High up at the top of the list of household problems no one wants to deal with, you’ll find the toilet that won’t flush. It’s bad enough when it’s your toilet but, when you’re a guest in someone else’s home, this problem can be mortifying. So, when designing your dream bathroom, don’t forget about one of the most important finishing touches: the plunger. This will save house guests the embarrassment of having to ask you for one. If you’re struggling to get your toilet to flush, you will first need to diagnose the problem.
There are a few different reasons why your toilet might be resisting your attempts to flush. It could be a blockage, it could be a problem with the flushing mechanics, it could be a water supply problem or it could simply be a broken handle. Read on to discover the most common reasons why a toilet won’t flush and what you can do about it.
There’s a saying among plumbers that you should only put the three Ps down the toilet and one of them is paper. We’ll leave you to guess what the other two are. But, if you have a toddler in the house, you might discover that other things find their way in there too. Using too much toilet paper or flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed such as paper towels or moist toilet wipes can also cause a blockage.
The best way to deal with a toilet blockage is with a plunger. It might be unpleasant but it can be a quick and simple way to avoid having to call in a plumber. If a plunger won’t shift the blockage, you will need to call in the professionals to remove the obstruction.
If there isn’t enough water in the tank, you won’t be able to flush. To check if this is the problem, open the top of your cistern. This might be located behind a wall panel but there should be an access panel available.
If there isn’t enough water in the tank, first check that your water supply is still running by turning on a tap. Next, check that you haven’t isolated the water supply to the bathroom by mistake. And finally, check that your water inlet tap is working by moving the ballcock. If these steps don’t work, you need to call in a plumber to check that your toilet plumbing is working correctly. You can flush the toilet in the meantime by pouring a bucket of water into the bowl.
Another simple yet common problem occurs when the handle becomes disconnected from the flushing mechanism. Remove the top of your toilet and check that the handle is still connected. Lever handles will often be attached to a chain which lifts the flush valve. Modern toilets with a push button or dual flush toilets may look a little different. If you cannot quickly see how the handle connects to the flush valve, you will need to call in professional help.
Another common problem in both older style and modern toilets is a broken or warped flapper. The flapper is the valve which sits at the bottom of the cistern and allows the water to flow out. If the water from the toilet is continually flowing and it is never able to fill up, then you won’t be able to get a full flush. If this happens, you will need to replace the flapper inside your cistern.
Before you get in a panic about a broken toilet, remember that there is help available. Our team of expert plumbers are on hand to help with everything from leaky pipes to a toilet that won’t flush. And with our home care plans, you’ll never have to worry about the cost of the callout. Head to our homeowner home and boiler care plans page to choose the right coverage for your needs.