It’s not only gross if your toilet doesn’t empty all of its contents when you flush it, but it’s also wasteful and annoying.
Let’s find out if we can help you quickly identify the problem. One of these issues could be the reason your toilet won’t flush all the time:
- Your toilet tank water level is too low
- Flapper problems
- Clogs in the drain, flange, or toilet
- Blocked inlet holes
- Poor toilet drain pipe design
Yes, there are many other possible scenarios. Don’t worry! We’ll discuss each issue and show you how to fix them!
Your toilet tank water level is too low
For a successful flush, your toilet requires a lot of water. If the water level is too low in your toilet tank, your toilet bowl will not get enough water to flush.
To indicate how much water the tank can hold, manufacturers usually mark the tank’s interior. This line is typically about 12 inches below the top of your overflow tube.
Why would you set your water level too low?
Some people adjust the level manually to conserve water. Sometimes, the tank’s components may be misaligned, preventing water from reaching the tank.
How to fix it:
You can adjust your float if you have checked your water level and find the water level too low.
This is a float ball that shuts off water for your toilet’s water-filling device. As the water in the tank rises, it floats up. It closes off the water flow to the tank as it rises to a certain level. Try bending the arm of your float ball slightly upwards. The tank will allow more water if the float ball is in a higher position than it is now.
You may have a floating cup ballcock, which is what your toilet will have instead of a large rubber ball.
These floats have a fill valve with a float adjustment screw. In this case, you can turn the screw clockwise in order to raise the floating.
The flapper is a small rubber seal that covers the hole in the toilet tank. You flush the toilet by lifting the flapper and a chain. The flapper is lifted up when the chain lifts. This allows water from the tank to flow quickly into the bowl.
The flapper seals the hole so water can’t escape from the tank when the toilet isn’t in flush mode. Water will slowly leak from the tank if the flapper becomes damaged, or the chain is not set correctly. This will reduce the water that is available for flushing.
How to fix it:
Check the length of your flapper chains. Check the length of your flapper chain to ensure there isn’t too much or too small slack. Adjust the length of the chain by removing it and hooking it again to a hole closer to or further from the flush lever. The chain should have approximately 1/2 inch of slack.
Check your flapper to make sure the chain is long enough. You will need to replace your flapper if it is damaged or old. You may need to find a plumber who will replace your flapper.
A clogged toilet is the problem
Clogged toilets are one of the main reasons why homeowners’ toilets don’t flush correctly. Toilet paper, toilet paper, and other items that shouldn’t be flushed into a toilet can often cause clogs. These items include paper towels, balls, feminine hygiene products, and diaper liners.
It is easy to spot a clogged toilet. When you flush the toilet, water enters and causes the level to rise. Wait a while to check if the water level drops. A drop in water level can indicate that your toilet is partially clogged.
How to fit it:
If the toilet is still not flushing after these steps, it may be due to a blockage in the drain or toilet flange. A professional drain cleaning company will need to clean out the drain.
These methods can be used depending on your tools and the speed at which you need to clear the obstruction.
- Use a toilet plunger: Toilet plungers come in two types. Sink plungers come with rubber cups that look like small toilet plungers. The cups of toilet plungers are usually black and have a bell-shaped appearance. To create suction, simply insert the plunger into the cup and tilt it slightly. You should use short, rapid strokes to plunge, making sure you don’t let air in the cup or break the suction.
- Toilet auger: The toilet auger works in the same way as a plumbing snake but is specifically designed to protect the toilet from accidental damage. Move the auger around by inserting the end into the toilet drain hole.
- Warm water is best: You can perform a manual flush if you don’t have a toilet plunger. Warm water should be enough to fill a trash bag or other container. Then, pour the water into the bowl. Allow the water to sit for 10 minutes. You can try adding a bit of liquid dish detergent to the drain. Wait another 20-30 minutes to check if the detergent provides enough lubrication for the clogs to pass through the pipe.
