5 Ways to Fix a Weak Toilet Flush

When you push down on the toilet handle and you hear the flow of swirling water, the next things you expect are the contents to vanish and to be left with a clean bowl. But unfortunately, that may not be the case if the toilet doesn’t have a strong flush. Now, what do you do?

Illustration of a toilet overflowing. Reichelt Plumbing, Inc.

A toilet with a weak flush can be annoying, unhygienic, and the start of a larger plumbing problem. The good news is there are a few simple steps you can to restore or boost the flushing power. 

Clear clog in the trap

As with most toilet issues, the most logical place to start is by checking to make sure there isn’t a blockage or clog. Even a small or partial clog can disrupt the water flow enough to prevent a full flush.

When you flush, water and contents must pass through a trap, which is a curved channel at the base of the toilet. The trap is designed to prevent sewer gases from coming back up but it is also the location of most toilet clogs. Try using a plunger or plumber’s snake to loosen up any clog and push the contents through the trap and down the drainpipe. Once the trap is clear, test the flush again to see if it has improved. 

Open the water valve

The water valve controls the water entering the toilet and is located where the water supply pipe meets the bottom of the toilet tank. The valve is useful when you need to shut off the water for a repair or to prevent an overflow. But during normal use, if the valve isn’t opened up all the way, it may be restricting the amount of water it’s allowing to the toilet. Check the valve by turning it counterclockwise to open it, and clockwise to close it. 

Adjust the float

After you flush, the refill tube begins to refill the tank with water. It uses a float that rises with the water. When the float hits a pre-determined level, the refill tube turns off. There should also be a refill line marked on the refill tube. Do a test flush and watch the float to see how high the float gets. If it stops before the refill line, then you know that the tank isn’t filling enough, which could cause a weak flush. Once you adjust the float to the correct position, you should have better results.

Fix or replace the flapper

The flapper’s job is to create a water-tight seal at the bottom of the tank. When you flush the toilet, the flapper lifts up to allow water to flow into the bowl, then closes again to allow the tank to refill. Over time, a few things can happen to the flapper that allows water to leak from the tank to the bowl – which can reduce flushing power

  • The flapper can shift slightly out of place, meaning it will need to be adjusted to create the proper seal.
  • The rubber can wear out, which means the flapper needs to be replaced.

Unclog the rim

If the tank components are working fine, then the problem may be found in the small holes of the bowl rim that release water during a flush. If these holes are clogged up with mineral deposits or other contents, then the water won’t have the force to perform a proper flush. Using a bristled brush and toilet cleaner, scrub the rim of the bowl, especially the holes underneath the rim. After a thorough cleaning, do a test flush and watch to make sure the water jets out of the rim correctly. 

Plumber for weak toilet flush

If you’re still dealing with a weak flush after trying these tips, then your best bet is to bring in a professional plumber like Reichelt Plumbing. To schedule a worry-free appointment, call us today at  (219) 322-4906.


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