November 30

Most Common Reasons Your Toilet Won’t Flush

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While it’s not something many of us spend time thinking about, the toilets in our homes and businesses are one of their most important features. They help our communities stay clean on the largest scale, and broken toilets or plumbing breakdowns can be more than a minor inconvenience when it’s the toilet that’s out of service.

Clogged Toilets

By far the most common reason toilets won’t flush, clogs are typically caused by clumps of toilet paper and other products that become lodged or grow too large to be pushed through the S-trap in the toilet. While a large clog might prevent your toilet from flushing at all, smaller clogs can also restrict the flow of water. If your toilet flushes but the action seems weak, you may have a clog somewhere in the plumbing that needs to be removed.

It’s important to never flush anything other than toilet paper. Even common household products like tissues and baby wipes are slow to break down in the water and can potentially gather into a clog.

A simple plunger might be enough to shift a clog. In worse cases, you will probably need to contact a plumber. Plumbers carry specialty tools designed to locate and dislodge clogs, even where they have occurred a long way down the plumbing system.

Broken Flush Button

Because they spend their lives covered in water, most conventional toilet designs use a mechanical button to activate the flush. That means they are also prone to wearing out or becoming detached from the other components over time. Otherwise, buildups of dirt or mineral deposits can also stop the flush button from working properly.

It’s simple to take the lid off the cistern and inspect the flushing mechanism for any signs of breakage or wear. In most cases, the replacement parts are easy to obtain and many people will be capable of performing the repair themselves.

Broken Flush Valve

The button on top of the toilet controls a simple rubber valve at the bottom of the cistern. When you press the button the rubber flap is lifted and water is allowed to flow into the bowl. This rubber flapper is a common point of failure and replacement parts are easy to find at your local hardware store.

Similarly, the chain or rod that connects this rubber valve to the button on your toilet is also prone to breaking or becoming disconnected. If the chain has become detached you can simply hook the components back together. If any of the parts are broken they will need to be replaced, but this is relatively simple and can be performed without special tools in most cases.

Too Little Water in the Tank

Toilets can only flush properly when the water level in the tank is adjusted properly.

To find out whether the water level is the problem, simply remove the lid on the cistern and flush the toilet. Watch the water refill and see where it finishes. If it stops filling before it reaches the fill line then you won’t be able to flush it properly.

In most cases, this can be fixed by adjusting the position of the float. The float is designed to let more water into the cistern until it reaches a certain height, and that height is changed by turning the screw that holds the float arm to the fill valve. Not all toilets feature the same parts or designs, so if you are unsure about adjusting your float it may be best to contact a plumber and ask for their help.

If your water level looks okay it may be a problem with the overflow tube. If this has become damaged or disconnected from the system, water may be leaking out rather than staying in the cistern, causing weak flushing action. Replacing a broken overflow tube will involve turning off the water supply to your toilet and maybe better left to a plumber if you are unsure.

Toilet Struggling to Flush? Get in Touch With S&J Plumbing For Help!

Clogs and broken components can stop toilets from working properly without warning, and help from a qualified plumbing professional can have you back up and running in no time at all. If you’re experiencing problems with flushing or just need some help with maintaining the parts in your toilets, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at S&J Plumbing today.


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