The 5 Most Common Reasons Why Your Toilet Won’t Flush

Going to flush the toilet and realising the water isn’t going down fills you with a feeling of dread that floods your mind with all sorts of terrible scenarios. Is the water going to overflow and cause a massive flood? Is there a blockage? Is this going to happen again? Rather than panicking, it is good to realise that a toilet bowl that won’t flush properly is a rather common issue; and can be easy to fix. 

In this guide, we compile some expert advice from our drainage specialists at Coastal Drains – delving into the reasons why your toilet won’t flush and giving you the knowledge required to fix the problem as fast as possible for the next time it may happen.

If you’re looking to fix the problem yourself, and aren’t sure about what to do if your toilet doesn’t flush, here are some tips and advice on how to unblock a toilet yourself. 

If you think the problem lies within your U-Bend, we also have some advice on how to unblock this too. 

As always, with home DIY, your safety is paramount. So if DIY is not your thing, please do not put yourself in harm’s way, and get in touch with our experts at Coastal Drains. 

1: There May be a Problem With Your Toilet Handle

closeup of a toilet handle being pulled

Does the toilet handle go down, but nothing is happening? Luckily, this is one of the simplest issues to fix yourself. If you aren’t hearing or seeing any water moving when pressing down on the handle, it just means that your toilet handle has disconnected itself from the flapper. 

Within the toilet tank, the handle is connected to an arm and chain that lifts this flapper. When things are working correctly, pressing on the handle raises the flapper and subsequently dumps water into the toilet bowl. When minor problems, such as a broken chain link or a loose nut, disconnect the fapper from the handle; it is extremely easy to fix. 

All you need to do to resolve this is reconnect or replace the basic parts that have become disconnected, and all should be working perfectly again. 

2: Your Tank’s Water Level is Too Low

faulty toilet tank being repaired

Not having enough water in the cistern will prevent flushing completely as there won’t be enough water to dump into the bowl. In case this is the problem causing your flushing nightmares, simply check the water supply in the cistern or toilet tank and check the water levels. Ideally, the water should be about one inch below the top of your overflow tube. Luckily this is, again, a rather simple fix within the toilet cistern.

If you’re lucky, the solution will be as easy as twisting the flush valve to bring more water in the tank. This is because something may have bumped the valve, forcing the valve to not produce enough water per flush. Alternatively, the ball valve may have been incorrectly adjusted which could cause it to sink too low. This will trick the mechanisms inside the toilet into acting as if there is more water within the tank than there really is. All you need to do to resolve this is simply put it back in place to where it was prior to being moved. 

In the worst-case scenario, the toilet may not be flushing properly due to a lack of water pressure, or other pipe problems or leaks. If this is the case, we highly recommend contacting our expert team at Coastal Drains to fix the problem efficiently. 

3: Your Toilet Water Won’t Stop Running Because of the Flapper or Fill Valve

a toilet being flushed so the bowl is full of water

If you flush the toilet, but find that the water doesn’t stop running after the flush has concluded, this can create a problem in flushing properly the next time; as well as wasting unnecessary water for your water bills. 

The most common reason for this is that your flapper seal is bent or cracked; meaning it may need to be replaced. Luckily, this is a fairly simple repair job. Alternatively, the problem may be caused by a buildup of hard water sediments inside the fill valve preventing it from shutting off properly. 

This can prove a tricky repair task if you’re not sure what you’re doing, so we highly recommend getting in touch with our drainage experts to avoid any potential injury, or if you’ve tried your best and the toilet still won’t flush, get in touch with coastal drains today

4: Your Toilet May Be Blocked

a man unblocking an overflowing toilet

In most cases, the toilet is not the culprit causing the problems – rather, it is a blockage within the pipes or the U-Bend. Due to toilets only being designed to

handle certain types of waste, it can be easy to block them with unflushable items or large amounts of toilet paper which can cause a pretty severe blockage if left unchecked. 

Small clogs are usually found fairly close to the surface and can be typically dealt with by yourself; dislodging the item and unclogging the toilet with the use of a plunger or a toilet brush. Luckily, we have a more thorough guide on how to unblock a toilet which can be found here

For more stubborn clogs and blockages, or those that are further into the u-bend, you may need to use a toilet auger to unblock this area. We also have a guide on how to properly deal with u-bend blockages, found here

If you find that the blockage just won’t budge, and your toilet still won’t flush, you may need to get in touch with the drainage experts here at Coastal Drains. We can quickly and efficiently deal with all manner of blockages and get your drainage systems running properly again. Contact us here. 

5: There is a Problem With The Drain Line

a tradesman unblocking a domestic drain

It is possible that your toilet may be functioning properly, but the problem lies within the drain line that moves your waste to the sewer or septic tank. If this is the case, you may notice that drainage systems aren’t functioning properly across the house. 

Similarly to a toilet, this drain line can also become clogged due to toilet paper buildup, unflushables, or even tree root ingress. Unfortunately, if the toilet is clogged, there is no simple and safe DIY resolution and your best bet is to immediately call in the experts. If the problem is severe, it may require the full replacement of a segment of the drain line. 

Our experts can use the latest equipment to ensure that this is resolved in the most efficient and least invasive routes possible. Get in touch with the experts at Coastal Drains today. 

If Your Toilet Still Won’t Flush, Contact Coastal Drains Today

Whilst some reasons why your toilet won’t flush can be easily remedied with simple DIY tasks, others do require a well-trained and professional touch. If you find that you have an extremely stubborn blockage within the toilet or u-bend, or the problem lies within the drain line system, we highly recommend getting in touch with our experts here at Coastal Drains. 

While DIY solutions may seem like a good, cost-effective, solution, there is a good and real chance that you could also make the problem even worse than it was before. Our experts here at Coastal Drains have years of experience in the drainage field and know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to providing the best possible solutions to all sorts of drainage problems. 

For the highest quality drain services that stretch across Sussex, get in touch with Coastal Drains today.

Author: Greg Child

Greg is an expert in drainage and has been in the business for over 30 years. He's the owner of Coastal Drains Ltd and a very, very friendly chap.