Formerly Jim's Plumbing


Why is My Toilet Not Flushing Properly?

You can pinch yourself all you like but that won't wake you up from the nightmare of a toilet not flushing properly.

You’ve pressed the toilet flush button expecting the familiar sound of a flushing toilet, only to realise that something isn’t quite right.

We know the anxiety that comes along with a toilet that won’t flush properly, so we’ve got the most common reasons why you might be in this nightmare.

Water is Turned Off

Before you freak out and start panicking, it’s a good idea to do a bit of an idiot check. Is the water valve for the toilet turned on? If the valve has been turned off then you might have been left with an empty cistern.

What about your mains water? Is there any work in your area that might mean it’s been turned off temporarily?

If neither is the case, then it’s time for some detective work and plumbing maintenance.

Not Enough Water in the Cistern

An easy place to check when your toilet won’t flush is the cistern or toilet tank. Where is the water level? If there is not enough water in the tank it will only have a weak flush.

You will find a water line on the inside of most cisterns to indicate where the water should fill up to. Any less than this and your toilet will have a problem trying to flush everything down.

When you press the flush button, water in the toilet cistern quickly empties into the toilet bowl. This creates enough suction to move the contents of the toilet bowl down and out to your sewerage system.

An inadequate water supply means there is not enough suction for this to happen, leaving you the unfortunate scenario of a toilet that won’t flush.

This is most likely due to a faulty float mechanism in the toilet tank. As the name implies, the float stays afloat on top of the water in your cistern. Once it reaches a certain height, it blocks an inlet valve that water enters your cistern through.

You can adjust the float arm so that more or less water fills the cistern. Simply bend the float arm so that the water fills up to the fill line.

Newly installed toilet

What Causes a Running Toilet?

A running toilet can be quite annoying, not to mention it can waste a lot of water and increase your water bill. If you’re wondering what causes a running toilet, here are a few common culprits:

  • Faulty flapper: The flapper is a rubber valve at the bottom of the toilet tank. If it becomes worn out or doesn’t seal properly, water can continuously leak into the bowl, causing the toilet to run. Check if the flapper is closing tightly or if it needs to be replaced.
  • Overflow tube issues: Inside the toilet tank, there’s an overflow tube that prevents water from overflowing. If the water level rises above the overflow tube, it can cause a running toilet. Adjusting the float or the fill valve can help resolve this problem.
  • Faulty fill valve: The fill valve controls the water flow into the toilet tank. If it’s not working properly, water may continuously run into the tank, leading to a running toilet. Replacing the fill valve might be necessary.
  • Sediment build up: Over time, sediment or debris can accumulate in the fill valve or the flapper, affecting their functionality. Cleaning or replacing these parts can help restore proper flushing.
  • Float ball or float cup issues: The float ball or float cup helps regulate the water level in the tank. If they are damaged or misaligned, the toilet may run continuously. Adjusting or replacing the float mechanism can often fix the problem.

Remember, if you’re unsure about fixing any of these issues yourself, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber. They can accurately diagnose the problem and provide the necessary repairs, saving you time and hassle in the long run.

The Flapper or Chain is Broken

Between your cistern and the toilet bowl are a flapper and a flapper chain. When you flush the toilet, the flapper chain is pulled upwards and opens a drain so water in the cistern flows into the bowl and flushes.

If the chain is too tight, the flapper might not be covering the drain properly and water could be leaking constantly into the toilet bowl. This means the flushing mechanism won’t work.

If the chain is too loose, or even detached completely, the drain will only be partially uncovered, or not uncovered at all.

Regardless of whether the flapper chain is too tight or too loose, you’ll have a problem.

A faulty flapper or chain is best solved by simply replacing it. That’s plumbing maintenance 101 and a trip to the local hardware store.

You’ve Got a Blocked Toilet

Possibly the most common cause when your toilet won’t flush is a blockage. While water can still pass through a partial blockage, it passes through much more slowly and with more difficulty. This might even cause an incomplete flush or water to back up into the bowl.

What could be worse than a clogged toilet? An overflowing clogged toilet because you flushed it more than once, so be sure not to do that.

It could be caused by using too much toilet paper or flushing something else down the toilet that should go in a bin.

You could try your hand at plunging the toilet, but that will only solve the problem for the short term. Considering that clearing blockages is our specialty, we would recommend using a fully licensed plumber like those found at Plumber Near Me.

With our tools and experience, we’ll clear that pesky blockage and future proof you from future blocked toilets at the same time.

You can make sure to avoid another scenario where your toilet won’t flush by ensuring you are only flushing a toilet that contains the three Ps – pee, poop and (toilet) paper. And remember, don’t flush the toilet when it’s clogged.

Recently repaired toilet

How to Cope with a Blocked Toilet

Dealing with a blocked toilet can be quite a hassle, but don’t worry, there are a few simple steps you can take to cope with the situation. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stay calm: First things first, don’t panic. It’s a common issue that can be resolved with some basic troubleshooting.
  • Assess the situation: Take a quick look to see if there’s any visible obstruction, like excessive toilet paper or an object accidentally dropped in. If you can remove it safely, go ahead. Perhaps you can try using the toilet brush. Remember to use gloves or other protective gear.
  • Plunger power: The trusty toilet plunger is your best friend in this situation. Make sure there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the rubber part of the plunger. Place it over the drain hole and give it a few firm pushes. The pressure should help dislodge the blockage.
  • Hot water trick: If the plunger doesn’t do the trick, try pouring hot (but not boiling) water into the toilet bowl from waist height. The heat can help break down the clog and allow it to flush away.
  • Auger or plumber’s snake: For stubborn blockages, you may need to use an auger or plumber’s snake. Insert it into the drain and rotate it to break up or push through the obstruction.
  • When to call a professional: Toilet still won’t flush? If you’ve tried everything, it’s time to call a fully qualified plumber. They have the expertise and tools to handle more complex issues.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Avoid flushing items like sanitary products, wipes, or excessive toilet paper down the toilet. Regular maintenance and being mindful of what goes in can help prevent future blockages.

Build Up Around Toilet Bowl

When was the last time you gave the bowl a really thorough clean? If this isn’t cleaned properly you might experience a weak flush as water struggles to flow from the cistern and into the bowl. You’d be surprised how much dirt and debris can build up here and lead to your toilet not flushing properly.

This problem is easy to solve. All it’ll take is some bathroom cleaning supplies, a brush and some time. Get in under the lip of the bowl where water flushes from with a brush and give it a good scrub.

Toilet Flushing Experts

Your toilet won’t flush? Do you just want to get back to flushing the toilet again? Contact Plumber Near Me and we’ll have a professional plumber out to take care of your problem. We can even have a plumber at your door in just one hour* so you’re not left in this toilet plumbing nightmare for long.

We are you local expert plumbing service and we even offer a range of interest free** payment options for eligible customers. Then you have the convenience of making weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.