Top Reasons Your Toilet Isn’t Flushing Properly

When your toilet is broken, you know it. There is no doubt. But when your toilet is “acting up” or just seems off somehow, that is less clear. What if it won’t flush all the way? Or what if sometimes it seems it would help to increase the power of the flush, or if it isn’t draining. 

Those are all still signs that something is going wrong and you may need some help.  Let’s examine the most common causes and get this fixed!

The Top 6 reasons your toilet won’t flush

  1. Bent, Broken or Distorted Flapper
  2. A loose or broken chain on the flush handle
  3. Overflow tube damaged or broken
  4. The tank water level is low
  5. Clog in the toilet or plumbing
  6. Mineral buildup in the water holes (jet holes/rim jets) or the flush jet 

How Does A Toilet Flush Work?

While plumbing can be very complicated, most of these issues can be resolved very simply because the basic way a toilet flushes is pretty simple. When you flush you quite literally “pull a chain” that lifts a mechanism (something called the flapper that is covering a large hole) causing the water in the tank to exit the tank and then, as the water level drops the tank is simultaneously refilling. This is what is causing the water to drain out and refill the toilet bowl as well. 

Once the water in the tank is filled again, something called the floater rises and eventually stops the water from entering the tank and the flapper seals the hole again. Pretty simple. 

So if any of those elements are broken, you can simply replace them and the toilet will flush properly. You can find whole toilet kits or individual parts like the flappers and chains at any home improvement store. Follow the instructions to replace or adjust the broken part. That takes care of the top 3 issues above! Just be sure to turn the water off at the valve and drain the tank before starting. 

How To Fix Low Tank Water

When the tank water is low, first check that the water valve feeding the toilet is still on. That is most often the issue. If that’s not the problem, then check all the mechanisms we discussed above by removing the tank cover and watching it flush. You should be able to quickly identify what the problem is.

A Clogged Toilet

Now, when your toilet is clogged, there are several possible culprits. Is it an issue of someone using too much toilet paper? Or was something flushed down the toilet that has clogged the pipe that won’t degrade in water, such as a sanitary napkin? 

To clear a toilet paper clog, you can use that well-known toilet plunger. It creates suction to dislodge the block and allow it to move on out of the pipe. You can use a plumbing auger, also found at hardware stores, and use it to push the object through allowing the toilet to flush, but please be sure you are not just pushing the problem further into the pipe. If you know what has caused the clog won’t biodegrade or is large enough to block the pipe you will want to contact a plumber.

Fixing Mineral Buildup In A Toilet Bowl

Our final issue that can cause problems with flushing is clogged holes inside the toilet bowl. It sounds improbable, but the small holes that fill the toilet can become clogged and affect the water flow into the bowl. Using your handy auger you can clear those clogs and then use high-quality toilet bowl cleaners going forward to prevent the clogging. 

Need A Professional Plumber?

You can see that many of the reasons your toilet isn’t flushing can be easily fixed at home. But for those complicated issues or where you just can’t figure out what is going on, you will want to have a talented, skilled, friendly plumbing company on call to help you out and that is exactly what we do. If we can ever be of service just reach out to us at 480-388-6093 and learn more about us at We are happy to help!