How to Troubleshoot a Toilet Problem

Your toilets probably get more use than just about any other fixture in your house each day. Despite this, there is actually a delicate balance involved in making sure that your toilet works properly. There are several different situations that can cause your toilet to not flush properly.

If you are having a toilet problem and your toilet is clogged or isn’t flushing like it should, use these tips to troubleshoot it.

Troubleshooting – Step 1

First, get three gallons of water and pour all three of them directly into the bowl of the toilet. The water should drain out of the bowl within just a few seconds. If it does not drain out right away, then it means that there is a blockage in there. You can get rid of the blockage by using an auger. Choose an auger that has a protective rubber sleeve, so that you don’t damage the toilet bowl. Run the auger until the water in the toilet bowl returns to its normal level. After the water level has returned to its normal level, flush the toilet, wait for it to empty, and wait for it to refill. Repeat this process three times. The toilet should empty and refill properly each time. If it works, then there might still be a problem between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl. If it clogs again during this test, then there is a problem in the toilet’s pipes.

Troubleshooting – Step 2

Next, check to see if something is blocking the jets that spray water when the toilet flushes. If something is blocking the jets, there will be insufficient force to fully flush the toilet. If a clog isn’t visible, then it is possible that something was flushed into the rim and is causing a blockage there. If that is the case, the toilet will need to be replaced.

Troubleshooting – Step 3

Next, check the fill valve to see if it is working properly. Remove the lid from the toilet tank, and locate the small plastic tube on the left side of the tank. This tube rises over the water level and connects the fill valve to the overflow tube. Remove that tube, and there should be a stream of water that quickly enters the tube and refills the bowl. If the toilet isn’t filling it properly, then it will not be able to flush properly, either.

Troubleshooting – Step 4

Finally, check to see if the toilet bowl is holding sufficient water. It should hold two gallons of water in the bowl at all times (when it is not flushing). Without two gallons of water in the bowl, it will not flush properly. You can test this by slowly pouring half a gallon of water into the bowl; try not to cause it to flush. This should cause the water to rise to its maximum volume. If the bowl isn’t filling adequately, it could be because the flapper is faulty. If the flapper doesn’t float for as long as it should, the toilet will not empty and refill sufficiently. Fixing this problem can be as simple as replacing the flapper.

If you need help troubleshooting a toilet that doesn’t flush properly or resolving the problem that you discovered, call Scott English Plumbing. We handle all sorts of plumbing problems. We are available around the clock, so there is always a technician on call to assist you with your toilet problem or any other plumbing emergency. Just contact Scott English Plumbing, and we will come out to your home and get your toilet back into working order.