Plumbing is an interesting part of DIY home improvement. Sometimes the fix is so easy just about anyone can do the necessary adjustments.  Sometimes you will need the help of a licensed plumber. In many cases, a non-flushing toilet can be fixed without calling a plumber. Here are some common toilet issues and how to fix it.

Your toilet does not flush when you depress the flush handle.

  1. If you depress the handle and you can tell that the handle seems not to be connected, or you push, but no flushing occurs, it is probably the fault of a component in the tank.
  2. Take the lid off the water tank.
  3. Check the stopper (flipper) to make sure that it is sealing properly.
  4. If it isn’t, or if it looks old and shabby, you will need to buy a stopper at a local hardware store, or a big box home improvement store.
  5. The stopper attaches to the chain that is connected to a lever.  The lever is attached to the flushing handle.  Make sure that the chain allows the stopper to lift up in order for the water to drain out; and then, closes tightly so that the water does not leak out, but fills the tank to the correct level.
  6. Take a look at the chain that connects the ball lever with the flipper.  These chains can get rusted or can become unhooked, which makes for a simple fix.  Chains can be bought at a hardware or big box store.
  7. If you have the older type flushing mechanism parts for the tank may be difficult to find.
  8. Newer toilets have a slightly different configuration.  The newer tank configurations do not have a floating ball, but have what plumbers call a “bowl valve”.  The result is the same.  When a toilet is flushed the outside handle makes the flipper come up and water leaves the tank, while waste is removed from the bowl.  When water comes back into the tank, the bowl valve rises, allowing water to reach the appropriate level.
  9. The flipper seal may have to be replaced if torn or is not allowing a tight seal.

Your toilet handle engages, but the toilet bowl does not flush the waste out.

  1. Get your toilet bowl plunger.
  2. Most people, who are not plumbers or experienced DIY-ers, do not know that plunging to loosen a stopped up drainage pipe in a toilet is not a one-time plunge, then flush, situation.
  3. First you have to ensure that your plunger has a tight seal.  Sometimes a little petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger will help the seal tighten.
  4. Again, one plunge will not do the trick.  You need to plunge with vigor a few times, and then try to flush.  This may have to repeated several (4 to 5 times) before you are successful.
  5. If this process does not work, better call a plumber because the “trap” is probably clogged.

Interesting Fact:  A plumber told us that the weirdest thing he ever found in a clogged toilet was a jar of facial cream.

If your toilet woes go beyond these problems, be sure to hire a plumber

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right away. Leaks in your toilet can cause major damage to your bathroom flooring and walls.