What To Do When My Toilet Won’t Flush

One of the most common problems in your bathroom is – my toilet is not flushing. Now, the problem may not be a complex one and you may try several tips to fix it before calling a plumber.

My Toilet Won’t Flush: How To Fix It Without Hiring A Plumber?

Sometimes after many years of usage, your toilet may show some problems suddenly. Now, even a new toilet may also not flush. There could be two reasons – 1) external and 2) internal.

The external reasons are easy to check. But to check your toilet’s internal flushing mechanism, you just have to open the lid. You would find there – a flapper, lift chain, fill valve, an overflow tube, and a float. Apart from that two pipes will be there – one pipe through which water enters the cistern and another pipe through which water goes to the sewer.

To fix your toilet flushing problem, you need to understand the flushing mechanism. Then, you can follow the below tips to check – what exactly is wrong with your toilet.

1) Water Shut-off Valve: Is It Working Properly?

The most common problem is that your toilet may not have enough water to flush. Now, there is a shut-off valve that supplies water to your toilet tank or cistern. Sometimes during cleaning or because of some friction, this valve may not work properly. As a result, your toilet may not have enough water to flush.

To fix this problem, you just need to check whether your shut-off valve is working or not! Usually, you may find it behind the toilet and it would be on the wall. Now, try to move its head to the left. This means you just have to check if this shut-off valve is turned on or not.

After that, check the water flow in the tank. If you find that the water has filled your tank and the flow is good, then this problem is fixed.

2) Water Level Inside The Cistern

The water level inside the cistern (the water tank in your toilet) should not be too low. If the water level goes down, then the flush won’t work. So, you have to allow more water into the cistern.

Method One – There is an arm on the float that is connected to a fill valve. Now, this arm can regulate the flow of the water and it can determine the level of the water inside the cistern. Try to bend this arm. After bending the arm, you may allow more water to fill the tank. As a result, you can now flush your tank without any problem.

Method Two – There could be another problem regarding the isolation valve. On the supply pipe, you may notice an isolation valve. This valve allows water into your toilet. Hence, you should check whether this isolation valve is turned on or not. Try to adjust the valve. So that your toilet receives a good flow.

3) Clogged Pipe: Check and Unclog It

This is one of the most common reasons behind – why your toilet is not flushing! Usually, cotton pads, debris, and toilet paper may get stuck in the pipe. As a result, you may observe that the bowl is not emptying quickly. If you notice such a problem, then it could be time to unclog the toilet pipe.

Method One – You may have to use a plunger to unclog the pipe. But before using the plunger, you need to check the level of water in the bowl. Because if the water level is high in the bowl, then it may overflow. Now, the head of your plunger (flange), should fit tightly on the drain. Try to plunge it for more than 20 seconds. After that, flush your toilet. If the bowl is getting empty properly, then you may have fixed the clogged pipe. But if you still notice the slow flushing, then you should plunge it two or three times more. There are two types of plungers in the market – cup plungers and flange plungers. Try to use a flange plunger to clean the pipes.

Method Two – Sometimes a plunger may not be the best way to unclog the toilet pipe. In that case, you can use a toilet auger. A toilet auger looks like a snake and it has a flexible body. So, you can just use its handle to push the auger into your toilet pipe. Then you can twist it or move the handle up and down to clean the pipe. If your toilet pipe has got a strong blockage, then this auger can clean it.

Method Three – You may have to try this method if a plunger and an auger fail. You just have to buy artificial chemical toilet cleaners from the store. Then you have to pour it into your bowl. After the recommended time, your toilet pipe may get unclogged. Some debris can be chemically broken down. Hence, you may try this artificial way of unclogging your toilet pipe.

4) Flapper: Check and Replace It

A toilet may have a leak. Usually, a flapper is red-colored and it looks like a rubber balloon (inflated). If this part degrades over time, then your toilet tank may not be able to hold water.

To check whether the flapper is working or not, you should listen to any kind of water-leaking sound. Apart from that, if the water level in your toilet tank goes down now and then, this could also mean that your flapper is not working.

So, buy a flapper from a store and try to replace your tank’s flapper. A flapper may have a minimum or maximum level. You can adjust the level before replacing it.

After replacing the flapper fill your tank and check the level of water. Now, if your tank can hold the water level, then you may have fixed the problem.

5) Lift Chain: Check and Adjust It

The lift chain is a part of your toilet tank and to check it you have to open the lid of your toilet tank. The function of the lift chain is to release water when you press the toilet button.

