Reasoning Behind a Toilet That Won’t Flush
The toilet is one of the single most important plumbing components in any home or building, and ensuring it’s working well at all times is vital. If you’ve discovered that a particular toilet in your home or building will not flush, there could be a few reasons for this — some of which area easily-enough managed on your own, and others which might require assistance from a plumber.
At My Buddy the Plumber, toilets are just one part of our comprehensive plumbing services, which also include drain cleaning, main sewer line assistance, water heaters, water filtration and more. What are some of the possible reasons that your toilet might be refusing or failing to flush, and what can be done about it — either on your own or with help from our plumbers? Here’s a primer.
One of the simplest and easiest possible reasons that your toilet won’t flush is because there’s a simple clog — either from objects such as wet wipes, flushing sanitary items that you shouldn’t be throwing into the bowl, or because of general debris. In this instance, it should be relatively easy to get things going again simply by clearing out the clog and cleaning up the area.
Your best tool here: The plunger, which is most likely already in your home or building, and definitely shouldn’t need to be purchased. If you’re not sure how to use it properly, you can look up online guides. Some homes may also contain a snake or auger, which is a tool that can help unclog even the most stubborn of blockages.
If your toilet is particularly old and prone to clogging, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new, modern model — such as an ultra high-efficiency tankless system from Rinnai, which require no more than one gallon per flush.
Slack in the Lift Chain
Many of us have experienced the following issue with a toilet: You press down on the handle, but instead of feeling pressure as the handle presses downward, you feel no resistance and nothing happens. In this instance, the problem could lie in your lift chain — which might have slack due to worn strands.
In many such situations, all that needs to happen is the length of this chain being shortened. Simply life the tank lid and examine the chain and see if it is noticeably longer than on your other toilet, or hold one end of the chain up to a ruler and then compare with another that you know works. If it is noticeably longer or shorter, shorten or lengthen accordingly as needed — usually with a tool such as pliers.
In other cases, this may require a replacement of the lift chain. If this is the case, or if you’re not comfortable with the directions we listed above, contact our plumbers for help.
Low Water Levels
Another possible reason your toilet won’t flush is that its water levels are too low to do so. In some cases, this is because the toilet has been fooled, so to speak: The float ball inside the tank, which is responsible for determining tank water levels, may have been adjusted improperly or have simply fallen out of place, in which case it will not accurately activate the flushing mechanism.
In cases such as these, first examine the float ball to see if it’s been adjusted or is not where it’s supposed to be. Also check for any visible holes or damage — if found, you’ll need to replace your entire lift chain assembly for new parts.
If this doesn’t do the trick, you might actually have a water level issue — and this will require a plumber.
The flapper refers to the component that connects to your toilet’s lift chain, helping to open the valve that allows water into the bowl (the “lift” is what causes the flapper to open). If your flapper doesn’t close fully, either because it’s been improperly adjusted or because it’s warped slightly, you will have a leak.
Frequent leaks due to a warped flapper can waste enormous amounts of water and money over time, effectively leaving your toilet useless — and in some cases, it can even cause additional damage to your floors and foundation.
If flapper replacement doesn’t do the trick, it may be caused by a worn flushing mechanism. In this case, you should contact our plumbers for assistance. We’re also happy to assist with replacement of your flapper valve if you aren’t comfortable attempting this job on your own.
Drain or Sewer Line Issue
Have you begun to notice that rather than just a single toilet in your home having flushing issues, all of them seem to be having problems? This may indicate a blocked or partially-blocked drain line, which will require assistance from our plumbers.
Another common reason for toilets that won’t flush is a damaged sewer line, and the two issues often go hand-in-hand — so if you’ve been unable to fix your problem by following these steps, please contact our plumbers for help. We’re also happy to inspect your drain lines and sewers if you aren’t comfortable attempting the repair on your own. Sewer line issues can be some of the most costly and significant for homeowners, so it’s important not to gloss past them.
For more on how to understand why your toilet might not be flushing, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the team at My Buddy the Plumber today.
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