5 Reasons Your Toilet Won’t Flush And How To Fix Them

Friday, April 19th, 2019
residential plumbing issues

When your toilet won’t flush, it is one of the most annoying plumbing problems you can face. A toilet is no good if it won’t work. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to diagnose and fix this plumbing fixture.

How a toilet should work

First, lift the lid off the toilet tank and try a test flush. When you pull the handle, you should see the trip level rise inside the tank. This lifts the tank ball and/or flapper at the bottom. You should also see a flush valve opening, which causes the water to rush out into the toilet bowl.

When the water is evacuating the tank, the float ball should drop down, which raises the valve plunger and allows fresh water into the tank. The tank water then pushes the toilet bowl water into the drain, cleaning out the bowl. Once the water in the tank gets high enough, the float ball will raise the arm and put the flapper back into place. Finally, the flow of water into the bowl will be cut off.

What happens when a toilet isn’t working?

The following are some of the issues you may experience when your toilet isn’t working properly.


When your toilet is clogged, the first thing you should try is a plunger. But, make sure you use a flange plunger because the cup creates a better seal in the toilet bowl. You can avoid clogs if you only flush toilet paper and waste. Never use your toilet as a garbage can, or you will have constant clogs.

Warped flapper

The flapper opens and closes every time you flush, which enables the water to run from the tank into the bowl. When you press down on the handle, you’re actually lifting the flapper, which is always in the water. If you’re noticing the water isn’t draining the way you think it should, then you may want to inspect your flapper. The water can cause it to warp over time.

Open your tank and take a look at the flapper. This is a rubber, cup-like component that is stuck on the bottom of the tank. The flapper closes the hole that leads from the tank to the bowl. You can tell it is warped if it doesn’t cover the hole entirely.

If the flapper looks damaged or broken, you should also replace it. You can find replacement these parts at any hardware store. To replace the flapper, drain your tank, remove the chain from the broken one, and connect it to the new one.

Chain length issues

The toilet chain connects the handle to the flapper. When you press down on the handle, it lifts this component. If the chain is too long, it won’t pull the flapper up which can cause drainage or clogging issues. On the other hand, if the chain is too short, the flapper won’t close. This causes the toilet to run continually. You can fix most chain issues by adjusting the length. Don’t forget to test the chain and increase or decrease the length as needed. Be careful not to adjust it too far in one direction, though.

Overflow tube issues

The overflow tube helps empty water into the toilet bowl when you flush. This component is located near the refill tube (frequently close to the flapper). But, these parts are delicate and can crack, which impacts their ability to move water. Cracks in an overflow tube mean the water flows into the tube rather than into the bowl. You can replace the tube relatively easily with replacements found at most local hardware stores.

Tank low on water

Your tank should have water that is about one inch below the top of the overflow tube. If the water is below this level, it can cause issues. The valve may be turned off if levels are low, which will prevent the toilet from flushing. You can address this issue by turning on the valve and flush testing to see if the toilet fills the way it should. Contact a plumber if further issues happen.

Residential plumbing services in Amarillo, Texas

If you are having trouble diagnosing or fixing your toilet troubles, contact a local plumber as soon as possible. The experts at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical Inc. in Amarillo can help with all of your Residential Plumbing needs. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by Email for more information.