Having a toilet that does not flush properly can be highly frustrating! A clogged toilet is inconvenient, leaves a mess in your toilet bowl and can waste water if you constantly flush it. If you’re having a problem with the toilet not flushing or running toilet, there is no need to panic, and more often than not, it’s due to a minor issue that can be easily fixed on the spot.
Here are some common toilet flush issues and tips on correcting these problems with most toilets. These tips are great for trying at home and don’t forget to contact your trusty local plumber if you feel the toilet needs extra TLC.
Figuring out the problem that’s preventing a toilet from flushing properly can be annoying. Here are the common reasons your toilet won’t flush:
- Blocked toilet
- Low water level
- The flush button is broken
- Something’s wrong with the outlet valve
- Blocked pipe sewer line — roots, broken pipes, pipe belly
A blockage can be the most common issue your toilet will have when it does not flush. Toilet papers flushed down when they shouldn’t be, is the usual cause of clogs in your toilet. Even if it says on the package of your tissues and wipes they’re safe for flushing — they’re not. They’re made not to tear easily, and thus, this makes them hard to break so they can pass through your pipes. So avoid using too much toilet paper.
Mineral deposits, other materials or debris flushed down the toilet bowl can cause your headache too. Unknown to you, your children could’ve accidentally dropped paper towels, wet wipes or their toys and flushed them, causing the clog. Or you dropped a soap bar and thought it melted away. Some might have, but residues could be solidified and are now stuck in your pipes.
Overfilling it with toilet paper or accidentally flushing a foreign matter down is straightforward. This will make it hard to flush as the blockage makes it hard for the water to pass. To unblock your toilet, you can use a plunger a few times to create suction, loosen up the material, and give the flush another go.
Low Water Level
Lift the toilet cistern lid. If the water level in the cistern may indicate a worn-out cistern inlet valve on the outlet washer, causing the water refilling the cistern to leak into the bowl. But ensure it’s not a water supply issue. The toilet won’t perform a full flush without a water supply.
The water level in a toilet’s tank should be approximately one inch below the top of the tank’s overflow tube. The toilet tank won’t fill up if there is a leak. Alternatively, if the Inlet valve is faulty, it is not filling up the toilet tank effectively. Replacing these parts usually does the trick. These can be purchased at your local hardware and supply store, such as Reece Plumbing or Bunnings.
Flush Button and Outlet Valve
Check the flush mechanism of your toilet. There may be a broken toilet flush handle or button. Check that the lift chain is connecting the toilet handle to the flapper. The flush lever, which lifts the outlet valve to flush water in the tank, can have a faulty lift chain or become detached or stuck from continuous use, dirt and grime. If your toilet flapper (the part that opens and lets the water flow into the toilet bowl) and your fill valve show no signs of a problem but there’s too much slack in the line, it won’t react when you try to flush. Regular cleaning with soapy water or replacing the flush lever will do the trick. The flush lever activates the outlet valve, and if the actual valve itself has deteriorated, the water valve will not be able to release the water down the cistern. Again you can purchase a new flush lever or outlet valve from your local hardware store and replace the parts yourself.
Assess your toilet drain pipe design. This may also be the cause. A toilet drain must have a downward slope for wastewater to flow quickly out of the toilet bowl, through the pipes and to the main sewer line.
But if you have exhausted all these options above and your toilet is still not flushing, it may be an underlying issue in your pipes connecting to the toilet. Having tree roots in your pipes or a crack will cause the toilet to block up and the water to drain slowly. All your drains and pipes are connected in your home, and if your toilet has had a flush issue for quite some time, then having your local licensed plumber look at your pipes is the best option. Using high-tech CCTV cameras, the plumber can thoroughly investigate and fix blocked drains or pipes and determine why your toilet is not flushing.
If your toilet continues to be stubborn and won’t flush through an easy fix, you could try doing the following:
- Try a particular toilet or drain cleaning enzyme or chemical product
- Cook up your mix of baking soda and vinegar
- Buy or borrow an exceptional plumbing 'snake', toilet auger or toilet plunger to get deeper into that drain
- Try a wet vacuum
If these tips helped you solve your toilet flushing problem, then great, pat yourself on the back! But if your toilet still doesn’t flush, don’t panic. It’s time to call a professional plumber or a toilet repair expert to fix the problem. Get in touch with the Fixed Today team for your expert plumbing service in Sydney!