Toilet won’t flush? Try not to panic. In most cases, you can fix your clogged toilet without having to call a plumber.
If your toilet won’t flush, start by looking for a clog. When the source of your not-flushing toilet isn’t obvious, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting.
6 Reasons Your Toilet Won’t Flush and How to Fix It
There are six main reasons a toilet won’t flush. Many of these you can fix yourself.
Reason #1: There’s a Clog
If you flush your toilet and water fills the bowl but won’t go down the drain, you’ve got a clog. Other signs you have a toilet clog will be visible (e.g., you can see a wad of toilet paper stuck in the bowl.)
The easiest way to unclog a toilet is with a plunger.
- Place your plunger over the hole in the toilet bowl to gain a tight seal
- Push up and down on the plunger, maintaining the seal (don’t lift the plunger off the hole)
- Do multiple rounds of plunging until the clog loosens
If the plunger doesn’t free up the clog, try a toilet drain snake. A toilet snake has a long, curved metal wire that inserts through the hole in the toilet. It hooks onto clogs, pulling them back out of the bowl.
Reason #2: Your Toilet Fill Valve is Broken or Damaged
Toilet fill valves are in your toilet tank. They’re responsible for filling the bowl with fresh water each time you flush. Over time parts of toilet fill valves can break or misalign, causing flushing problems. Mineral deposits from hard water are another culprit for damaged fill valves.
To check your fill valve, remove the lid from your tank and flush your toilet. Here’s what should happen:
When you flush your toilet, the balloon-like part (float valve) and bottom flapper lift, allowing water to enter the toilet bowl. When the water reaches appropriate levels, the float valve lowers, shutting the water off. If these parts fail to work, your toilet might not flush.
You can also look for apparent damage. For example, if the chain that hooks to your flapper is broken, the toilet won’t flush, and you need a replacement.
Replacing these pieces costs less than $20 – just make sure you purchase a complete toilet repair kit.
Reason #3: There’s No Water in the Tank
A toilet tank without water won’t flush. There are two reasons this may happen: 1) there’s a water supply issue in your house, or 2) there’s something wrong with pieces in your toilet tank.
To test water supply issues, look at the water shut-off valve behind the toilet. If it’s on, check your sink. If the sink or shower has water, there’s likely something wrong with the toilet fill or float valve.
Test the pieces in the back of your toilet by dumping water in the tank and flushing. Watch the float valve (ballon-like part). Water won’t enter the toilet if it’s not rising and falling. You can replace the pieces in the back of your toilet tank for about $20.
Reason #4: Mineral Deposits are Blocking Water Flow
If you have hard water, mineral deposits can gunk up your inlet jets and toilet fill line’s connection.
Here’s how to check for and treat both problems.
Toilet inlet jets are small holes underneath the rim of the toilet bowl that jet water into the bowl each time you flush. They’re angled to create a whirlpool effect. Mineral deposits can clog these jets, preventing water from entering the bowl.
To check for mineral deposits on your toilet jets, use a handheld mirror to look under the toilet’s rim. Mineral deposits will appear as a thick or crusty orange film. To get rid of these deposits, spray them with white distilled vinegar, wait 15 minutes, and scrub with your toilet bowl brush. Repeat if necessary.
The toilet fill line runs from your bathroom wall to the underside of the toilet. Each time you flush, the toilet fill line provides fresh water to your tank. Mineral deposits sometimes form on the connection between your toilet and fill line, causing weak flushes.
To check for this, turn the water off and unscrew the connection at your toilet. Look for white or orange build-up. If you find it, clean it out with vinegar and a small brush before reconnecting.
Reason #5: You Have a Broken Toilet Handle
If you push down on your toilet handle and there’s no tension, it’s broken or disconnected. A broken toilet handle is one of the easiest fixes for a toilet that won’t flush.
Here’s what to do:
Remove the toilet tank lid and ensure that the handle isn’t disconnected. It should be connected to a wire or chain that lifts the toilet flanger. If it’s disconnected, put it back together. If parts are broken, like the metal wire or bolt, you’ll need a replacement kit.
Reason #6: You Have a Bigger Plumbing Problem Not Related to the Toilet
Another reason your toilet won’t flush is an issue related to the drain trap under the toilet or a clog deeper in the plumbing.
If the issues above aren’t the culprit for your not flushing toilet, it’s time to call in a plumber. An experienced plumber can assess and diagnose your situation.
Can You Put CLR in a Toilet?
If you’re trying to unclog your toilet, don’t use a drain cleaner like CLR. Chemical drain cleaners aren’t suitable for toilets and can damage your pipes. However, if you’re trying to eliminate mineral deposits in your toilet, you can use regular CLR to dissolve and clean up hard water resin.
Cost Of Hiring A Plumber When Your Toilet Won’t Flush
The average cost for a plumber to repair a not flushing toilet is $258. However, simple fixes like plunging or using a drain snake may have a flat fee, starting at $85. Plumbers might bill more complicated issues by the hour. In rural areas, the average hourly cost of a plumber is $45 to $75 per hour. In urban areas, expect to pay $75 to $200 per hour.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What Is A Toilet Shroom?
A toilet shroom is something you need to get familiar with if you want to fix your toilet. It is similar to a plunger but is more effective. The brand name is actually ToiletShroom and if you’re wondering, it is worth it.
What Is The Easiest Clogged Toilet Fix?
The easiest clog toilet fix is to call a plumber because it definitely will work. The fastest way is to use a plunger, but that doesn’t always work. So to meet in the middle is to either snake it or use a toilet shroom.
Why A Toilet Won't Flush Properly?
Now, there are a few reasons that your toilet won’t flush properly. It could be clogged with too many paper products or something could be loose in the back. These are the first two things you should look out for.
Why Is My Toilet Making That Noise?
A running toilet usually needs to be addressed quickly as it could waste a lot of water, energy, and money. Check out this guide on fixing a running toilet if you want to find your answer the quickest way possible.