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In an ever more complex and confusing world, it’s reassuring to know that some things really do stay simple – like the flushing toilet. Sure, there are cool innovations like the rimless toilet, and Bill Gates has his eye on the toilets of the future that kill pathogens and even compost the waste. But the basic concept is basically unchanged after hundreds of years – push that button or pull that lever, and gravity dumps the contents of the water from the tank into the bowl and … voila! But what if your toilet won’t flush? The only trouble with simple solutions is that when they don’t work at all, they become almost completely useless.

But don’t worry too much. Most of the time, knowing how to fix a toilet that won’t flush has a single, simple answer:

Unblock it!

  • Remove a visible blockage
  • Use a plunger
  • Unravel a coat-hanger and use it as a hook
  • Use a drain snake
  • Try some enzyme-based chemicals.

But what if the toilet is not flushing properly and it’s actually NOT clogged? What then?

Well, a toilet not flushing at all that is actually not blocked is probably suffering from one of the following problems:

1. No water

The tank can’t deposit water into the bowl if there’s none there – but why isn’t there? It could be something as simple as one of your kids turning off the supply of water to the toilet. You’ll find the valve somewhere between the wall and the toilet.

2. Not enough water

What if there is water in the tank … but not much? It could just be that the tank water level is set for too low a level – because for a proper flush, the water should be almost all of the way to the top of the tank. If it’s too low, it will flush – but not sufficiently. This is resolved by fiddling with the float arm so that the tank doesn’t stop filling until it’s nicely full.

3. Button trouble

Open up the top of your toilet cistern, and don’t worry if it all looks too confusing – because all you’re really looking at is the button mechanism. If you press the button and it appears to not be attached to anything, that’s the problem – because it should be connected to the arm. If that’s the issue it’s time to get your plumbing toolbox and fix that toilet cistern!

4. The flapper

While that cistern lid is off, let’s see if the flapper is the problem. The flapper is essentially the seal for the flush valve, controlling the way the water is released into the bowl. The only issue is that they wear out over time – so you might simply need a new one.

5. Object in the tank

If you’re still in the mood to blame the kids, it’s quite possible that they’ve put something in a strange place – like an object inside the cistern. If those simple, gravity-operated toilet parts are being obstructed or impeded by something, the result could be your toilet not flushing at all.

6. Clogged inlet holes

The way the water from the tank physically gets into the bowl is via small inlet holes on the bowl itself. So while the toilet itself may not be blocked, these crucial little holes might be. This is a common problem that is confusing to diagnose, because while it may still flush a little, you may find yourself with a toilet not flushing properly.

Why won’t my toilet flush after checking these problems?

We’ll be honest: while these are some of the most common ways to diagnose and fix toilet flush issues, sometimes you simply need a local Brisbane plumber. But don’t feel bad about it, because while most handy people can fix minor problems, something a lot more complex and serious might be going on – and you don’t want a big, soggy, smelly, damaging, unhealthy and expensive mess to accompany your misbehaving toilet, do you?

Luckily, Brisbane Plumbing & Drainage are your local, trusted and fully licensed experts in all sorts of toilet repairs or installation. All you need to do is give us a call, and we’ll do the rest – no matter what’s going on with your throne.