Now, if this chain is too tight, then the flapper may not function properly. On the other hand, if this chain is too loose, then it may not be able to dump water completely.

So, open the lid of your toilet tank and try to adjust the lift chain. You may notice that there is a clip. You have to slip the chain into the right hole to make a perfect adjustment. Thus, you can adjust the lift chain and your toilet could be flushing again.

6) Inlet Holes: Check and Unclog Them

Your toilet bowl has a rim and beneath that rim, there are inlet holes. These holes help the water to move at a particular angle. So that, your toilet rinses properly.

Now, if you notice, your toilet tank is not draining fast or your bowl is not flowing even after you have flushed, then the inlet holes might be clogged.

You can use a mirror to check whether there is mineral buildup or not. The color of these holes may change over time. For example – they may have an orange or brownish color.

To clean these holes, you need a scrubber or a toothpick. Apart from that, you can also use a wire to clean these holes.

Bleach and water solution may also work. Just pour the solution into the overflow tube and flush it after some minutes. In this way, you can unclog the inlet holes and you may get rid of the – ‘toilet won’t flush’ problem.

7) Pouring Hot Water

This tip may help you to unclog the toilet pipe easily. You may not have a plunger or any other tools to unclog the pipe. So, try this method.

You just need – hot water and dish soap. Take a gallon of water and heat it. Then you have to take a cup of dish soap and you have to pour it into the bowl or toilet water. After that pour the hot water into the bowl.

Now, the solution will take about 15 to 20 minutes to work. The solution can soften a minor clog. So, flush your toilet. If there had been a minor clog, then the solution may unclog it.

8) Fill Valve: Check and Replace It

A fill valve is an automatic system in your toilet tank. The system uses a float that helps to stop the flow of water when a certain level is reached. Without the fill valve, your toilet tank may not have water.

So, check if the float is properly working or not. The float may look like a ball at the end of a metal rod. After that, you should check whether the fill valve is itself clogged or not. Now, without the fill valve and the float your toilet’s water tank or cistern may not function properly. Hence, you should check these parts to flush water in the right way.

9) The Toilet Button or Handle

“Why my toilet won’t flush” – could be because of a simple reason. The reason is – the toilet button that you press to flush out may be broken or disconnected. Even if your toilet has a handle that you press to flush your toilet, could have a problem.

So, you should first check if the toilet button or handle is working or not. If the button is stuck or the handle is moving freely, then there could be a problem and you may have to replace the button or reconnect it. Sometimes only by replacing the washer, you can fix this button or handle.

10) Overflow Tube: Check It

An overflow tube keeps your toilet tank’s water level in check. Whenever the tank overfills itself, this overflow tube drains the excess water. If this overflow tube is cracked or if it is damaged, then it may drain out the toilet tank’s water. As a result, you may never be experiencing an ideal flush. This overflow tube usually is positioned in the middle of the tank. So, after opening the lid, you should check the health of this overflow tube. If you find any cracks, then you can replace it.

11) Bathroom Tap: Turn It On

Your toilet tank may not have water and that’s why your flush is not working. But what about the main water supply in your entire house?

That’s why check the main water supply of your house. You should turn on your bathroom tap. If your bathroom tap has no water, then your main water supply may have a problem. If you have a water storage tank, then you should also check it. Without the proper water supply, your toilet may not flush.

12) Drain Line: Check If There is A Problem

The parts inside your toilet may work without a problem. But still, you may not be able to flush. The drain under your house may get clogged. If this happens, then your entire house may not drain water. Sometimes the main drain line may get damaged or clogged. In that case, you may have to unclog it or replace it. A clogged drain line may not move the waste to the sewer. Naturally, your toilet may not flush as water has nowhere to go.

Why Should You Hire A Plumber?

1) To Save Time and Labor

After trying all the above tips, if your toilet is still not flushing then you should call a plumber. A plumber has got professional ways to solve the problem. Moreover, a plumber can save time and labor.

2) To Save Money

You may fix your toilet’s problem. But after some time, the problem may return. This means you may again have to spend money to fix the “toilet won’t flush” problem. A plumber can fix the flushing problem permanently. Hence, a plumber may save you money in the long run.

3) To Fix It Professionally

A plumber has professional advanced tools. He can replace or open any part of your toilet without damaging it. So, a professional can fix these problems perfectly and precisely.

So, hire a plumber and find out – why your toilet won’t flush.