Toilet Won’t Flush: How to Fix a Toilet That Is Not Flushing

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Toilet Won’t Flush: How to Fix a Toilet That Is Not Flushing

Toilet Won't Flush: How to Fix a Toilet That Is Not Flushing
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Be thankful for the little things. The air you breathe, the food you eat, and apparently among others, your toilet that flushes! It’s addling how frustrating our lives can get when these little things we appear to take for granted begin to malfunction. Have you ever been in a situation where your toilet won’t flush? Oh dear.

While plumbing mostly requires professional help, this piece offers a do-it-yourself help, or at least, a temporary form of sustenance for people with faulty toilets. From faeces to urine, to any random disposals we use toilets for, it is expedient that it be cleaned after use. Asides the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, it is just hideous to have a messed up toilet. No one wants ever to have to fetch water in a bucket and manually flush the toilet. Some of us didn’t even know that was possible until you read the previous sentence!

My toilet won’t flush. Why?” Without further ado, let’s proffer a range of answers to your question.

Trial and Error/ Hit and Miss

Only plumbers can see via a professional lens and offer an immediate diagnosis of problems like these. Even then, sometimes we encounter unconventional issues and might need to fiddle around a little before we get the hang of them. Our most accurate guess is you’re not plumbers! Hence, we’ll only help you in trying to locate the source of the problem by listing some common possibilities. When you find the problem, the answer is in reach!

1. Is there water in your home?

Some of us are hands-on, and we have toolboxes! As impressive as that may be, before you get your toolbox out, check for the presence of the most important thing – water. Is there even water? Open all the taps in your home, and leave them running for a minute at least, and three, maximally. Ensure that the pipe’s stopcocks are open. If you notice there is no water, contact your plumber. Call your utility supplier if the problem is not peculiar to your home alone.

2. Check your toilet cistern for water

Peradventure there’s water elsewhere, the problem has a smaller scope now. You now know the non-functionality is a sole problem of the toilet system.

A) If it is empty

Ensure the stopcock that feeds water into the toilet cistern is open. It can be found just behind the toilet. The following can cause an empty tank:

  • Tight chain: A tight connection between the toilet arm lever and the flapper valve by the lift chain will keep the flapper open. This causes a continuous flow of filler water into the toilet bowl. This can be manually adjusted.
  • A worn flapper valve: This structure blocks water from escaping into the bowl from the cistern. Once slack, water leaks. A flapper system is usually cheap and is advisedly changed altogether, rather than repaired.
  • Leaky float ball: A leaky float ball controls the tank water level, and will cause a leak in the overflow pipe when faulty. Replace the float ball or float rod if necessary.

B) If it is full

A filled cistern should empty its content into the bowl. If your toilet still doesn’t flush, it could mean that any of the following has occurred.

  • A severed/slack lift chain: When too loose, the lift chain is unable to lift the flapper valve when pressure is applied on the toilet lever handle. Hence, no water will flow into the toilet bowl.
  • A faulty float: It is not enough that water is present in your cistern. The float must rise high enough to close the fill valve. Only then, can the lever system work to flush your toilet. The fill valve automatically fills the cistern after a flush. With a float set too high, there will never be enough water in the tank to activate the flush mechanism. You can manually adjust this.
  • A broken handle: Over consistent use, it is possible that the handle of your toilet may break. For maximum efficiency to be experienced, ensure a change of the handle. Otherwise, the force applied via the handle to the lift chain, might not be enough to raise the flapper valve.
  • A detached handle: It is not impossible that the functioning handle of your toilet might be detached from the lift chain. This could occur for a variety of reasons but mostly overuse. With a detached handle, there is nothing for the lever to pull, and hence, your toilet won’t flush.
  • An occluded valve: If there is an occlusion in the pipe that connects the tank to the bowl, even though water is present and the flapper valve is working, water won’t reach the bowl. Keep children away from toilet cisterns! You never know what they can stuff down there.

3. A blocked toilet

Some toilets won’t flush when they are blocked. Blocked toilet require that you use a plunger and possibly a toilet unblocker to free the passageways. It is high time you stopped using too much toilet paper or making a waste bin – tampons, hair, wet wipes, dead plant, etc. – of your toilet bowl. These things clog the pipe and make further flushing impossible.


While it’s indeed frustrating to have a toilet that won’t flush, it is not the worst thing that can happen to a human being. It happens all the time, to everyone! When the toilet button doesn’t flush, follow an ordered step-wise process in the diagnosis of the problem.

Many toilet problems can be fixed by yourself, and you might only need to call a professional when these problems are way above you. Remember always to keep healthy toilet practices, and prevent your kids away from toilet cisterns!

Remember that fixing your toilets when they get damaged and unable to flush, is no luxury. It is of uttermost expedience that you at least try to keep them in good condition.

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