Why Won’t My Toilet Flush?
You push the lever on your toilet and you realize the horror: it refuses to flush. This can be a frustrating and often unpleasant experience. Why does this happen and is it possible to prevent it? Here are a few of the most common causes of this annoying issue.
Toilet Flushes but Bowl Doesn’t Drain
When you flush the toilet and everything appears to be functioning normally, only the water doesn’t drain from the bowl and instead it just continues to fill until it’s nearly overflowing, you’re more than likely dealing with a clog in your toilet’s drain line. This is usually caused by a mixture of waste, toilet paper, hygiene products, and other disposables being tossed down the toilet and flushed away. As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to remember: just because it’s out of sight, doesn’t mean it’s out of your plumbing. When enough builds up, it’ll prevent your toilet from draining, and leave you possibly dealing with a nasty mess.
Resolving this problem involves your old trusty friend, the plunger. Using your plunger, make sure you seal off the hole at the bottom of your bowl as much as possible, push down so the suction cup compresses, and then quickly pull upward. This creation of a vacuum causes a sudden jolt of reverse pressure in your plumbing line that can force the clog loose, where the pressure of the water behind it can then clear it away.
Lever Doesn’t Flush Toilet
If you push on the handle, but it feels light and nothing happens, then one of two things has occurred:
- The bowl is empty and hasn’t refilled
- The flapper has come disconnected from the handle
Pull the lid off your toilet tank and you can probably figure out which one is the problem you have.
When the bowl is empty, either the water tap that services your toilet has been turned off, or the fill valve has been jammed shut, preventing it from refilling after the previous flush. A quick jiggle of the float or ball valve should tell you what issue you’re having.
What is the Toilet Flapper?
Your flapper is a small piece of rubber that separates the tank from the bowl below until you press the handle, lifting the flapper and allowing water to rush down the tank drain and into the bowl. The handle and flapper are usually connected by either a string or a thin metal chain. Sometimes this can simply come untied or disconnected, which can be fixed by reconnecting the two. If the string or chain breaks, you may need to replace the flapper. This is a super-simple task that generally takes about five minutes and requires no special tools. You can find a new flapper from your local hardware store for about five dollars or so.
Your flapper can also tell you if you’re dealing with another, larger problem: poor water quality. If you touch the flapper and it leaves a black residue on your hand, this is an indicator that your water has a high quantity of chlorine, which is deteriorating the rubber stopper. That shouldn’t happen, and it’s a sign that you could find yourself dealing with other plumbing problems in the future. We strongly recommend reaching out to us and discussing a solution to your water quality issues.
If you’ve got a problem with your toilet or you need a new one installed, the plumbers at Dutton Plumbing can help! Call us at (805) 849-0965 to schedule your service today.