Burns Plumbing

Common Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush and How to Fix It

When your toilet won’t flush properly, it can be more than just a minor inconvenience. It’s important to identify and resolve the issue as soon as possible to maintain hygiene and functionality in your bathroom. Here, Burns Plumbing will explore the common reasons your toilet may not be flushing and provide straightforward solutions to fix the problem efficiently.

Common Reasons Why Your Toilet Is Not Flushing

When your toilet fails to flush properly, it can be a frustrating issue that disrupts daily life. Below, we explore the most common causes behind a non-functioning toilet:

1. Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is the most frequent culprit behind flushing issues. This often occurs when too much toilet paper, or non-flushable items, are deposited in the toilet bowl. To address a clog, use a plunger to create pressure and dislodge the blockage. If the clog is stubborn, a toilet auger might be necessary to break it up and clear the passage.

2. Issues with the Flush Mechanism

The flush mechanism includes several components like the flush handle, flush valve, and toilet flapper, all of which must be working together correctly to flush properly. Check these parts for any signs of wear or damage. If the flush handle is loose or the flapper isn’t sealing well, these could prevent the toilet from flushing. Adjust or replace these components as needed.

3. Low Water Level in the Tank

For the toilet to flush properly, there must be enough water in the toilet tank. If the water level is too low, it won’t generate sufficient force to flush the toilet bowl. Ensure the water level is about an inch below the top of the overflow tube and adjust the float ball or fill valve to allow more water into the tank if necessary.

4. Blocked Inlet Holes

The rim of your toilet bowl features several small inlet holes that allow water to flow into the bowl when you flush. If these holes are blocked with mineral deposits, the water flow will be insufficient. Clean these holes using a small wire or needle to remove any buildup and restore proper water flow.

5. Vent Issues

Plumbing systems require proper venting to allow air in and help facilitate the water flow needed for flushing. If these vents are blocked, it can affect your toilet’s ability to flush. Check the vent stack on your roof for any obstructions such as leaves or nests and clear them out.

6. Faulty Components

Over time, components within the toilet tank like the toilet flapper, flush valve, or the connections between them can wear out or malfunction. Inspect these parts for any apparent issues and test their operation. Replacing faulty components is often an effective way to restore proper flushing function.

7. Sewer Line Problems

Sometimes the problem may extend beyond the toilet itself to issues with the sewer line, such as clogs or severe blockages affecting the whole system. This usually requires professional diagnosis and repair. Signs of a broader sewer line problem include multiple fixtures clogging simultaneously or sewage backing up into other drains.

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Toilet Repair 101: Fixing the Flush Button and Toilet Handle

When dealing with a toilet that won’t flush properly, issues often stem from the flush button or toilet handle. Addressing these parts can often restore full functionality to a stubborn toilet.

Checking the Flush Handle and Flush Lever

If your toilet still won’t flush properly or feels hard to flush, start by examining the flush handle and lever. A broken toilet handle or a loose lever can prevent the toilet from flushing. Tighten any loose connections you find and replace the handle if it’s broken or worn out. Ensure the chain connected to the lever has proper tension and isn’t tangled, as this can also impact the flushing mechanism.

Repairing or Replacing the Flush Button

For toilets equipped with a flush button atop the toilet cistern, issues might arise if the button becomes stuck or disconnected from the rest of the flushing mechanism inside the toilet. If the toilet doesn’t flush completely or the button feels unresponsive, try to remove the top of your toilet tank and check the alignment and condition of the button. Cleaning around the button or replacing it may be necessary if it’s faulty.

Adjusting the Connection Between Handle and Flush Valve Assembly

The connection between the toilet handle and the flush valve is crucial for a proper flush. If your toilet tank won’t flush, inspect the flush valve assembly and the linkage to the handle. Adjust the length of the lift chain or strap so that it raises the flapper high enough to allow enough water into the toilet bowl. If the flush valve itself appears damaged or worn, consider replacing it to ensure a consistent, strong flush.

The Role of Water Level in Your Toilet’s Inability to Flush

Improper water level in your toilet tank is a frequent issue that can lead to inefficient flushing or a toilet that won’t flush at all. Understanding how to assess and adjust water levels is essential for ensuring your toilet functions properly. Here’s how you can diagnose and fix water level-related problems:

1. Checking Water Levels in the Toilet Tank

A common reason why a toilet doesn’t flush properly is an inadequate water level in the tank. To check if there’s enough water in the tank, remove the lid of the toilet’s tank and observe if the water reaches about one inch below the top of the overflow tube. If the water is too low, it won’t provide sufficient force to flush the toilet.

