Why Isn’t My Toilet Flushing

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A toilet that’s not flushing can be a frustrating problem for any homeowner. You can try everything including plunging it but if you don’t recognize the real issue, you won’t be able to solve anything.

Figuring out the problem that’s preventing your toilet from flushing properly should be the first thing you do even before you think of anything else. The first step to fixing a weak flushing toilet is identifying the root cause of the problem. Usually a toilet will stop flushing due to a bad clog but you can easily learn how to unclog toilet when nothing works!

So, why would the toilet flush properly? Read through to find out.

The Toilet Is Clogged

Even if you buy the best flushing toilet on the market, there are just times when you'll experience clogging issues. Using too much toilet paper or trying to flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet can clog the pipe, making it difficult for further flushing. Sanitary products are also a common cause of clogged toilets. Most of the time, a clogged toilet with poop is the number one reason why your toilet stops flushing but it can be resolved.

To take care of the clogged toilet, you can use a toilet plunger or toilet auger to push waste through and allow the toilet to flush. You can also use the plunger to create suction that will help dislodge paper waste blocking the flushing action.

If you’re using a plunger, make sure it’s flange style so that it seals well with the toilet bowl. Use the plunger to loosen any materials clogging the sewer lines, then flush the toilet to see if it’s working better. If you’re using a toilet auger, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, then flush the toilet to see if the situation has improved.

The Toilet is Clogged
Image credit:https://www.prattplumbing.ne

If the toilet plunger or auger doesn’t work, you can also try hot water. This will be enough to loosen mild blockages. Never use boiling as this can damage the toilet or its seals. 

The Water Level in the Toilet Tank is Too Low

If the water level in your toilet’s tank is one inch below the top of the tank’s overflow tube, this would be one of the reasons why your toilet is not flushing. Check for a leaky flush valve – this is the part of the toilet that allows water to enter the bowl when you flush. Also, check the water valve as it may have been accidentally turned off. If there’s a problem with the flush valve, water will slowly leak out, causing the water level in the tank to drop.

The standard water level in the toilet tank is below the overflow pipe. If your tank is below that mark, then that’s the root cause of your weaker flushing toilet. 

The water level in every tank is also determined by the float located in the tank. When your toilet isn’t in use, the float sits on top of the water, closing the fill valve. When you flush the toilet, the water flows from the tank to the bowl, and the float drops, opening the fill valve and allowing new water to enter the valve.

To increase the amount of water in your tank, adjust the float, so it’s higher and more level with the overflow pipe. If your float is already in the correct position, check to see if your fill valve needs to be cleaned or replaced. A faulty or dirty fill valve can also cause your toilet to flush weakly.

Too Low Water Level in the Bowl

When the water level in your toilet bowl is too low, it can also cause your toilet to flush weakly. Most toilets are designed so that the bowl is half full when the tank is empty. If your bowl doesn’t have enough water, it can’t create enough suction to properly flush the bowl’s waste. Make sure you know how to adjust the water level in the bowl and tank so that your toilet will flush properly.

If the fill valve cracks and leaks water, it takes water pressure away from the tube that fills up the toilet bowl. To figure out if the fill valve is causing the water level in the bowl to be too low, remove the tank lid and flush it a few times. If water is squirting out of the top of the fill valve, it leaks. This can be tricky to diagnose yourself, so call a plumber if you’re unsure or seek professional advice before doing it yourself.

Your Toilet Isn’t flushing Because of Your Toilet Handle

The most common reason a toilet isn’t flushing is because of a problem with the handle. The flushing handle is connected to a chain that lifts a stopper when you flush. If the chain is too loose, it won’t lift the stopper high enough to completely clear the drain. If the chain is too tight, it can prevent the stopper from sealing properly, which will also cause your toilet not to flush.

Your toilet Isn’t flushing Because of Your Toilet Handle
Image credit:https://www.thespruce.com/

If the handle feels loose, try tightening the screw that secures it to the tank. If the handle feels tight, try loosening the screw. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to replace the handle.

Check the Inlet Holes

If your toilet doesn’t flush, it could be because the inlet holes located around the bowl’s rim are clogged. These small inlet holes allow water to enter the bowl when you flush, and if they’re clogged, the water can’t enter as it should. If the inlet holes become clogged, the water won’t move quickly enough to allow for a full flush.

You can inspect the inlet holes by holding a small mirror under the rim of the bowl. If the holes are clogged, pour white vinegar into the overflow tube, an apparatus inside the tank. Let the solution sit overnight before you flush it again. Finally, use a small piece of wire to clear the inlet holes.

Lift Chain Isn’t Working

If you have a gravity-fed toilet, the flush is controlled by a lift chain. This chain is attached to the flapper, a rubber seal that covers the hole at the bottom of the tank. The flapper lifts and allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl when you flush.

If the lift chain isn’t long enough, it will prevent the flapper from lifting, and the toilet won’t flush properly. To fix this, adjust the chain so that it is the correct length.

Your Toilet Isn’t flushing Because of the Clogged Siphon Jet

The siphon jet is located under the rim of your toilet bowl. It’s a small hole that allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl. Over time, this hole can become clogged with mineral deposits and other debris, weakening your toilet flushing power.

Your toilet Isn’t flushing Because of the Clogged Siphon Jet
Image credit:https://plumbertip.com/

To clean the siphon jet, you’ll need to remove the toilet tank lid and use a small wire brush to clean out the hole. Once the hole is clear, your toilet should flush properly. A brush should also be able to clear the jet flush hole of any mineral build up.

The Flapper Has Too Much Slack

The flapper is the rubber seal that covers the hole at the bottom of your toilet tank. When you flush, the flapper lifts and allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl. If there’s too much slack in the chain that connects the flapper to the flush handle, the flapper won’t open fully, and your toilet won’t flush properly.

To fix this, adjust the chain, so there’s less slack. You may need to experiment to get the right amount of slack—you don’t want the flapper to open too soon or too late.

Problems With Plumbing Vent System

Every toilet has a plumbing vent system that allows air to enter the tank as water is flowing out. This equalizes the pressure so the water can flow freely. If the vent pipe is blocked, water will have trouble flowing out of the tank, and your toilet won’t flush properly.

The plumbing vent system regulates air pressure, helps move water through the pipes, and removes gas and odors from the home. When there’s a problem with a plumbing vent system, it impacts water pressure, drainage, and flushing power.

Call a plumber immediately if you suspect that your toilet has a weak flush due to the plumbing vent system. The plumber will be able to inspect the vent pipe on your roof and use specialized equipment to check for a blockage. Anytime you’re doing a bathroom renovation, make sure you check on your plumbing vent system to avoid surprises at the end.

FAQs on Why Isn’t My Toilet flushing

What to do if toilet isn’t flushing?

Diagnosing a toilet that isn’t flushing is quite easy. First, identify the root cause and then take the necessary steps to fix it.

Why won’t my toilet stop flushing?

If your toilet keeps flushing, it’s most likely due to a problem with the flapper or the flush valve. These are both easy to fix, and you can do it yourself without having to call a plumber.

Why isn’t my toilet flushing completely?

There are a few reasons why your toilet isn’t flushing completely. It could be due to a low water level in the tank, a clogged sewer line, or a problem with the flush valve. If you can’t fix it yourself, you’ll need to call a plumber.

Final Thought on Why My Toilet Isn’t flushing

Weak flushing toilets are a common problem in homes, so if you’re facing such, don’t panic. Identify the causes and then take the necessary actions to fix them. If you can’t do it yourself, then seek professional help. Above all, don’t ignore the problem as it’ll only worsen over 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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