Fixing a Toilet That Just Won’t Flush

There could be several reasons why your toilet won’t flush properly.  Common causes can be a lack of water, a lack of drainage, problems with the chain, or problems with the flapper. Some of this fixes may be easy to handle yourself, while others may need the help of a professional.

There Isn’t Any Water Coming Into the Tank

You can’t flush a toilet with air, so if no water is coming into the toilet bowl when you flush, lift the lid off the tank and take a look inside. Is there any water in the tank? If its bone dry, then you’ll need to check if there is water coming. If the sink faucet works, then the household water is on, so you can rule out a problem with the water coming in to the house. It might be that someone shut off the water at the valve coming out of the wall to your toilet, so double check that the valve is turned to the open position.

If there is water coming into the tank, but it doesn’t fill up and just trickles into the toilet bowl, then that means the flapper isn’t shutting all the way to allow the tank to fill.

The Toilet Is Clogged and Cannot Drain

If water flows into the bowl when you flush, but it fills up and almost overflows, then your toilet or pipe is clogged. Hopefully it’s just the toilet itself, because that can be a quick fix. Carefully work your plunger to pump the clog down through the pipes and get things flowing again. When inserting the plunger into the toilet bowl, do so at an angle to allow water to fill the bulb. This may help the plunger work more effectively.

If working the clog with the plunger does not dislodge the clog, then it may be time to call a professional plumber to have your toilet augured or snaked.

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The Chain Is Slack, Tangled, Disconnected or Broken

If the toilet isn’t clogged and there is water flowing into the tank, then check the chain. If the tank is full but won’t drain into the bowl when you flush, it may be too long or too slack and won’t lift the flap high enough. Cut a couple links off or just detach it and re-attach it a couple of links down from the end to effectively reduce the length.

It may also be tangled a little. If so, just untangle it and see if that fixes the problem. If the chain is broken, then you’ll need to replace it. Look carefully at how the old one attaches before you take it off and throw it away. Then just attach the new chain the same way and adjust the length as needed for proper flushing.

The Flapper Is Damaged or Warped

If there’s water flowing in, there’s no clog, and the chain looks good, then the flapper may be the culprit. Those rubber flappers can bend, warp and deteriorate over the years. If that’s the case, then you can replace it yourself without too much trouble. The new flapper will keep water from trickling out into the bowl and create a nice seal so that the tank can fill properly again. There are many different flappers available and it is important that you replace your old flapper with a new one suited for your toilet.

If these tips don’t seem to fix the problem, or if putting your hands down in there just isn’t an option, then call a professional plumber in Pittsburgh like Mister Sewer! Our friendly staff and experienced staff will help to get your toilet up and running in no time!

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