Most homeowners are all too familiar with the frustration that comes with a toilet that won’t flush completely.
Every time you flush, you’re left with remnants of your recent bathroom visit. The problem can be embarrassing, unsanitary, and even costly as you waste water with each additional flush.
There are a few potential reasons why your toilet isn’t flushing fully. Here are ten solutions to fix the problem:
1. Check the Water Level in the Toilet Tank
The first thing you should do when you encounter a toilet that isn’t flushing properly is to inspect the water level in the tank.
If the water level is below the manufacturer’s recommended mark, the toilet won’t have enough water to create the necessary suction for a complete flush.
To adjust the water level, you will need to adjust the float. The float is usually a rubber ball attached to a metal arm inside the tank.
By adjusting the screw at the base of the arm, you can raise or lower the float until the water level is correct.
2. Fix the Toilet Flapper
The toilet flapper is the rubber seal that plugs the hole in the bottom of the tank. If the flapper is damaged, it can prevent the toilet from flushing fully.
Often, the flapper chain is the problem. It could be too long or too short, which affects how long the flapper stays open during a flush.
If the chain appears to be the problem, adjust it so that it has about half an inch of slack. If the flapper itself is damaged, it will need to be replaced.
3. Unclog the Toilet
If the toilet isn’t flushing fully because of a clog, you’ll need to clear it out before the toilet will work properly.
There are a few different ways you can try to remove the clog:
- Use a plunger. The suction created by the plunger will help dislodge the clog.
- Use a toilet auger or drain snake. This tool can break up the clog and push it through the pipes.
- Use a chemical drain cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when working with these products.
4. Inspect the Inlet Holes
The inlet holes are the small holes around the rim of the toilet bowl.
They allow water to flow quickly into the bowl during a flush. If the holes become clogged, the water won’t move fast enough to create a proper flush.
To check for clogs, you’ll need a small mirror to inspect the holes from underneath. If they are clogged, you can use a wire to clear them out.
You can also pour white vinegar into the overflow tube and let it sit overnight to dissolve any mineral deposits.
5. Check the Toilet’s Vent Pipe
Sometimes the problem with the toilet not flushing all the way is caused by a vent pipe that wasn’t installed correctly.
If the rubber cap wasn’t removed from the vent pipe during installation, the toilet won’t be able to vent properly. This will prevent the toilet from flushing fully.
To fix this, you’ll need to call a plumber to inspect the vent pipe and remove the cap if necessary.
6. Check the Toilet’s Drain
Another possible cause of a toilet not flushing fully is a drain that wasn’t installed correctly.
If the drain isn’t sloped correctly, the toilet won’t be able to flush completely.
This is a more involved fix that will require the help of a professional plumber.
7. Clean the Tank
If you’ve tried all of the above solutions but your toilet still isn’t flushing all the way, it may be time to clean the tank.
Over time, mineral deposits can build up inside the tank, which can prevent the toilet from flushing correctly.
To clean the tank, turn off the water and flush the toilet to empty the tank. Use a scrub brush and white vinegar to clean the inside of the tank.
Be sure to scrub around all of the components, including the fill valve and the flapper.
8. Replace the Fill Valve
If the toilet isn’t flushing all the way because the fill valve isn’t working correctly, it may need to be replaced.
The fill valve controls the water that refills the tank after each flush. If it’s not functioning correctly, the tank won’t have the right amount of water to flush completely.
To replace the fill valve, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush to empty the tank.
Disconnect the water supply line from the fill valve and remove the old valve. Install the new fill valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Replace the Toilet
If you’ve tried everything but your toilet still isn’t flushing all the way, it may be time to replace the entire toilet.
Older toilets can have a variety of problems that prevent them from flushing correctly. A new toilet will be more efficient and should solve the problem.
10. Call a Plumber
If you’re not comfortable with any of the fixes listed above, or if you’ve tried them all and your toilet still isn’t flushing fully, it’s time to call a plumber.
A professional will be able to troubleshoot the problem and provide you with the best solution.