You can pinch yourself all you like but that won’t wake you up from this nightmare. You’ve pressed the toilet flush button expecting the familiar sound of a flushing toilet, only to realise 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 of these are the case, then it’s time for some detective work.
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? A toilet tank with a low water supply 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 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. 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!
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. 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.
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.
You could try your hand at plunging the toilet, but that will only solve the problem for the short term. Seeing as clearing blockages is our specialty, we would recommend using a fully licensed plumber like those found at Jim’s Plumbing. With our tools and experience, we’ll clear that pesky blockage and future proof you from future blockages all 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!
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.
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
Do you just want to get back to flushing the toilet again? Contact Jim’s Plumbing and we’ll have an expert plumber out to take care of your problem. We can even have a plumber at your door in just 1 hour* so you’re not left in this nightmare for long!