Why Won’t My Toilet Drain?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
Low water levels in your toilet tank, buildup in the drain, blocked inlet holes, a faulty flapper, or poor drain pipe design could be preventing your toilet from flushing properly. If your toilet is draining slowly, or not draining at all, you’ll want to troubleshoot the possible causes right away to get your toilet up and running.
Problems That Can’t Be Flushed Away
Toilet that won’t drain? That’s quite a pain. Here’s a rundown of potential problems that aren’t so easy to flush away:
Low Water Levels
In many cases, a slow or non-draining toilet can be traced back to low water levels in your toilet tank. After all, if your toilet tank doesn’t have enough water, it won’t have enough power to deliver a full flush — making it more difficult for your toilet to drain.
Clogs: Not the Kind You Wear
A clogged toilet is not a pleasant surprise — and it’s a problem that won’t flush itself away. Clogs will prevent water from flushing down the toilet, but simple ones can usually be handled with a plunger. However, if there’s a blockage further down in the toilet, flange, or drain, there’s likely a messier issue at stake, and it’s one that should be handled by a professional.
Mineral or sediment can also build up along the rim of your toilet bowl, preventing the jet holes from functioning properly. You’ll notice the jet holes are clogged if there’s no water being released or if it’s streaming straight down rather than diagonally. This type of toilet buildup reduces the water pressure required for each flush, and you’ll want to get it fixed right away for your toilet to run well.
A Faulty Flapper
The flapper in your toilet is a rubber seal that covers an opening in the toilet tank. When you flush, the flapper is lifted by a connecting chain, allowing water in the tank to pour into the toilet bowl. When there’s no flushing, the flapper seals off the hole in your toilet tank to prevent any water from escaping.
If your toilet flapper is old, damaged, or the chain it’s connected to isn’t the right length, water will start leaking from the toilet tank and lower the amount of water available each time you flush.
Poor Drain Design
When it comes to toilets, proper installation should be top priority. If your toilet has always drained slowly, and now it’s stopped draining altogether, it’s possible the design and installation of your toilet drain system was a problem from the very beginning.
Your toilet drain should have a downward slope that makes it easy for the wastewater to flow down the toilet bowl, through the pipes, and to the sewer line. If this isn’t how your toilet drain is designed, water will lag and get stuck in your pipes, and that calls for a replacement.
Be in a Rush to Flush
There’s no benefit in waiting for your toilet to fix itself. When you notice your toilet isn’t draining, it’s smart to resolve the issue right away, whether by DIY or by contacting a professional. Happy flushing equals a happy family!
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