What to do When Your Toilet Won’t Flush


From time to time, everyone encounters one of the most common and inconvenient plumbing problems: the toilet won’t flush. Sometimes, the problem can easily be identified. Other times, however, the problem can be obscure and leave the toilet unable to be flushed for an indefinite amount of time as people try to find the source of the problem. In the case that the toilet won’t flush, here are the possible causes and how to fix them.

The Toilet is Clogged

  • This is one of, if not the most, obvious reasons as to why the toilet won’t flush. If someone uses an excessive amount of toilet paper and tries to flush the toilet, this may result in the toilet being clogged. Similarly, if someone tries to flush the toilet when it contains anything aside from toilet paper and what is typically flushed down the toilet (i.e. waste), a clogged toilet may result. In order to unclog the toilet, a toilet plunger is usually the best option, followed by the toilet auger. The toilet auger should be used to push whatever is clogging the toilet through so that the toilet can flush. The plunger can be used for this as well, but it can also be used to create suction, which temporary displaces the waste and allows the toilet to flush.

The Lift Chain isn’t Functioning Properly

  • Occasionally, the lift chain, which is the chain that attaches to the outside flushing handle, won’t work and therefore, will not be able to lift the flapper enough to flush the toilet. In order to fix this problem, the chain length should be readjusted to the point where the chain is able to raise the flapper. Once this is done, there should be no issue with flushing the toilet.

The Tank’s Water Level is Too Low

  • Ideally, the water level in the toilet tank should be about an inch below the very top of the toilet tank’s overflow tube. When this isn’t the case (as in, the water level is usually too low), then the toilet won’t flush. The first step to solving this problem would be to check the water valve. In case the valve was accidentally turned off, not enough water would have been able to enter the tank, which would have resulted in not being able to flush the toilet. Next, the water valve should be turned on if it was turned off or readjusted accordingly so that a sufficient amount of water enters the tank. Once enough water is in the tank, the toilet should be able to flush.

The Flapper isn’t Positioned Correctly

  • If the flapper is warped in some way or bent, it is probable that there is either too much or too little water in the tank since the flapper’s purpose is to release just enough water so that the toilet can flush. Then, the flapper must close the intake hole right after so that the tank retains the right amount of water. In the case that the flapper is unable to cover the water intake hole, it should be replaced. Before switching the dysfunctional flapper out for a new one, it would be wise to switch the water off and drain the water from the tank. After the new flapper has been installed, try flushing the toilet to ensure that the problem has been solved.

If after trying all of the above solutions, the toilet still won’t flush, it would be best to contact professionals for further assistance. That way, any mishaps that may occur during the non-professional attempts at reparation can be avoided.