Blocked inlet holes
The inlet holes for your toilet are under the toilet bowl’s lip. These holes let water out of the toilet when it is flushed. If they become clogged, water can leak out of the holes, which can cause the toilet to stop flushing.
Smiley Drain Tip: If water is not flowing from the bowl, or if it flows straight down, you can tell if they are blocked.
How to fix it:
Place a small mirror underneath the toilet seat to examine the inlet holes.
These steps can be taken if they are blocked:
- Warm up to 10-12 ounces of white vinegar (to at minimum 120 degrees).
- Use a funnel to pour hot vinegar down the tube.
- It should be left to sit for at most an hour, but overnight is better.
- Next, you can use a small Allen wrench to open the inlet holes.
Inlet holes can be clogged by bacteria or mineral deposits. These are both common problems that recur frequently, so it is important to inspect the inlet holes for any signs of clogging.
You may consider a water softener system if your inlet holes become clogged frequently with light-colored (almost white), material. This will prevent the formation of mineral deposits and other problems that can be caused by hard water.
Poor toilet drain pipe design
Your toilet may have had a slow flush in the past. This could be due to the design of your toilet drains.
Toilet drains must have a slope to allow wastewater to flow down the bowl and through the pipes to the main sewer line.
If your drains have a steep slope, there will be a pool of water that builds up in the pipes and causes it to become “stuck”. When you flush your toilet, the water from your stalls and sinks gets “stuck” inside the drainage system.
How to fix it:
If necessary, have a professional plumber inspect the drain pipe system and make any necessary changes.
Inspect the overflow tube
The tube at the bottom of the toilet’s tank is called an overflow tube. This tube is designed to drain any excess water from the toilet bowl in the event that the tank fills up. Overflow tubes can crack over time and cause water to pool in the bowl. This causes the tank to drain less water, which leads to slow and inefficient flushing. Replace the overflow tube if you find cracks.
The problem is that the rim holes are clogged
This issue may not occur to you, but it could happen in areas where the water has high levels of calcium, lime, or other minerals. The holes in the bowl’s top rim can become clogged with mineral deposits. These are the holes that allow water into the tank. If they get blocked, the toilet might not flush fully. You can check the holes by inserting and removing a piece of wire. This will help to clear the blockage. You can either add vinegar to the tank or use a toilet cleaner that is specifically designed to remove mineral deposits.
Do you need the help of a professional plumber?
We can help you if you have tried everything and your toilet still gives you a half-hearted flush.
Smiley Drain Cleaning is available to schedule an appointment if you are located in New Jersey. Our plumbers are available to assist you in any way that you require. We have locations throughout Jersey, including Union, Essex, and Bergen Counties.
Common toilet not flushing FAQs
How do I fix a toilet that won’t flush?
Heat a gallon of water on the stove, then add a squirt or two of dish soap to the toilet bowl. Pour the water into the toilet, ensuring that you don’t pour so much that it causes the bowl to overflow. Wait about 10-15 minutes to give the soap and hot water a chance to soften the clog, then flush it.
Why is my toilet not flushing but not clogged?
If your toilet isn’t flushing all the way, it’s most likely because of one of these problems: The water level in your toilet tank is set too low. Problems with your flapper. A clog in the toilet, flange, or drain.
How do you force a toilet to flush?
You can actually flush the toilet by pouring water into the bowl until it flushes. If there’s a wastebasket that can hold water, empty it, fill it with water, and pour the water into the toilet. If enough water is poured into the bowl at once, the contents will flush down the drain.
Will Drano unclog a toilet?
You can use Drano® Clog Removers to unclog a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower or clogged bathtub, but DO NOT use them in toilets. For clogged or slow-running drains, apply the product and let it work 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. For tough problems, allow 30 minutes before flushing
How much does it cost to fix a toilet that won’t flush?
Expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $700 for most toilet repairs, depending on your issue. A loose or running toilet can cost as little as $50 to fix, while a clogged drain can cost as much as $700.