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Why Won’t My Toilet Flush (& How to Fix It)?

white ceramic toilet and sink in a bathroom

Very few things are as frustrating as a toilet that won’t flush. This could indicate a problem with the toilet’s flapper, improper installation of its drain pipe, or a lot more. Manually pouring water down the toilet is a temporary fix, but a permanent solution always works best.

Here are a couple of reasons why your toilet won’t flush and solutions you can explore before calling the plumber.house divider

The 5 Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush (& How to Fix It)

1. Broken Toilet Handle

Does the toilet handle twist effortlessly when you flush your toilet? If so, you could have a broken handle, precluding you from flushing your toilet. Fixing this is as easy as replacing the toilet handle.

If you feel resistance on the handle but no water movement, it means the handle is disconnected from the flushing mechanism. To fix this, just reconnect the basic parts, and your toilet will flush.

flushing toilet
Image Credit: Rasulov, Shutterstock

2. Low Toilet Tank Water Level

Your toilet needs enough water in its tank to flush successfully. When the water level is too low, the toilet won’t flush. The water level should be at least an inch above the bottom of the overflow tube. If it’s not, you could try adjusting the float ball to sink higher or twisting the flush valve.

If these solutions don’t work, you might have water pressure problems or a leaking pipe. You’ll have to call the plumber to fix the problem.

toilet valve
Image Credit: _R Dorosh, Shutterstock

3. Clogged Toilet

Flushing foreign items down the toilet aside from waste and tissue paper can clog your toilet. These objects can be anything from sanitary towels to plastic bags. In case of a clog, first, try to manually unclog the toilet by using a plunger. If that doesn’t work, try prodding the object with a rod until it budges. If you don’t succeed, you might have to call in a plumber.

clogged toilet_Shutterstock_Thomas von Stetten
Image Credit: Thomas von Stetten, Shutterstock

4. There’s a Problem with the Flapper or Fill Valve

The flapper drains water into the toilet bowl when you flush. The fill valve, on the other hand, regulates the amount of water flowing into the toilet tank after a successful flush. Any issue with these two parts will compromise the toilet’s flushing capability.

If the flapper is bent, the water in your toilet won’t stop running, thus preventing you from flushing the toilet. The only solution is to replace the flapper, which should be simple.

Sometimes, the fill valve fails to turn off because of damage or hard water deposits inside it. Try flushing the fill valve before calling for help.

flushing water in white toilet bowl
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

5. Issues with the Drain Line

If the reason why your toilet won’t flush is none of the above, you could have a problem with your drain line. These are the pipes that convey waste from your toilet to the sewer system or your septic tank.

Faulty drain lines affect much more than just the toilets. You may also notice sewage backup in your sinks and bathtubs or have slow drains. The most common issue with drain lines is clogged from foreign objects or tree roots. Sometimes it could be a burst pipe or a massive leak.

Either way, you’ll have to call a certified plumber to fix the drain lines. In severe cases, you might have to replace the entire drain line section.

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Final Thoughts

Try the following solution next time your toilet won’t flush. Sometimes the issue isn’t always with your toilet, and you’ll have to take a closer look at your drain lines. Also, don’t forget to hire a licensed plumber for your toilet installation to prevent flushing issues in the future.


Featured Image Credit: rccf.1, Unsplash

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