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Question DetailsAsked on 6/4/2013

What causes a toilet to not flush all of the solids, every time? How do I fix that?

When flushing, all of the water does not always flush away. If the handle is held, It usually will but even then, not always does it rid the solids?

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I am presuming this is a new problem on an existing toilet you have been using for a while. If not, maybe it is just one of the new-fangled 2 or 2-1/2 gallon flush toilets, that rarely work worth beans. If that is the case but it still has a full-size (about 5 gallon) tank that only half empties when the lever is pushed down, then hold the flush lever down throughout the flush until the bottom of the bowl goes almost dry (so all 5 gallons empties out), then release and let it refill.

Otherwise, several possible reasons - you need to do a couple of simple tests to try to pin the cause down. I am presuming this is a new situation so a change in recent weeks or months. At some point during these tests, hopefully you will tie down a cause. Whether or not you can fix it yourself depends on how home-handy you are, and on your sense of adventure. Youtube and several manufacturers of toilet valves have videos on their website on diagnosing toilet problems, too.

1) is the water rising abnormally high up in the bowl like it is about to overflow before flushing action takes over - near or almost to the bottom of the bowl rim ? If so, probably obstructed in the "trap" - the circuitous reverse curved discharge route through the toilet itself, and needs snaking with a toilet-safe snake (designed to not scratch the toilet ceramic).

2) take the top off the tank, and check that it is refilling to the visible water line (there should be a stain where the water usually filled to, plus there will be a fill limit line, usually embossed in the ceramic tank itself) - if not, then your fill valve limit stop may have moved, so your tank is not filling with enough water because the float is jamming or shutting it off too soon - check on the fill valve manufacturer website or Youtube for adjustment instructions, depending on which of several type fill valves and floats you have.

3) with tank filled and the tank top off, flush and watch the water going out the flapper valve opening - is it restricted in any way, or is the flapper valve not opening at least about 60 degrees. If not being pulled open far enough by the rod or chain, the linkage or chain may have slipped some (it should have just enough slack to just let the flapper close fully when flush lever is released at end of flush), or flush lever may have slipped on its shaft, putting a lot of slack in the system so it is not pulling the flapper valve open enough.

4) If flapper open OK but closes before most of the water has left the tank, maybe it is closing too soon. There are several delay systems on flapper valves, but usually it is some form of a counterweight to hold the flapper valve open, in the form of a little reservoir on the back side of the flapper that retains maybe 1/2 cup of water as it flushes and the tank water level drops, then one or more little holes let the water drain out of the reservoir slowly, letting the flapper flop closed after 5 or so seconds. If the water is leaking out prematurely from the reservoir somehow, the flapper will close while the tank is still wanting to empty. You could try plugging one of the drain holes with a twist of paper or a bit of gum to delay the closing.

5) if 2 toilets in back-to-back bathrooms are doing it, then could be a partial blockage in the sewer pipe where or near where the two toilet sewer pipes join into the main sewer pipe - if this is the case, they would both would start to flush fine, but then slow up dramatically toward the end

6) check other toilets in the house - if most or all (and maybe tubs, too) are doing it, including ones not back-to-back, then could be a blocked sewer vent pipe not letting the air out of the sewer pipe as the water flows down. This could also be the case with a single toilet depending on plumbing arrangement, but usually not.

7) a possibility, but likely only if the problem developed gradually over a very long time and you have hard water, is that the holes in the rim that let the water into the toilet have started plugging off with lime or iron deposits, restricting flushing water.

8) an even more remote possibility, if you have the right age inquisitive kid, is that he/she took the top off the tank (without breaking it taking it off and putting it back on) to see how it works, dropped some paper or something in to see it go down the drain hole, and that blocked the water passages between the tank and the bowl

Answered 7 years ago by LCD




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