Toilets are the kind of thing you don’t think about much until they stop working. You might need a toilet repair that you can do yourself, but if you aren’t confident, definitely contact a professional for help. Before attempting any toilet repair, it is important to have a basic understanding of how most toilets work. Pushing the handle to flush the toilet causes a chain reaction of events that removes waste from the toilet and gets the toilet ready for the next flush.
Here are the steps of how most toilets flush:
- The pushing of the handle pulls a chain inside the toilet tank.
- The chain lifts the stopper / tank ball / flapper valve.
- Once the flapper valve is out of the way, the water that was waiting in the tank flows into the toilet bowl below.
- This rush of water causes the water that was in the bowl (and any waste or toilet paper present) to go through the trap and down the drain below the toilet bowl.
- Once the new water has left the tank, the flapper closes.
- When the flapper closes, the fill valve and ballcock refill the tank with fresh water.
- The float ball causes the fill valve to shut off when the tank is full.
- If your toilet handle is too loose or stuck, you may need to adjust or clean the mounting nut found inside the tank that holds the handle in place.
- If your toilet is too noisy, the ballcock and fill valve may need to be replaced. It is also possible that the water supply cutoff valve is not all the way open, so check that.
- If your toilet is not flushing at all, check the series of parts listed above to make sure everything is connected and doing its job as described.
If your toilet is partly flushing, the most common culprit is that the lift chain is loose or the flapper is not working correctly.