How To Fix a Toilet That Doesn’t Flush

One of the most aggravating plumbing problems out there is dealing with a toilet that won’t flush. Identifying the cause can be difficult, particularly when you don’t know much about plumbing.

But, luckily this typically is not a serious plumbing issue, and there is a good chance you can even solve the problem on your own. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes and how you can fix them.

Low Water Level

For your toilet to flush, it needs a sudden rush of a large amount of water. However, if the water level in your toilet’s tank is too low, it can’t deliver enough water leading to a weak or nonexistent flush.

To fix this, look inside your tank for a mark on the inside wall. Most manufacturers will leave a mark to indicate where the level on your model should be set. If the water is below this level, then you will need to adjust it.

Depending on your style of float, this can be an entirely different process. If your toilet has a large ball-shaped float, then you will generally simply need to make a small bend to adjust it slightly higher, which will tell the fill valve to raise the level.

However, if your fill valve does not have a ball float look for a small screw on the top of your fill valve; if you find one, turn it clockwise to raise the water level. Try one rotation at a time to avoid raising the level too high.

Lift Chain Isn’t Set Properly

This issue often results in a toilet that will not flush unless the handle is held down for a long time. When you depress the flush handle, a rod on the inside of the tank is lifted, pulling a chain that in turn draws up the flapper. This allows the water to drain into the bowl. But, if there is too much slack, the chain will not lift the flapper up all the way, preventing the water from draining properly.

To fix this issue, start by turning off the water supply to your toilet. Next, locate the lift chain inside your toilet’s tank. Remove the chain and then connect it to a hole in the rod closer to the flush handle. Once it is attached, turn the water back on and test if the problem is solved. If it isn’t, then you can try adjusting the chain again and see if that fixes it.

Clogged Toilet

This may be the single most common cause of toilet issues, and the best way to prevent this issue is to remember not to flush anything other than toilet paper. But, once a clog forms, it may not completely cut off water flow. Instead, it can restrict it, preventing your toilet from properly flushing.

To solve this, the first thing to do is pull out a trusty flange plunger and start plunging for about half a minute. Flush and see if it has improved. If not, try plunging for a few more cycles.

If it still isn’t improving, try turning off the water, draining the bowl, and pouring hot water into it. Leave the water for a few minutes before turning the water back on and flushing. If this doesn’t solve it, you will likely need a plumber.

Final Thoughts

Toilet flushing issues can be confusing, but often these techniques can solve them. If your toilet is still suffering from flushing issues after trying all of these techniques, it may be time to get help from a licensed plumber.

Contact Us

If your toilet is giving you a hard time, contact J Griffin Heating & Plumbing. Our licensed team of plumbers has more than 30 years of experience helping homeowners with all of their heating and plumbing issues. Call us at 781-520-1212 and connect with us on Facebook.