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Is Your Toilet Hard To Flush? Top Causes and Fixes

Do you find your toilet hard to flush? It could be because one or more components are loose, faulty, or broken. The hitches reduce your toilet’s normal operations, so you must flush severally or use unnecessary effort to achieve the expected results. Fortunately, every problem your toilet faces has a viable solution.

Is Your Toilet Hard To Flush

Why Is Your Toilet Hard To Flush?

There are several reasons why your toilet may be hard to flush, with most having to do with the mechanisms and components inside the tank or your plumbing. 

Read on to find the typical reasons you might find your toilet hard to flush and the associated solutions.

Broken or Faulty Toilet Flush Handle

A broken or faulty flush handle is arguably the most straightforward problem to diagnose. The toilet handles can either become too loose or too tight. As a result, the handle doesn’t connect with the link and flushing mechanism. Sometimes, the handle becomes too tight due to lime build-up.

A clean-up should solve the problem if your handle is too tight due to a build-up. Tighten the nut and washer inside the tank if you have a loose grip. However, if the handle has broken, you’ll need a replacement. If you aren’t handy, call an expert to fix the problem. 

Otherwise, follow the step below to replace a toilet handle:

  1. Open the tank and unhook the lift chain.
  2. With a crescent wrench, remove the nut that holds the handle inside the tank to remove the old handle.
  3. Use a scrub sponge and soap to clean rust welding and debris around the handle hole.
  4. Remove the nut from the replacement handle, then insert the arm into the hole.
  5. Slide the nut over the arm and hand turn onto the handle base.
  6. With a crescent wrench, tighten the nut (Take care not to over-tighten as you could crack the porcelain).
  7. Clip the chain to the same shaft as the old one, and then flush the toilet to check if everything is in order.
  8. If the chain is too tight or loose, the flush valve won’t sit properly and will leak. So, adjust the chain up or down and do the test flush until your toilet works right.

Cracked Overflow Tube

Your toilet overflow tube is always under constant pressure. The pressure can crack or damage the overflow tube. The role of the tubes is to empty water directly into the bowl during a flash. But, if the tube cracks, water runs into instead of past the tube. As a result, your toilet fails to flush properly.

You can apply silicone caulks in a crack to solve the issue. Nonetheless, if your overflow tube has many cracks, you’ll have to get a replacement to restore the workability. 

To replace an overflow tube, locate its position in the toilet tank. Then, follow the steps below.

  1. Turn off the water supply and drain the toilet tank.
  2. Remove the tank to get to the valve at the bottom of the toilet reservoir.
  3. Remove the plastic outer ring and washer and replace them with new components.
  4. Put your overflow tube in place and secure the new replacement with a wrench.
  5. Place the tank back on the toilet bowl and slide the nuts and bolts into the holes (if you notice that the toilet is leaking from the tank bolts, read our guide here).

Clogged Waste Pipe

A toilet waste pipe transports water and solid waste from your toilet bowl to the drain that leads to the sewer. If the waste pipe is completely clogged, the water in your bowel lacks a place to go. As a result, your toilet fills up with water once you flush. If the drain is partially clogged, you will have a weak and slow drain.

The steps to fix a partial and complete clog are the same. One way is to force water through the pipe with a plunger. In the process, you will break down the debris that caused the clog. An ideal plunger for the task is one with the flange extension at the end of the rubber section.

Another way to unblock your drain is to use a toilet snake. Toilet snakes unclog debris that occurs beyond your toilet. If the clog extends deep into the pipe, you will need a long coiled cable.

Unclog Waste Pipe

Clogged Rim Jet

A rim jet releases water from the tank to your bowel when you flush the toilet. The water should flow fast out of your rims jet for you to get an intense flash.

The build-up can develop around the rim jets as you use your toilet. As a result, the debris blocks the water flow weakening the flushing power.

The only way to get a stronger flush if you have a clogged dream jet is to remove the build-up. Follow the below steps to remove the deposits.

  1. Plug each jet with a plumber putty.
  2. Put an acidic toilet cleaner in the overflow tube found in your toilet tank.
  3. Let the cleaner settle for a while to dissolve the deposits.
  4. Wait for some time before removing the plumber putty.
  5. Flush your toilet severally, then scrub the rim jets with a brush to remove any leftovers.

Clogged Siphon Jet

Also known as a jet flush hole, a siphon jet releases water that pushes waste into the trap. With time and usage, deposits form and block the siphon jet weakening your toilet’s flushing power.

