How To Fix It – Toilet Won’t Flush

Common Toilet Problems

Is your toilet leaking? Running? Slow filling? Noisy? Or just won’t flush? In this series of blog posts, we will provide you with information about common toilet problems and give you some tips to help you fix your toilet yourself.  In this post, we will discuss the common problems and solutions for when your toilet won’t flush. First, let’s learn how a toilet works.

How does a Toilet normally work?

Toilet Won't Flush

  • When you push down on the handle, the chain in the tank lifts the stopper
  • Water in the tank flows through the flush valve opening and goes into the toilet bowl
  • The water from the tank forces the waste water in the toilet bowl through the trap and into the main drain area
  • Once the tank is completely empty, the stopper closes and the fill valve refills the tank
  • When the tank is full, the float ball shuts off the fill valve

Now, why won’t your toilet flush?

The Toilet is Clogged

If your toilet won’t flush because it is clogged, it could be because a pipe is obstructed with toilet paper or other foreign objects.

How do you fix it? Use a toilet plunger to create suction and move the obstruction out of the pipe. Or, use a toilet auger to push the obstruction through. This will remove the blockage and allow the toilet to flush. If you notice that your toilet is experiencing clogs regularly, you may want to buy thinner toilet paper.

The Lift Chain Isn’t Working

If your toilet won’t flush because the lift chain has too much slack, then the handle is unable to raise the flapper.

How do you fix it? You will need to adjust the length of the chain so that it is shorter. The length of the chain should be long enough to raise the flapper off the flush tube and allow water to flow when the handle is pulled.

The Water Level is too Low

If your toilet won’t flush because the water level is too low, then your water valve may have been shut off by accident.

How do you fix it? First, check the water valve. If it has been turned off, turn it on and watch the water level in the tank. With the water valve on, it should refill to the correct level. Flush the toilet to insure it is working normally.

The Flapper is Bent

The flapper is designed to release water into the tank when the toilet is flushed. If your toilet won’t flush because the flapper is bent, you will need to replace it.

How to fix it? Replacing the flapper should be relatively easy. A flapper is an inexpensive part and can be found at any hardware store. Before replacing the flapper, turn off the water to the toilet and drain the tank before taking the old flapper out. Once the new flapper is installed, turn on the water and try flushing the toilet to insure the new flapper is working correctly.


If these are repairs you would rather leave up to the professionals, get in contact with us. Universal Plumbing and Heating professionals offer toilet repairs in Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland. Experienced and professional technicians are just a phone call away. Call Universal Plumbing and Heating today at 604-873-3551.


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