How to Fix a Non-Flushing Toilet

If your toilet cannot flush properly, that’s a huge problem that can have unsanitary consequences for your home. Fixing a toilet flush in some cases is a pretty simple DIY task if you have confidence and some basic tools. If you cannot get the toilet flushing properly, it’s time to call your local professional certified plumber and they can fix it for you.

5 Common Reasons Why the Toilet is Not Flushing

When the toilet will not flush properly, there are five common reasons why this may be happening:

1.   The Toilet is Clogged

If the toilet is clogged, there may be something blocking the drainage pipe. This can be an object that was flushed accidentally, too much toilet paper, or a tree root intrusion further in the plumbing system. This is a very common problem in homes with small kids where impromptu swimming sessions with toys have undesirable consequences. A toilet is only designed to remove human waste and toilet paper and anything beyond that should go in the trash.

2.   The Flapper Assembly is Not Working

When you lift the toilet tank, you can see the toilet flapper assembly clearly. This is usually a chain or plastic lever that connects the toilet flushing assembly to the flush lever. If this component is misaligned, improperly installed, or broken, the toilet may not flush as intended. The chain can become unconnected and rehooking this chain takes a moment to fix. If there is too much slack in the chain, this can also prevent proper toilet flushing. The chain slack should be no more than ½”, and shortening the chain is simple if you just unhook it and move it along a link or two.

3.   Insufficient Water in the Toilet Bowl

If the toilet bowl has too little water, there will not be sufficient volume to flush the waste into the drain. Many modern toilets require up to 80% of the toilet water volume to fully flush the waste clear. If you have less than that, you may have a partial flush, and some material may remain. Of course, this can be removed with a second flush, but you’re using more water when you do this, and this is an inefficient use of your water supply. The main cause of this problem is a leaky fill valve, or it may be a clogged vent stack issue. Make sure that there are no cracks in the overflow tube and that the fill valve is in good shape.

4.   Clogged Toilet Rim Holes

There are small rim holes under and around the edge of the toilet bowl. These holes are where the flushing water enters the toilet bowl to push the waste into the drain. If they are clogged, your toilet cannot flush correctly, and they need to be cleaned. Pouring white vinegar into the flush outlet valve in the water tank can dissolve any accumulated deposits that are causing the clogs safely.

5.   The Toilet Tank is Not Filling

The toilet tank must fill to ensure that the toilet has sufficient volume for an efficient flush. If the tank is not filling, this is usually caused by a fill valve or float arm issue. If the float arm is stuck, it can be gently moved, and in many cases, this will fix the problem. If the fill valve is faulty, it should be replaced as a priority.

If you’ve followed the tips here and you still have a problem with your toilet flush, it’s time to contact your local professional plumber.