Causes and solutions for when your toilet won't flush, learn how to fix a toilet in a few steps

Toilet won’t flush

If you’re having trouble getting your toilet to flush, and don’t want to resort to the bucket and water method, check these four components are working as they should:


The float ball


Your cistern should be full of water. If it isn’t draw your attention to the big plastic ball, known as the float ball.

There to control the level of water in the tank, ensure that the float ball isn’t touching the side of the tank preventing the water from rising. If you need to move it, gently bend the flat rod. While doing so check that the rod isn’t broken, and ensure that the float ball itself isn’t leaking.


The flapper valve


Found at the bottom of the tank, the flapper valve lifts open to let water pass through into the toilet bowl.

Pull up the flapper valve to allow the water to flow out. If this works as normal then the problem isn’t with the valve itself, but likely the connection between the handle and the flapper valve.


The handle


Pull the handle to flush and assess whether it feels too loose or too tight. You can adjust the mounting nut as required. While you’re inspecting the handle give it a clean and keep an eye out for limescale that may have caused stiffness.


The chain


The chain runs from the lift arm down to the bottom of the tank where it lifts the flapper valve.

Check that it’s in good condition by looking for breaks and bends. If it’s bent out of shape you should be able to bend it back easily, however if it’s broken you’ll need to replace it.

If it feels too tight you’ll need to loosen it as there should be around half an inch of slack. You can adjust this by hooking the chain in a different place in order to get the right tension.

Information and other materials on this website are not intended to constitute professional advice and should not be relied upon. Please see our Terms of Use for further details.

Related articles

Carbon monoxide alarm

Carbon monoxide poisoning: symptoms, signs & protection

Carbon monoxide (CO) is extremely dangerous and infamous for being invisible to the naked eye, tasteless and scent-free. Responsible for around 20...
Gas safety tenants

Gas safety tips for tenants

While it’s a landlord’s legal responsibility to maintain the gas appliances within your home, there are several things you can do as a tenant to...
How works a condensing boiler

Condensing boilers

Generating more heat from the same amount of fuel, a condensing boiler will save you money on your heating bills when directly compared to a...