Normally, a clogged toilet won’t flush. But what if an unclogged toilet acts like a clogged one?
An unclogged toilet that won’t flush leaves most people in panic as they find it hard to figure out the cause.
Not to worry, though! Several reasons can make your unclogged toilet act like it’s clogged and not flush. And I’m here to assist!
If your toilet won’t flush and you’re confident that the toilet isn’t clogged, then this post is for you.
The article will guide you on how to fix your unclogged toilet that won’t flush asap without calling a plumber.
Why My Unclogged Toilet Won’t Flush?
If your toilet is not clogged yet not flushing, here are the likely causes. Knowing the reasons behind the issue would help you to properly troubleshoot the problem.
- Low water level in the toilet tank
- Slack toilet lift chain
- Blocked inlet holes
- Poor toilet drain pipe design
- Bad toilet wax ring
- Blocked siphon jet
Any of the causes above will make your toilet flush slowly or not flush at all like it’s clogged.
How to Fix a Toilet That’s Not Clogged but Not Flushing?
Let’s consider the DIY solutions to the problem of toilets not being clogged but not flushing.
1. Check the Water Level in The Toilet Tank
The toilet tank is designed to hold a certain amount of water to flush the toilet properly. If the water in the tank is not up to the optimal level, the toilet won’t flush.
There may be water in your toilet tank, but is it up to the level to flush your toilet? Check it first before going into any other troubleshooting processes.
Shut the water supply into the tank. Open the toilet tank and look inside. Is the water level too low? Some toilet models mark the optimal water level.
Generally speaking, the water level should be an inch below the overflow pipe. Anything lower than this means that the water level is set too low.
If this is the case, the toilet bowl hasn’t been receiving enough water to flush itself and needs adjustment.
Older toilets use float balls while newer models use float cups. Either of them controls the level of water in the toilet tank. They stop the inflow of water into the tank once they rise to an optimal height.
If they’re set below the optimal height, the tank will receive less than the normal amount of water.
Both float ball and float cup have a float adjustment screw. A float ball has a horizontal float adjustment screw while a float cup has a vertical float adjustment screw.
Turn this screw clockwise with a flathead screwdriver to raise the float ball/cup.
If your toilet uses an adjustment clip, squeeze this adjustment clip gently as you raise the float cup.
Release the clip once you’ve raised the float cup to its optimal height. Once you do this, your toilet tank should receive the optimal amount of water for a proper flush.
Open the water supply and watch where the water level rises before the inflow stops. If it gets to the optimal level, close the tank lid.
2. Check the Toilet Lift Chain
The toilet lift chain connects the flapper valve to the flush lever/handle. Once you press the flush lever, it pulls the lift chain.
This subsequently lifts the flapper valve open, allowing water to rush into the discharge tube to flush the toilet.
If the lift chain is slack, it won’t lift the flapper valve open completely when you press the flush lever. This will prevent enough water from rushing into the discharge tube to flush the toilet.
Shut the water supply to the toilet tank, remove the lid, and press the flush lever to drain the tank.
Once all the water in the toilet tank is gone, check whether the toilet lift chain is slack or not. Ideally, a lift chain should be about a ¼-inch slack.
You may need to press the flush lever and check if the flapper valve lifts completely or partially.
If the flapper valve lifts completely, the toilet lift chain isn’t the culprit. If the flapper valve lifts partially, adjust the lift chain appropriately (but don’t over slack it).
Either remove some links from the chain or connect the chain to an appropriate hole on the flush lever.
Press the flush lever again and check if the flapper valve lifts completely now (but not over slack).
If yes, turn on the water supply into the toilet tank, flush your toilet several times, and close the lid.
3. Check the Inlet Holes
All modern toilets have inlet holes. These inlet holes are positioned around the lip of the toilet bowl.
They are under the lip so you can’t see them. When you flush your toilet, water jets out from these holes to push away the wastes.
Over time, dirt, mineral deposits, or bacteria can block the inlet holes. If these inlet holes are blocked, water will only stream sluggishly down the sides of the toilet bowl.
Your toilet will receive a low amount of water even at low pressure and this can prevent your toilet from flushing. You can also hold a mirror under the lip to confirm if the inlet holes are blocked.
If blocked inlet holes are the culprit, you can easily fix this with white vinegar by following these steps:
- Put about 350 grams of white vinegar into a suitable metal holder.
- Heat the vinegar to about 120°F.
- Pour the content gently into the overflow tube (you can use a funnel). Make sure that there is no water in the overflow tube. The vinegar will find its way.
- Leave the toilet for a few hours for the solution to work. This will enable the vinegar to flow slowly through the inlets.
- Use a brush to clean the inlet holes.
- Flush your toilet several times afterward.
Most times, these inlet holes are blocked as a result of mineral deposits from hard water. You can always prevent this by adding a water softener system to your home. Watch this video to understand how to unblock the siphon jet.
4. Check the Toilet Drain Pipe Design
The toilet drain pipe connects to the toilet bowl and channels waste from the bowl into the main sewer pipe.
The drain pipe should slope slightly downward for quick and easy flow of waste and water from the toilet bowl.
However, if the toilet drain pipe is poorly designed, waste may get stuck in the pipe and prevent proper flushing.
If you’ve tried the first three solutions above but your toilet still won’t flush, poor drain pipe design is likely the problem.
The solution to this problem is beyond your capacity, especially if you don’t have any plumbing skills.
Get an expert plumber to inspect and redesign your toilet drain pipe.
5. Check the Toilet Wax Ring
The toilet wax ring does more than just stick the toilet bowl to the drain pipe. It also creates an airtight seal between them.
This seal creates a vacuum between the toilet bowl to the drain pipe. This makes it possible for the force of water to easily push the waste into the drain pipe.
However, if the toilet wax ring is damaged, there would no longer be an airtight seal or vacuum.
The air entering the ring will make it difficult for the waste to go down the drain pipe. This will subsequently make flushing difficult.
When your toilet begins to leak at the base or when you perceive odor, the toilet wax ring is damaged.
Luckily, you can check and replace the toilet wax ring by yourself.
6. Check the Siphon Jet
Some modern toilet models feature a siphon jet. The siphon jet is a small hole located opposite the discharge opening on the bowl.
It helps to push waste up into the S-tube and down into the drain pipe. However, the siphon jet can get blocked with debris or mineral buildup over time.
If your toilet uses a siphon jet, flush your toilet, and check with your hand if the jet is blocked.
Don’t forget to put on a pair of hand gloves. If the siphon jet is blocked, repeat the hot white vinegar application as explained above.
But this time, dip a suitable object through the siphon jet to unblock it.
Once you’ve unblocked the siphon jet, flush your toilet to confirm that the siphon jet is unblocked. Watch this video to understand how to unblock the siphon jet.
There are several reasons why a toilet won’t flush despite being not clogged. However, the most common reason is a blocked inlet hole.
Fortunately, you can easily fix this with white vinegar and a brush. If this doesn’t work, there are other solutions you can try out as explained above.
If all these solutions fail, it’s time to call an expert plumber for help.