How to Fix a Toilet that is Not Flushing

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A toilet that is not flushing can be frustrating, especially if you only depend on it. This is a very common plumbing problem with very easy fixes. Most of the time, clogged toilet with poop is the number one reason why it stops flushing but it can be easily resolved. Another reason could just be a bad clog of hair, toilet paper, and some other items that may have been accidentally dropped in. You can easily learn how to unclog toilet when nothing works and deal with the problem!

Your toilet not flushing properly or failing to flush completely can be caused by a number of other reasons. This common plumbing problem tends to happen sooner or later, but in the end, it can be fixed quickly and easily. Here are some of the most common reasons your toilet is not flushing and how you can fix them yourself.

Clogged Toilet

Your toilet may not be flushing properly because it's clogged. Using too much toilet paper or attempting to flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet can clog the pipe and make further flushing impossible. Paper towels, balls of hair, diaper liners, feminine hygiene products, dryer sheets, cotton swabs, and flushable wipes should never be flushed.

Clogged Toilet
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A clogged toilet is easy to identify. When you flush, water enters the toilet bowl, and the level rises. If this happens, wait to see if the water level falls. If there is a water level drop, you have a partially clogged toilet.

When your toilet is clogged, the first thing you should do is reach for a plunger. Insert the plunger and tilt it a little to allow inside the cup to create suction. Use quick, short strokes for plunging, ensuring that you do not allow air to enter the cup and break the suction.

If plunging doesn't work, try using a toilet auger. A toilet auger is similar to a plumbing snake but is designed specifically for unclogging toilets and can usually clear the blockage with just a few simple twists.

The Flapper is Bent or Warped

Your toilet handle and flapper assembly might also be the reason why your toilet is not flushing. When you remove your toilet's tank lid, you'll see a chain attached to the flushing lever. The other end of the chain is attached to a piece of rubber known as a flapper valve. When you depress the lever, the chain lifts the toilet flapper, allowing the water in the tank to rush into the bowl.

The Flapper is Bent or Warped
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Sometimes, a flapper can slip from its hook, and the toilet won't flush if the chain is not connected. You can easily repair this by hooking the chain back into position. Make sure there's not too much slack in the lift chain. Your flapper chain should only have about half an inch of slack.

If they're too long, the flapper may close before enough water has left the tank to ensure a proper flush. You can simply reduce the slack by unhooking the chain and choosing a link near the flapper. Over time, the flappers can degrade, and a bent, broken, or warped flapper cannot maintain a proper seal.

Flappers are inexpensive items that you can find at any local hardware store. So, make sure you replace your flapper in case it's a problem. Note that a leaking flapper can also cause your fill valve to run, so if you have a running toilet, check both your flapper and fill valve. Your fill valve may be at fault if your toilet flapper isn't to blame.

The Toilet Won't Flush Because of the Tank's Water Level

Most toilets need to empty at least 80% of the tank's total capacity for a successful flush. If the tank is not filling sufficiently, a partial flush may occur. If your tank is completely empty, your toilet won't flush at all. The water level in a toilet's tank should be approximately one inch below the tank's overflow tube.

If the water is too low, check the water valve, as it may have accidentally turned off. Check the overflow tube and make sure it's not cracked. If it's cracked, purchase a new one and try replacing it yourself, or call a professional plumber to handle it if you're not comfortable.

If the overflow tube is intact, you may be able to adjust the water level by adjusting the water valve. Make sure that you monitor everything closely throughout the initial fill, then flush the toilet to make sure it's flushing properly again.

Problem With Your Toilet Handle?

Some problems with the toilet can be solved by adjusting the handle. If your handle is loose or wobbly, tighten the nut on its end using a wrench to do so. You may also need to add a wax ring of some kind around the base if it's not sealing properly. If you're not hearing or seeing any water move when you press the handle, then your toilet is disconnected.

Inside the toilet tank, the flushing handle is connected to a little arm and chain that lift the flapper. When you press the handle, the toilet flapper raises, and water is dumped into the bowl. A broken link in a chain or a loose nut can disconnect the handle from the flapper. This is something that you can easily fix by reconnecting the basic parts. Also, consider buying the best flushing toilet in the market with quality parts so you don't have to deal with broken parts such as the handle.

Your Toilet Won't Flush Because of the Drain Line Problem

It's possible for everything in your toilet to function properly, but your toilet still won't flush at all. This means that the problem might be deeper inside your plumbing. The drain lines that move waste to your sewer or septic can become clogged with years of buildup.

Your toilet Won't Flush Because of the Drain Line Problem
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If the drain line malfunction is the cause of your toilet that won't flush, you may notice drains not working all over the house. Your sinks, showers, and tubs may get water backing up into them, or they might all drain slowly. Use a plunger to attempt to dislodge the blockage. If this doesn't work, you'll need to call a plumber for help.

If your drain pipe is broken or leaking, it can also keep your toilet from flushing. Trees and other roots can also grow in your drain line, requiring replacing the entire drain line section.

FAQs on How to Fix a Toilet that Won't Flush

How to fix a non flushing toilet?

Fixing a non flushing toilet is quite easy, especially if you know the cause of the problem. With a few tools and some DIY skills, you should be able to fix it in no time.

How to fix toilet flushing problems?

If the toilet flushing problems keep on persisting after you've tried all the usual troubleshooting steps, it may be a good idea to replace your old toilet. Buying a brand new one will be the best option. 

How to fix a toilet that is not flushing?

If your toilet is not flushing properly and you're having trouble getting it fixed, you should first check for any leaks in the tank and around the base of the bowl. If there are no leaks, then it may be time to replace some parts or the entire drain line section. You can get professional assistance or consult online resources to learn more about the different toilet flushing parts and how they work.

If all else fails, you may need to consider replacing your existing toilet with a high-performance model that is designed to provide superior flushing power while using less water per flush. Some brands, such as the dual flush toilet, even offer special models that have been designed specifically for use in small spaces or for use in areas with hard water or low pressure.

Final Thought on How to Fix a Toilet that Won't Flush

Whatever the case, if your toilet isn't flushing properly, there are fast and easy ways to fix these problems yourself. But if you can't seem to fix it on your own, don't hesitate to reach out to a licensed plumber. A reputable plumber will be able to quickly identify the problem and provide a cost-effective solution that will get your toilet flushing properly again in no time.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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