My toilet won’t flush

this new toilet it wont flush

When your toilet won’t flush, it can be very frustrating. There are many reasons why this might happen, and we will describe some of these common reason. The first step is to identify whether the plumbing problem is with your drainage system. Is there any obstruction in the tank or if there are water supply issues that can cause the tank parts to fail? If you follow our simple steps you can identify the issue. We help you decide if you can fix a toilet yourself or you need an expert plumber.

There are a few common reasons why your toilet won’t flush

It is most likely that one of these parts are broken:

  1. You don’t have water in the toilet bowl.
  2. The faulty or damaged rubber flapper.
  3. The syphon is not working due to limescale buildup.
  4. The fill valve is faulty.
  5. You have a blockage.

A toilet that won’t flush often have a low water level in the tank

toilet cystern

When there isn’t enough water in the tank, it can lead to a situation where the toilet won’t flush. To examine the problem, it is best to look in the back of your toilet tank. In many cases, the water should be about an inch below your overflow tube.

There are many types of cisterns and some of them build inside the wall.

If you can remove the tank lid, check if there is any water flowing in the cistern after you flush the toilet. You might have a running toilet where the flushing mechanism needs replacing.

There are two reasons why you don’t have water in the cistern:

1.If you found that the toilet tank not filling up, you can adjust the float ball inside of it. Sometimes the tank adjuster looks like a screw, you have to twist it left and right to adjust the water level.

2.Check if your main supply is not turned off. In some places, this could be a reason.

Do you have water in another part of the house?

If you checked everywhere and you have water coming out from your taps then the issue lies inside the toilet bowl. You can check if you have an isolation valve underneath the toilets. This can be closed or can be clogged up.

If you are a DIY homeowner, you can turn off the main water. Get an adjustable spanner, undo the nuts, open the isolation valve just a tiny bit! Check if there is any water coming out from your pipe.

If there is water in the pipes then it is more likely that the filling mechanism is broken and you have to replace it.

Is the water level too low in the tank?

Flushing your toilet requires a lot of water to produce the correct flow.

By opening the cistern lid you will find the filling mechanism. You have to adjust the screw to the correct position.

On the ball valve, there is a white plastic pin that you have to turn. The plastic pin is always on the filling mechanism where the water enters the tank. This needs adjusting to having more water in the tank.

The toilet won’t flush because the handle is broken

toilet cystern handle

You might found that the tank handle outside it looks fine but your toilet still won’t flush.

This is due to the handle rod (square shank) or nylon arm has broken.

You have to open up your tank lid and check if the rod or the nylon arm is broken. These parts need replacing. You can find some parts in the local shop.

If you are not confident with the work, call our expert plumber and we sort out your issues in no time.

Your toilet flapper is damaged or bent

toilet flapper

The flapper is bent, your toilet is continuously overflowing and you can not stop it.

The most common reason why a toilet doesn’t flush is that the flapper (the white rubber flap at the bottom of your toilet) is doesn’t seal. To fix this problem, you’ll need to replace it with a new one- and they’re inexpensive!

This might sound like an easy job for someone handy in plumbing but if not, don’t worry: all you have to do is:

  • turn off the water supply
  • make sure the water level behind the old flapper is below its lip before removing it from your toilet.
  • replace the flapper.

Usually, it is better to replace the whole flushing mechanism.

You have issues with the lift chain

The only issue can have with the lift chain is there will be too much slack. If the chain is loose it can not lift the flapper high enough. The water can’t flush the toilet properly leaving you with little or no water at all.

Adjust the chain so that it is tight and can not be pulled through.

If you are unable to adjust the toilet lift chain, check if there is an obstruction. Check the pipe or cartridge inside of the tank.

Check any toilet tissue or flapper valve opening arm sticking up too high. Remove any obstructions and the water might flush in the toilet bowl.

You can cut the chain to the right size and adjust it to the correct level.

Your toilets blocked

This would be the first step that you have to do. You lift the toilet and check if you have a toilet blockage!

  • Do you flush food in the toilet?
  • Are you using too much toilet paper?
  • Do you flush baby wipes in the toilet?
  • Does any cotton bud fall in the toilet?

If you have done any of the above your drainage system might be clogged. You can try to clean out the blockage yourself using a toilet auger or a plunger. If the blockage is further away in the drainage system, you need a drainage engineer for the work.

Before you call an engineer to unclog your toilet check the following:

Check your gutter gulley on the street which is close to your property. That could be yours.

Sometimes the whole drainage system is blocked in front of the property. In a case like this, you have to call the maintenance team which could be Thames water. The front of house drainage issues belongs to them. They can unblock your drainage system in front of the property for free.

Do you need one of our professional plumbers to help with your plumbing problem?

Call us today and our helpful team can give you information on what you should do. We will advise you if you need a plumber to come to your property.

Contact our plumbers today at:

020 8355 0840 by email at or check out our other plumbing services!

Quick tips on what you should do before you call a professional plumber

  1. The first thing you should do when your toilet doesn’t flush is to check the water level in the tank!
  2. Check for any obstructions in the pipes that may be causing a blockage!
  3. Make sure there’s enough water to fill up the bowl and cover all of its contents before flushing it!
  4. Don’t forget to clean out your cistern periodically as well! It could be clogged which would cause problems!

Read more about:

14 ways to save on your water bills


Frequently asked questions about non-flushing toilet

Q: How do you fix a toilet that won’t flush?

Do the basic check what we advised above. Check if it’s blocked. Check the water levels in the cistern. Check the flapper in the flushing mechanism. Check the inlet valve.

Q: Why does my toilet fill up but not flush?

The main reason could be the flappers damaged. Also, check the water level if it’s set to the correct. The water level should be set 1 inch below the overflow tube.

Q: How do you drain a cistern that won’t flush?

The only option is to get a sponge and soak up the water. Plumbers are using a pump that creates suction, but probably you don’t have it in hand.

Q: Why is my flush not working?

Your fault can be a faulty toilet lever or syphon.

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