toilet won't flush common causes

19 Jun. 2019

Toilet Won't Flush: 5 Most Common Causes

Flushing toilets have made life easier for everyone since their invention in the late 16th century. The convenience and relief they bring arguably make them the most important seats in the house.

This is why plumbing issues, such as non-flushing toilets, can bring chaos in the house, especially when there is only one toilet available. Moreover, a malfunctioning toilet can not only be such a nightmare for everyone, but it can also have a negative effect on your utility bills.

Therefore, in order to avoid such plumbing issues, it’s important to know the common reasons why your toilet won’t flush. Additionally, this will help you determine which solution is best when you actually have such untimely plumbing issues.

Here are the most common causes of why your toilet won’t flush:

1. Your Toilet Is Clogged

A clogged toilet is the number one most common cause for a malfunctioning toilet. Clogging usually occurs when there’s simply too much waste for your toilet to handle, which causes it to become blocked or clogged.

Additionally, old low-flow toilets have a higher tendency to experience clogging because unlike their modern counterparts, which are designed to save water, these older models often lack the water pressure needed to clear the internal trap and drain, therefore experiencing clogs.

Another reason for a clogged toilet might be that someone tried to flush non-flushable items, which ended up causing a pipe blockage. Flushing items that are not easily dissolved in water will only clog your toilet since it is meant to dispose only of certain things.

This is why people are often discouraged from disposing of their trash in the toilet, as this may cause plumbing problems such as a clogged toilet.

2. The Lift Chain of Your Toilet Is Disconnected or Broken

Another common cause why your toilet won’t flush is a disconnected or broken lift chain. A lift chain is a chain that’s connected to the handle and to your toilet’s flapper, which pulls up the flapper when you flush.

When your lift chain is loose or disconnected, the flapper won’t open, which will prevent your toilet from flushing.

Problems with your toilet’s lift chain usually occur when the chain is of the wrong length; it’s either too short or too long.

A too-short lift chain doesn’t have enough slack to allow the flapper to settle while a too-long chain will only cause it to go underneath the flapper and prevent it from properly sealing. Having the right chain length will prevent it from constantly disconnecting and causing your plumbing issues.

3. The Flapper of Your Toilet Is Worn-out or Damaged

Another important part of your toilet’s mechanism is the flapper. A flapper is the part of your toilet’s mechanism that allows water to fill the toilet bowl from the tank after you flush. It is attached to the lift chain, which, as stated above, is what pulls it up when you flush.

A damaged or worn-out flapper will cause your toilet to run constantly. This can be a major headache for you as this will make your water bill skyrocket.

The main reasons for your damaged flapper are either it was damaged to begin with or it became worn-out over time.

Nevertheless, it is easy enough to fix. Replacing the flapper should allow your toilet’s flushing to return back to normal.

The Water Level In Your Toilet's Tank Is Too Low

Another common cause why your toilet won't flush is that the water level in the tank is too low. Having the right amount of water in your toilet tank is essential to its proper functioning.

The proper amount of water in the tank should be one inch below the overflow tube’s opening. Anything lower than that and you won’t have enough water to fill the toilet bowl after you flush.

Common causes for having too low water levels in your toilet’s tank are problems with the overflow tube or inlet valve. It could also be because there is a disconnection from the main water supply. Finding out what’s causing the water levels to be low is the first step before you can adjust the water levels back to normal.

1. There Might Be A Clog In Your Sewer Line

Although normally the reason why your toilet won’t flush points to problems with your toilet itself, sometimes, it is because of a bigger plumbing problem such as clogs in your sewer line.

Sewer line clogs might stem from broken pipes, non-flushable objects, or shifting soil. You can usually tell if it’s a sewage line issue if:

  • Your Sink, Tub, or Shower Is Backed Up with Water
  • You Smell Sewage

When this happens, it’s time to call in the professionals. This is something that requires knowledge and skill, so it’s best if you call in a plumber to handle it, lest it gets worse. Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to find a plumber in Miami, FL, especially with the presence of the internet, so it won’t be that much of a problem if it is indeed a sewer line clog.

Whether it’s a clogged toilet or something more serious like the sewer line getting clogged, everyone has experienced plumbing issues at least once in their lives. Certainly, anyone who has can tell you how much of a hassle these issues are – the cost of getting them fixed, the mess it will certainly make, the inevitable tension that comes with not being able to use the bathroom, and the uncertainty of when and if you even can use the bathroom again.

However, with proper care and maintenance, your flush toilets may serve you for more than a lifetime without causing so much trouble to you and your household. Being aware of the usual causes of flush toilets plumbing issues is the foothold in taking good care of the most essential room in the house.

The convenience brought about by flush toilets is immeasurable, and its maintenance is a minimal price to pay for said convenience.

What To Do If Your Toilet Won't Flush

The best thing you can do if your toilet won't flush is to call for the services of an expert plumber. There's nothing worse than not being able to use your bathroom at your convenience. If this happens, make sure to call a plumber right away.