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Why Won’t My Toilet Flush?

Why Won’t My Toilet Flush?

We all know the sound. The desperate yell from the bathroom when the toilet won’t flush and no one knows why. So why won’t my toilet flush? Whether it’s “Dad! The toilet isn’t working!” or “Honey! Can you come fix the toilet!” we all know it can be a frustrating problem to have. The most common reasons that toilets won’t flush are due to clogs, water levels, problems with the flapper, blocked inlet holes and issues with the chain. Anytime HVAC and Plumbing has the solutions to your toilet problems, and we can give you some of the most common issues with your toilet and how to fix them.

Toilets 101 Diagram





Problem: Clogged Toilet

This may be the most common issue in most households, everyone deals with a clogged toilet at some time or other. Usually clogged toilets are due to either using too much toilet paper, trying to flush something that isn’t supposed to be flushed or putting too much of anything in the toilet. Sanitary and feminine products can also cause this issue and should generally not be flushed.

Solution: Plunger

Its a common problem, and luckily it has a common solution; your every day toilet plunger. If you use the plunger as a suction cup and push hard enough it should suck out the clog and help loosen the toilet paper or other material and allow you to flush easily. If this doesn’t work, there are other common tools you can find at any hardware store that can help to release harder-to-fix clogs. If none of these work, then you can always call the experts.


Problem: Water Levels

The toilet needs the proper amount of water in the tank in order to flush with ease. When that level is too low, or too high, you may have issues with the toilet not flushing or even overflowing when you flush. Typically the toilet manufacturer will leave a mark inside the tank as to the ideal water level for your toilet (see picture below). The water level may have been manually adjusted to save water or parts of the tank could be misaligned.

Solution: Adjust The Level

Toilet water level

Different toilets have different ways of adjusting the water level, but the majority have a float that monitors levels in the tank. The float could be a rubber ball type of device (see picture below). Either way, they both have to be adjusted with a screw like device at the top of the fill valve, if you turn that clockwise it will raise the float which will allow more water into the tank. If you have questions or need assistance, you can always call us at Anytime HVAC as well.


Problem: Flapper Problems

The flapper is a neat little tool that sits in the toilet tank attached to a chain and helps the correct amount of water to flow out when the toilet is flushed. When the toilet lever is flushed the chain lifts the flapper to let water out and then it goes back down to stop excess water from draining. If the flapper happens to be broken, deteriorated or bent in anyway then it could be the reason your toilet won’t flush correctly.





Solution: Replace Flapper

If the flapper is indeed broken or misshapen in a way that stops it from working, it will need to be replaced. You can find a replacement flapper at most hardware stores and they are relatively cheap. Before replacing the flapper, drain the tank completely and then replace the flapper on the end of the chain. There is a helpful instructional video that can show you step by step how to do this here. If you would rather have a professional fix it for you, we can do that too.


Problem: Blocked Inlet Holes

Inlet holes are the small holes located around the upper rim of the toilet bowl and when the toilet is flushed, water pours out of these holes in order to flush the toilet. If any of these holes happen to be blocked or clogged then the toilet will not flush properly. This problem can be identified by watching these holes when the toilet flushes making sure that water is coming out of all of them.

Solution: Unclog Inlet Holes

This problem can be done on your own, but it will take a little work. If you are up to the task, you can try using a funnel or other tool to pour heated vinegar down the clogged hole using a mirror to look underneath. Let it sit and soak overnight, and try to use a tool (Allen wrench, twisted paper clip or hanger) to stick it in the hole and unclog it. Here is a video with instructions If this seems more than what you’re wanting to do, you can always call us and we’ll be happy to help. **link


Problem: Chain Issues

If you’re toilet isn’t flushing, it could be a problem with your lift chain. The chain that is attached to the flapper and lifts it to let water in and out. Sometimes this chain could be rusted, broken or put at the wrong length. If any of these are the problem, the chain won’t properly lift the flapper to allow water out in order to flush the toilet.

Solution: Adjust or Replace Chain

The length of the chain may be the issue, which you can tell if you watch the tank as you flush the toilet and see that the chain is in good shape but isn’t lifting the flapper. If this is the case, simply adjust the length of the chain. If the chain happens to be broken or rusted to the point of not working, it will need to be replaced. You can buy a replacement chain at your hardware store.


Always remember, if any of these problems seem to big to handle or these solutions aren’t working, there could be a more complex problem under the surface with your plumbing. Let Anytime Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Atlanta help you today, we’re only a phone call away!

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