What’s a situation that nobody wants to deal with? When you go to flush your toilet and suddenly the water won’t go down. You’re caught in that awkward moment…wondering why it’s clogged and hoping that it won’t begin to overflow.
Although a toilet that won’t flush properly is often easy to repair, most people panic. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the main reasons your toilet won’t flush properly and how you can help resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Let’s get started.
Problem #1: Your toilet handle is disconnected
If you flush your toilet and nothing happens, then you know something is wrong. The good news is that the issue is likely with your toilet handle and not with your toilet itself. This problem is usually one of the easiest to resolve. If you can’t hear or see any water moving when you press the handle, then it just means your toilet handle is disconnected.
When you open your toilet tank, you’ll see that the flushing handle is connected to a little arm and chain that lifts the flapper. Pressing the handle causes the toilet flapper to raise and water to dump into the bowl. If there’s a broken link in a chain or a loose nut, this can disconnect the handle from the flapper. To fix this problem, all you need to do is reconnect a couple of basic parts, and you’ll be back in service!
Problem #2: Your tank’s water level is too low
Your tank’s water level impacts your toilet’s ability to function properly because it can’t flush water out that doesn’t exist. To see if the water level is an issue, check the toilet tank in the back of the toilet. The water should always be roughly one inch below the top of your overflow tube.
If the water level is too low, then there are a couple of ways you can remedy it. You can twist the flush valve to ensure that it’s able to get the water it needs to flush. You can also check the float ball, which may have been improperly adjusted. If this is the case, it may have sunk too low in the tank which would have signalled the tank was full before it really is.
If neither of these are the problems, then there may be issues with water pressure, pipe leaks, or other problems that would require assistance from a plumber.
Problem #3: Your flapper or fill valve continues to run
Sometimes your toilet flushes normally, but then you hear it running for minutes afterward. In fact, it may run for so long that the next time you go to flush the toilet it won’t work. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can also wastewater. How do you fix this?
This issue may occur if your flapper seal is bent or cracked. You can repair this fairly easily by replacing it. Another problem you may encounter is hard water built up inside your fill valve. If this was the case, then the build-up would keep it from shutting off properly.
Problem #4: Your toilet is clogged
When your toilet doesn’t flush properly, one of the most obvious problems is clogging.
Keep in mind that toilets are only designed to handle certain types and amounts of waste. If sanitary products, children’s toilets, or large amounts of toilet paper make their way down your toilet, then you’ll need to clear the clog before it can be flushed properly. You may be able to do this yourself with a toilet brush, or a plumber can help with a toilet auger for more stubborn clogs.
Problem #5: Your drain line isn’t working
Finally, it’s possible that everything may be functioning perfectly, and your toilet still won’t flush at all. Why is this?
In all likelihood, the issue would be with your drain line, which is deep within your plumbing. Drain lines move waste to your sewer or septic can and experience a myriad of different issues. You’ll know if your drain line is the issue if the drains aren’t working all over the house. You may notice that your sinks, showers, and tubs have water backing up into them, or they may be draining slowly.
Like a toilet, a drain line can become clogged. To remedy this, you’d need a plumber to use an extra-long auger to clean it. If the drain line is broken or leaking, then it can also keep your toilet from flushing. You may also want to keep an eye out for trees or other roots in your yard as these can grow into the drain line as well. If this occurs, then you may need to replace the entire drain line section.
Problem #6: Your inlet holes are blocked
A toilet’s inlet holes are located under the lip of the toilet bowl. Water pours from these holes when the toilet is flushed. Thus, when they’re clogged, you lose water and prevent the toilet from flushing. If you don’t see water streaming from the sides of the bowl, then there’s a good chance they’re either blocked or clogged. Likewise, you may find this to be an issue if the water streams straight down instead of diagonally. Keep an eye for both issues!
To remedy this, hold a small mirror under the seat of the toilet and examine the inlet holes. You can unclog them by heating up 10-12 ounces of white vinegar and using a funnel to pour the vinegar down the overflow tube. For best results, let the vinegar sit for at least an hour (or overnight) without flushing. Then, use a small Allen wrench or a piece of wire to clear the inlet holes.
These six problems can prevent your toilet from flushing properly. While some of these problems are easy at-home fixes, others will require the assistance of a licensed plumber.
For help repairing your toilet, visit parkerandsonsltd.co.uk for more helpful tips.