinal repair may involve replacing pipes or valves throughout the main water line to the bathroom in question.