Some plumbing problems seem to come on suddenly while others show clear signs that something is going wrong but it's coming in bits and pieces. Flushing problems with your toilets are one of those slow coming signs that an issue is brewing.
As with most plumbing problems, if you notice a small problem - get it fixed right away because it's most certainly not going to go away and will most likely just get worse. The expense of fixing a bigger problem will be much larger than fixing a small problem.
So, what could be causing your toilet to not flush all the way? Well, there are a few reasons.
- Problems with the flapper in your toilet tank
- Problems with the lift chain in your toilet tank
- A clog somewhere (the drain, the toilet, etc.)
- Not enough water (low water level) in your tank
- Rim holes in the toilet bowl are clogged
- Problems with your plumbing venting system
Some of these issues can be assessed and corrected by you, the homeowner - but not all. We do recommend that you try to correct some of the issues we outline here, if you feel you can but to call in a plumber who can make a quick assessment of the issue and fix it properly.
Toilet Tank Flapper Malfunction
Problems with the flapper in your toilet is one of the most common reasons for many problems that you may encounter with your toilet and if your toilet isn't flushing all the way forcing you to flush twice or more than the flapper could be the problem or one of the problems causing this to happen.
Because the flapper is normally made out of rubber, it can certainly deteriorate over time. This would certainly cause it to malfunction.
Replacing the flapper is the solution.
Just follow these steps:
- Turn off the water to the toilet by shutting off the valve located on the wall near the base of the toilet. Turn it clockwise to shut it off.
- Then - flush the toilet and hold the handle down until almost all the water in the toilet is gone.
- Remove the old flapper.
- Replace it with the new one that you purchased at the hardware store.
- Turn the water to your toilet back on by turning the valve counter clockwise.
Loose Or Broken Link Chain
The flapper in your toilet tank is connected to a link chain which is then connected to your tank lever (which is what you use to flush your toilet).
The chain could have broken or become loose and as a result, the flapper won't work as well which in turn gives you that weak flush that you're experiencing.
Simply replacing the chain if it's broken or adjusting it if it's loose may solve the problem.
Clog In Toilet Or Drain Pipe
If it doesn't seem that the flapper or the link chain are the cause of weak flushes then perhaps it's a clog somewhere along the line. Either in the toilet bowl, in the floor flange or the drain pipe or even your sewer pipe. Wherever the clog may be, trying to unclog it may solve the problem.
Here Are 4 Ways You Can Try To Unclog Your Toilet
- Plunger. Keep a plunger in every bathroom. The best types of plungers are the ones with a flange (they honestly work the best). Some people use the plunger and the clog is released, some people flush the toilet and immediately (I mean immediately!) begin plunging and this removes the obstruction.
- Baking Soda + Vinegar. If it happens that you do not have a plunger. Just drop one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl. Wait a few minutes and then slowly pour two cups of vinegar into the toilet bowl. The combination will cause bubbles to erupt (hence the reason to pour "slowly"). Once you've finished pouring the vinegar, wait another few minutes and then flush. Hopefully this trick worked.
- Toilet Auger. As we said earlier - be very careful when using a drain snake in your toilet. You could end up causing more damage. If you're not sure of yourself using this tool or you think the clog may actually be too far down the drain pipe - give us a call.
- Soapy Hot Water. Another little hack you can use if you don't have a plunger is to pour hot water in a toilet bowl that has liquid soap in it. You want to put about a teaspoon of either dish soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl and then heat the water on the stove (but do not let it get to boiling) - pour it carefully into the toilet bowl. Wait a few minutes and then flush.
If none of these work and you suspect that a clog IS the issue - we recommend you call in a professional plumber to assess and fix the problem.
Low Water Levels
If the water level in your toilet tank is set too low or has, for a variety of reasons, gotten low - then you will inevitably experience weak flushes.
4 Reasons Why Your Toilet's Water Level Would Be Low
- A problem with the Fill Tube - inside your toilet tank you will find a small, plastic tube that is connected to a larger tube (the Overflow Tube). The smaller tube is called a Fill Tube and if it's damaged or has somehow disconnected from the Overflow Tube, then you will see lower than normal water level in your toilet bowl.
- A crack in your toilet bowl - it doesn't happen often but your toilet bowl could have developed a crack and this loss of water would cause the water level to be lower. Normally, you would notice water on the floor by your toilet if this occurs. To confirm that the water is coming from a crack in the bowl, run your hand along the entire outer side of the bowl to feel for any leaking water.
- There's a block in the sewer vent line - any blockage in the sewer vent line could also be the cause of lower water levels in your toilet bowl. The cause of the clog could be anything ranging from leaves to birds.
- A problem with the Fill Valve - When you flush your toilet, water goes into the Fill Valve from the bottom and travels through the Fill Tube and the tank then gradually begins to fill up with water and raises a float attached to the Fill Valve. Once the float reaches the top, it pushes down on a diaphragm inside the Fill Valve which stops the water. The tank is now refilled with water.
- A problem with the tank's float - The plastic ball that is attached to a long arm on top of the Fill Valve is the Float. If the float or the arm are damaged somehow the water level in the tank (and the bowl) will be affected.
The Solutions To These Problems Are
- If the problem is the Fill Tube - it will either need to be replaced (if it's cracked or damaged). But if it has simply disconnected from the Overflow Tube you can just re-connect it. Of course, if it keeps disconnecting then the Fill Tube should be replaced.
- If the problem is the Fill Valve - it will most likely need to be replaced.
- If the problem is a cracked toilet - we highly recommend that it be replaced with a new toilet.
- If the problem is a blockage in the sewer vent line - we recommend that you call in a professional plumber to assess and eliminate the clog.
- If the problem is due to the Float in the tank (or it's arm) - it's best to replace them.
If you are not a handy type of person - we recommend that you call in a plumber to do these for you.
Clogged Rim Holes
Under the lip of every toilet are a series of very small rim holes (aka inlet holes). When you flush your toilet, the water from the tank comes into the bowl through these holes.
Because they are small they can easily be clogged. Use a brush to scrub them clean and clear out any clogs that may be there.
Sewer Venting System Problems
Sewer vents are located on the roof of your house. They allow the gases that build up in your sewer system to escape.
This is a problem that should only be assessed and fixed by a professional plumber.
If you have any problems or questions about toilets, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We Offer Toilet Services in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas
Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.
Acworth GA, Atlanta GA, Austell GA, Cartersville GA, Doraville GA, Douglasville GA, Hiram GA, Kennesaw GA, Lawrenceville GA, Lithia Springs GA, Loganville GA, Mableton GA, Marietta GA, Powder Springs GA, Rockmart GA, Roswell GA, Smyrna GA, Tucker GA, Villa Rica GA, Vinings GA, Woodstock GA, and Surrounding Communities.