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Help! My Toilet Is Not Flushing

December 21, 2018 Contributor
Person reaching out to flush a toilet

Son Photo on Shutterstock

Nothing’s more embarrassing than a toilet that won’t flush, especially when you have guests over. Before you panic and call a plumber, try figuring out what the problem is on your own. There’s often a simple explanation for the flushing issue, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to address it without making any calls.

Possibility #1: Someone Crammed Too Much Toilet Paper Down There

This one of the most common problems plumbers encounter. Even though toilet paper is flushable, if too much goes down the pipe at once, flushing can become impossible. Wipes and sanitary napkins can also cause blockages.

If this is your issue, try using a plunger or drain snake to push the clog out and allow the toilet to flush once more. Then, talk to your family about how much toilet paper can be flushed at one time without blocking the pipe.

Possibility #2: Your Toilet’s Flapper Is Damaged

This is the part of the toilet that releases water when you flush the handle. It opens and closes so that the right amount of water remains in the tank, but sometimes, the flapper can deteriorate or bend. You may need to adjust the flapper or buy a new one in order to resolve the flushing issue.

Possibility #3: A Kid Dropped Something Into the Pipes

Is it possible that your little toddler tossed an action figure down into the depths of the porcelain bowl? All sorts of toys are fished out of toilets every day, so before you blame the toilet, check to see if something inappropriate has been shoved into the pipes. You can use a wire coat hanger to dig around down there and see if anything is lodged.

Possibility #4: The Lift Chain Is Malfunctioning

The lift chain, which attaches the flushing handle to the flapper, might be slacking, which can make the handle seem useless and flushing impossible. Adjust the chain to give less slack, then see if the toilet flushes normally.

Possibility #5: The Tank’s Water Level Is Low

Not sure how much water is too little? A good rule of thumb is that a toilet’s water tank should always be filled to at least one inch below the top of the overflow tube. If you take the lid off and find that the water is too low, try checking the water valve to make sure it’s turned all the way on.

Although these possibilities are all very common, your toilet could be acting up for another reason entirely. If that’s the case, you’ll need to call in experts like Reichelt Plumbing Inc. We’re equipped to handle all of your plumbing emergencies, from leaky faucets to malfunctioning water heaters.

To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call (219) 322-4906today.

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