Toilet Not Flushing: Simple DIY Toilet Repairs

If Your Toilet Won't Flush - DIY Steps to Diagnose and Fix Toilet Flushing Problem

As a Homeowner or Renter, one of the most frustrating issues you can have is a Toilet Not Flushing correctly.  Problems flushing a toilet occur when a toilet won’t flush all the way or won’t flush at all, and either toilet problem can be a big issue for any household.

How To Fix Toilet Flushing Problems:

Toilets are one of the essential plumbing fixtures in any home or building and one of the most prone to problems. A problem toilet that won’t flush properly can be caused by various issues, such as clogs, broken parts, low water pressure, or even incorrect installation.

Some common symptoms of a toilet that won’t flush properly include slow or weak flushes, gurgling noises, or water that rises and then drains slowly.

However, with a good toilet part diagram and by following the simple DIY steps outlined below, you can quickly fix any toilet flushing problem.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Toilet

Before troubleshooting a toilet that won’t flush properly, it’s essential to understand the basic Anatomy of a Toilet:

toilet tank diagram - best home gear
Toilet Tank Diagram –

A toilet consists of several components: the toilet bowl, tank, flapper, fill valve, and flush valve.

The toilet bowl is part of the toilet that holds water and waste, while the toilet tank stores the water and contains the flushing and water supply mechanisms for flushing a toilet.

The toilet flapper is a rubber valve that controls the release of water from the tank into the bowl, while the fill valve regulates the amount of water that enters the tank.

Finally, the flush valve releases water from the tank into the bowl to flush the waste down the drain.

Why Won’t the Toilet Flush Properly?

There are the Four main reasons why a toilet may not flush properly:

  1. One common issue is a clogged drain caused by a buildup of waste, toilet paper, or other debris.

2. Another common issue is a faulty flapper or flush valve, which can prevent water from flowing into the bowl properly.

3. Low water pressure can also cause a weak or incomplete flush, while a problem with the fill valve can cause the tank not to fill up appropriately.

4. Lastly, a toilet that is not installed correctly may also have flushing problems.

How a Toilet Flushes (Video)


How to Fix a Toilet That Won’t Flush

If you’re dealing with a toilet that won’t flush properly, you need to know How to Fix a Toilet that won’t Flush – Here are a few simple steps you can take to fix a toilet flushing problem yourself:

Toilet Clogs

How do you tell if the toilet is clogged or not?  The first step is to check for visible clogs in the toilet bowl or drain. If you can see a clog, use a toilet plunger to dislodge it.

Suppose your Toilet does not “appear” to be clogged but still won’t flush. In that case, the problems can include a clog in the toilet trap (located out of your view – below the toilet bowl).  If this is the case, and a plunger won’t work, use an Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaner or a drain auger to remove the obstruction below the toilet bowl.

If you have NO obstructions in the toilet or below the toilet bowl, you most likely have too low of a water tank level – required for flushing, a faulty toilet flapper (it is Leaking), or a disconnected handle and chain to the flapper (prevents you from activating the toilet flapper which causes the toilet to flush).

If none of these methods fix your toilet flushing problem, you may need to call a professional plumber to remove the blockage below the toilet bowl or rent a toilet drain auger and try it yourself.

Replace Toilet Parts 

If there are no visible clogs, the next step is to check the flapper and flush valve. Ensure the flapper properly seals the tank and the flush valve opens and closes correctly.

If there are any cracks or damage to these components, they will need to be replaced.

Low Water Pressure

Another potential issue is low water pressure. If you suspect this may be the problem, check the water supply valve ( the handle behind the toilet bowl) and make sure it is fully open.

Call the municipality to see if the problem affects others in your neighborhood if the valve is open and the water pressure is still low.

If not, call a professional plumber to investigate your low water pressure.

“Mistakes to Avoid” when Fixing a Toilet Flushing Issue

When fixing a toilet that won’t flush properly, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can worsen the problem.

One common mistake is using too much downward pressure or force when plunging the toilet, which can damage the toilet bowl or cause leaks.

Another mistake is using harsh chemicals to try and dissolve clogs, damaging the pipes and creating more problems.

It’s also important to avoid attempting to fix complicated problems yourself, as this can lead to further damage or even injury.

Troubleshoot a Toilet that Won’t Flush All the Way

If your toilet is flushing weakly or not at all, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem.  Usual suspects for how to fix a slow-flushing toilet can be found below.

First, check the tank’s water level and ensure it is high enough to create a strong flush. If the water level is too low, adjust the float valve to increase the water height in the tank.

If the water level is not the issue, check the flapper and flush valve to ensure they work correctly.

If these components are functioning correctly, there may be a problem with the toilet’s trapway, which is the curved pipe that connects the bowl to the drain.

Repair for this issue can best be handled with a plunger or auger.  If you are still unsuccessful, it’s best to call a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the problem.

Troubleshooting toilet problems - best home gear
Troubleshooting Toilet Issues –

Best practices for maintaining a properly functioning Toilet

Practicing good toilet maintenance habits is important to avoid common toilet flushing problems.

This includes flushing only toilet paper and waste down the drain, avoiding placing non-degradable items in the toilet and using a plunger or auger to deal with clogs as soon as they arise.

It’s also important to periodically check the flapper and flush valve for damage or wear and tear and to have a professional plumber inspect the toilet and its components regularly.

When to call a professional plumber for help

While many toilet flushing problems can be fixed with DIY solutions, there are times when it’s best to call a professional plumber for help.

If you are dealing with a complicated issue that requires specialized tools or expertise, or if you are not comfortable attempting to fix the problem yourself, a plumber can help diagnose and fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do I Fix a Toilet that Doesn’t Flush?

Check for visible clogs in the toilet bowl or drain to fix a toilet that won’t flush properly. If there are no clogs, check the flapper and flush valve to ensure they work correctly.

If these components are not the issue, there may be a more complicated problem that requires the help of a professional plumber.

Why Won’t the Toilet Flush All the Way?

A toilet that won’t flush all the way may be caused by a low water level in the tank, a faulty flapper or flush valve, or a problem with the toilet’s trapway (clog).

Why Doesn’t the Toilet Flush At All?

The only way a toilet will not flush is if the water supply to the bathroom is shut off.

Another issue could be that the toilet handle lever chain is disconnected, and the flapper isn’t being engaged.  If the flapper isn’t raised, the water in the tank cannot disperse, which is required for the toilet to flush.

What if I Can’t Fix the Toilet Flushing Problem? 

If you have exhausted all the steps above for diagnosing toilet problems and have not discovered how to improve toilet flushing, call a handy friend or a Professional Plumber for help.

plumber repairing toilet
Fixing Toilet Flushing Problem- Best Home Gear

Conclusion: Fixing Toilet Flushing Problem:

Dealing with a toilet that won’t flush properly can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem, but with the proper knowledge and tools, it can be easily diagnosed and fixed.

By understanding the basic anatomy of a toilet, avoiding common mistakes, and practicing good toilet maintenance habits, you can keep your bathroom running smoothly and prevent costly repairs in the future.

If you are ever in doubt about how to fix a toilet flushing problem, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber for help.

Additional Reading & Resources:
Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.


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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

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