2. Adjusting the Float to Correct Water Levels

The float in your toilet tank controls the water level, and if it isn’t set correctly, your toilet may experience flushing issues. If you find that there isn’t enough water in the tank, adjust the float higher to allow more water to fill the tank. Conversely, if the water level is too high and water spills into the overflow tube, lower the float slightly.

3. Troubleshooting Common Water Level Issues

When the water level in your toilet tank is incorrect, even after adjusting the float, other factors may be at play. It’s important to investigate further to ensure that all elements contributing to water control are functioning correctly. Here’s how to address two common issues that might affect the water level in your toilet tank:

  • Identify Water Supply Issues: Check if the water supply valve to the toilet is fully open. A partially closed valve can restrict the flow of water into the tank.
  • Inspect for Mechanical Failures: Sometimes, the mechanism that controls the float might be broken or worn out. Inspecting and replacing any faulty parts can restore proper function.

4. Checking and Cleaning the Fill Valve

The fill valve is crucial for controlling the flow of water into your toilet’s tank. Over time, it can become clogged with debris or suffer from mineral buildup, which can impede its operation. Follow these steps to ensure that your fill valve is clean and functioning properly:

  • Inspect for Debris: Over time, debris or mineral deposits can clog the fill valve, affecting water flow. Turn off the water supply and remove the fill valve if accessible. Look inside the valve for any obstruction.
  • Clean the Fill Valve: Use a small brush or cloth to clean the inside of the valve. Vinegar can be used to dissolve any mineral deposits.
  • Replace if Necessary: If the fill valve is worn out or continues to malfunction after cleaning, it may need to be replaced. Ensure to purchase a compatible valve for your toilet model.
  • Reassemble and Test: Once cleaned or replaced, reassemble the parts, turn on the water supply, and flush the toilet to test functionality. Check for leaks and proper water flow.


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Toilet Clogs: Why They Happen and How to Fix Them

Clogged toilets are one of the most common toilet problems. Understanding why they happen and how to fix them can help you resolve the issue quickly and prevent future occurrences.

Identifying the Causes of Toilet Clogs

Toilet clogs are a frequent issue that can disrupt the functionality of your bathroom. Understanding what causes these blockages is the first step toward effective prevention and resolution. Here are the main reasons:

  • Excessive Use of Toilet Paper: Overloading the toilet with too much toilet paper is a common cause of clogs.
  • Non-Flushable Items: Items like sanitary products, wet wipes, cotton swabs, and dental floss are not designed to disintegrate in water and can easily lead to blockages.
  • Accidental Flushing of Small Objects: Small household items or children’s toys can accidentally end up in the toilet and block the drain pipe.
  • Buildup of Minerals or Waste: Over time, accumulated deposits from hard water or concentrated waste can narrow the toilet’s drain pipe, increasing the likelihood of clogs.
  • Inappropriate Toilet Design or Low-Flow Toilets: Some older or low-flow toilets may not provide enough water force to effectively clear the bowl, leading to frequent clogs.

Using a Toilet Plunger to Clear Clogs

For the majority of clogs, a good toilet plunger will fix the problem. Ensure you have a good seal around the plunger and use forceful thrusts to dislodge whatever is causing the blockage. This action should help to flush away the clog and restore proper flow into the toilet.

Employing a Toilet Auger for Stubborn Clogs

If the plunger doesn’t work, use a toilet auger. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl, extending it until you feel resistance, then twist it to break up or retrieve the clog. This tool is especially effective for more stubborn clogs that are deeper within the drain pipe, ensuring that your toilet flushes cleanly and efficiently.

Natural Remedies: Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

For a non-mechanical approach to clearing toilet clogs, especially those that are not too severe, the combination of baking soda and vinegar can be effective. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl followed by two cups of vinegar. The chemical reaction can help dissolve organic matter in the clog. Let it sit for an hour and then try to flush your toilet. If the clog is minor, this method can clear it without the need for plunging or auguring.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Clogs

To prevent future toilet clogs, avoid flushing excessive toilet paper and non-degradable items. Educate your household on what should not go down the toilet. Regularly clean the underside of the toilet with a toilet brush to ensure smooth water flow and use a small amount of dish soap or vinegar in the toilet tank occasionally to maintain cleanliness and functionality.

Professional Plumbing Solutions for When Your Toilet Won’t Flush

When your toilet won’t flush, turn to the experts at Burns Plumbing in Sydney for fast and effective solutions. Our skilled plumbers quickly diagnose and resolve any toilet issues, ensuring your system is back in action. Call us today on (02) 9072 1165 for professional assistance from the experts.

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