What to Do If Your Toilet Won’t Flush

It might not be the most high-tech part of the home, but the toilet is incredibly crucial. It’s used on a daily basis, and it needs to be in good working order, as well. Of course, things happen and there may come a time when you push that handle down and are not greeted by the sound of flushing water. What’s going on here? What should you do? First, don’t panic. There are things that can be done to troubleshoot the issue.

Open It Up

The first thing to do is to open up the tank. Carefully lift the lid and set it to the side somewhere (be careful not to damage it). Now that you’ve got it open, take a look inside. Specifically, look at the chain that should be running from the flapper on the bottom of the tank to the toilet’s handle. Is it in place? Sometimes these can fall off. If that happens, the toilet won’t flush. Fixing it is as simple as putting the chain back in place.

There’s also the chance that something has happened to the flapper. If the chain is in place, check out the black rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank. Make sure that it’s not bent or folded, as this can prevent the toilet from flushing. If the flapper won’t seal (because of the bend or folding), then the tank won’t fill and you won’t be able to flush the toilet. Flapper issues usually require replacement, but you can pick one up at your local hardware store for very little.

Check for Clogs

We’ve all been there before. Toilets clog. It’s a fact of life. However, they don’t always clog in a way that you’ll notice it on entering the bathroom. If you pull the handle and water enters the bowl but won’t exit, then chances are good that a clog is your problem. It’s time to break out the trusty plunger and get to work. If you can’t loosen the clog within a few minutes of plunging, though, it might be worth your while to invest in a toilet snake, or possibly even call in the professionals.

If It’s Just Slow to Flush

If your toilet is flushing, but it seems to be doing so slowly, then the problem probably lies deeper than the toilet itself. There may be an obstruction somewhere in the piping that’s preventing water from flowing smoothly, or there could be buildup on the inside of the pipe that is causing the problem. It’s also possible that your septic tank is approaching the overflow point if you’re not on city sewage.

With these tips, you should be able to troubleshoot that stubborn toilet and get things flowing right once more.

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