How to Make Your Toilet Flush All The Way The FIRST Time
Does your toilet have a weak flush? Do you have to hold the flush handle down for a few seconds to make sure that everything gets flushed away? Troubleshooting toilets can be a nightmare. With all those tubes, valves, chains and levers, it can be tough to even get a grasp on how everything in your toilet works.
If you have a weak-flushing toilet, you probably don’t need to call your plumber. There’s usually a simple fix involved. But before you can solve the problem, you need to know how to identify some of the key parts in your toilet tank. After that, you can do a little troubleshooting and solve the problem. The first step is removing the tank cover and taking a look inside.
Parts Of Your Toilet You’ll Need To Know
There are over 40 moving parts involved in a fully-functioning toilet. Fortunately, for this guide you’ll only need to concern yourself with a handful of those parts. Here are the components you’re going to want to get familiar with:
The fill valve is the tube that brings water from your home’s water supply into the toilet tank. It’s usually on the left side of the toilet tank, parallel to the flush handle.
The float cup is located on the same side of your toilet tank as the flush handle. After you flush your toilet, water starts filling up the toilet tank. As the water level rises, the float cup rises as well, until it reaches a certain level and stops the flow of water.
Float balls do the same job as a float cup. They look like a large rubber ball attached to the fill valve by a rod. Just like the float cup, the float ball rises with the water level until it reaches the point where it shuts off the water coming in from the fill valve.
The overflow tube allows water to go back into the toilet bowl after you flush.
The lift chain is what connects the flush handle to the flapper.
The flapper is the seal that keeps the water in your toilet bowl for the next flush. When you push the flush handle, the lift chain pulls up the flapper and allows the water in the tank to be propelled into the toilet bowl.
Adjust Your Water Level
If you’re not getting a good, full flush, it might mean that your toilet’s water level is too low. The usual suspect when it comes to low water level is the float valve or float ball. Depending on your toilet, you’re going to have one of these components.
With a float ball, you want to position the ball so that it’s higher up in the toilet tank. That will allow more water to flow into and fill up the tank before the intake is shut off. If you have a float valve, you can adjust the height of the valve by turning the screw located on top of the valve counter-clockwise.
Check Your Lift Chain And Flapper
If your lift chain is too loose, the flapper won’t stay up long enough to release a full flush. If it’s really loose, it can even get stuck under the flapper after you flush. And if the flapper isn’t working properly, it won’t create a seal after you flush, causing your toilet to run constantly.
So what’s the best solution here? Usually, if you’re having issues with the flapper and chain mechanism, it’s best to just go out and buy a replacement. They can be found at any hardware store, are inexpensive and can be installed without any tools in just a few minutes.
Clean Your Inlet Holes
The inlet holes (or rim jets) are the little jets along the bottom of the rim of your toilet bowl. They move the water from your toilet tank along the sides of the bowl, keeping the toilet bowl clean every time you flush. The problem with these inlet holes is that they are small and can get clogged pretty easily over time.
In addition to causing your toilet to have a weak flush, there are some other telltale signs of clogged inlet holes. When you flush, you might notice the water coming out of the holes is moving in different directions. The flow of water from the inlet holes might be weaker than usual.
Thankfully, you can clean inlet holes on your own with some household products. You can use either a bleach/water solution (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) or some distilled vinegar. Pour a cup or two of your cleaner of choice into the overflow tube in your toilet tank. Let the solution sit for five or ten minutes and flush the toilet.
Next, take a piece of wire, a pipe cleaning brush or small allen wrench and clean out the jets, one by one. Not the most pleasant of tasks, but necessary. Afterward, give the toilet bowl a good scrub under the rim with your standard toilet bowl cleaner. Add another rinse of your cleaning solution into the overflow tube for good measure.
If All Else Fails
You might find that none of the above methods are getting your toilet to flush the way you want. In many cases, that could mean you have a clog. Some small clogs won’t cause your toilet to overflow completely but will weaken the flushing process. So have a go at your toilet with a plunger or a drain snake.
Following the methods in this article should get your toilet back to flushing properly. Start with the usual suspects — the float valve, the chain and the inlet holes — and if you’re still having problems, try using traditional unclogging methods. If you’re still scratching your head, it might be time to bring in a professional.