A thorough toilet clean-up should remove deposits found on a clogged siphon jet. Use a brush and an acidic toilet cleaner to remove the build-up.

The brush should be tiny enough to fit in the hole. Also, you should repeat the clean-up process several times until the passageway is clear of any dirt.

If you want to deep-clean your siphon jets, use vinegar and duct tape. The duct tape holds the vinegar solution within the jets until all the dirt dissolves. First, you’ll need to turn off the water supply and drain the toilet tank. Then, follow the steps below.

  1. Tape the area under the water bowl firmly. Fill the water tank with vinegar solution and flush (the duct tape blocks the water and allows the jets to soak in vinegar).
  2. After some time, remove the tape to release the vinegar solution and any dissolved dirt.
  3. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub any leftover dirt, reconnect the water supply, and flush.

Slacked Flapper Chain

A slacked flapper chain is evident if you must hold down your toilet handle for a long time to get a good flush. In most cases, the culprit is a long chain. If the flapper chain is too long, the flapper closes too fast. As a result, you don’t get enough water to flush the toilet.

To get a good flash, shorten the flapper chains. Many flapper chains have a clip you can latch onto a different link to reduce the slack. Even if your chain doesn’t have a hook, you can use a cutter to cut the chain.

Again, the goal is to reduce the slack so the flapper can stay open long enough every time you flush.

Low Bowl Water Level

If you find your toilet hard to flush, there could be an issue with the water level being low. The strength with which you flush reduces if your toilet bowl has a low water level. Often, the reason behind the reduction in level is a leak in the fill valve. The fill valve is usually in your water tank.

So, to inspect the problem, open the toilet tank, flush, then observe. If water squirts out of the top of your fill valve, then the valve is leaky.

The solution in such a situation is to replace the faulty valve. To do so, first, turn off the water supply and drain the tank. Then, follow the steps below.

  1. Remove the old valve and put the washers in place.
  2. The fill valve comes fully assembled, so insert it straight into the toilet. 
  3. Tighten the lock nut onto the threaded section of the valve.
  4. Reattach the water supply and turn the water back on.

Another reason your toilet water could be low is a cracked bowl that allows water leaks to bathroom floors. Also, your sewer line could be clogged, so you need a professional inspection.

Low Tank Water Level

Your toilet has a minimum standard water level just below the overflow pipe. If the water goes below the mark, your toilet develops a weak flush. The chances of a clog also increase due to the low pressure that flows through the waste pipe.

Your toilet tank has a float that determines the water level. To adjust the level, raise the float’s height to allow more water in the tank before the float cuts the water supply. Nonetheless, most toilets have an adjustment screw which you need to adjust with a screwdriver.

Low Tank Water Level

Dysfunctional Plumbing Vent System

The plumbing vent system removes your home’s water, gas, and odors. The system also regulates air pressure. So, if your venting system has hitches, the flushing power and water pressure are affected.

In most cases, you will hear gurgles down the drains. You may also smell sewage odors and experience slow drain in the sinks and showers.

Vent systems are complicated and call for professional intervention. So, if you suspect that a vent issue has caused a weak flush, contact a plumber. Plumbers have specialized equipment and tools to resolve the various problems in your vent system.

Partially on Shut-off Valve

A deep clean-up or friction from nearby objects nudge the shut-off valve off position. As a result, water doesn’t flow to the tank. You’ll then have a few flushes left before the water levels go too low for a proper flush.

To locate the issues:

  1. Check your flush valve behind the base of your toilet, a few inches from the floor. The flush valve should be slightly away from the wall and turned to the left most.
  2. Turn the head anticlockwise if your flush valve is in a different position.
  3. Wait a minute to let the valve reset before you flush.

Clogged Impeller

Something is likely stuck in the impeller when your toilet flushes partially or lacks power. Since the impeller creates the suction that pushes waste and water down the drain, blockages make your toilet challenging to flush.

To get the power to flush back, you’ll have to get rid of whatever object is stuck in the impeller. So, remove the cover of the toilet tank to locate the impeller. You could use a small item like a safety pin to dislodge the obstruction since the impeller can be hard to reach.


If you find your toilet hard to flush, there are solutions. However, DIY solutions may cause further damage to components, so the ideal course of action in such situations is to call an expert. Professionals have the necessary knowledge and deploy advanced tools to pinpoint and solve the root problem.

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