Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Lynda Stevens
There’s almost nothing more frustrating than trying to flush the toilet and realizing…little to nothing happens. You use the handle again and again, but nothing seems to be working. Dirty toilet water remains where it is, stubbornly refusing to go down the drain. When this happens, there could be an unsightly clog, but the more likely problem is that the flush pressure is weak. There could be a variety of causes for this problem, and thus there is a variety of solutions. Here are four simple fixes for stronger flushes that don’t require messing with too much plumbing.
Check the Water Valve
It’s recommended you turn the water off in the bathroom before attempting this simple fix for a stronger flush. Each toilet is fed by a pipe connected to a water valve, which controls how much liquid passes into the tank. Sometimes, something hits this valve and can turn it from being fully open to partially closed. When this happens, flush pressure suffers. To turn the water off, check the plumbing behind or underneath the toilet. There is usually a single shut off valve since toilets only use cold water. It should be able to be turned by hand.
Once you’ve turned the water off, all you have to do is check the valve and turn it back to the “ON” position. Instead of turning clockwise, you need to turn counterclockwise. Some valves will require multiple turns as well, so don’t be disheartened if you need to go through several rotations before the valve is in its prime and ready to go.
Unclog the Rim
Most individuals clean their toilets, but few actually scrub them correctly. When you clean your toilet, do you bother to drag your brush or sponge up under the rim? And, if you do, have you ever taken a good look at the symmetrical holes that sit underneath it? If not, you could have accidentally clogged those holes, which are responsible for dispensing the water that flows from the tank into the bowl.
Don’t despair: The holes are easy to unclog once you know how and, while they can be full of bacteria, they’re probably not full of fecal matter. Instead, the biggest problem is lime and other minerals that buildup and cause problems. This buildup is mainly from hard water and most likely affects other drains and appliances throughout the house. To prevent future problems, you might want to consider finding a water softener to attach to your main water supply. It can save you tons of cleaning in the long run.
However, to unclog the holes beneath the toilet rim, all you need to do is get a nylon brush and vigorously scrub the holes. Poking them with a sharp object when buildup blocks the hole entirely is another option. If you struggle to see under the room, use a mirror with an angled handle so you can look at the reflection.
With the buildup removed, the toilet will once again flush at its normal pressure.
Adjust the Water Level
Few people realize you can actually adjust the level of water present in the toilet tank, which can affect how much floods into the bowl and the pressure in which it is dispensed. So, what do you do?
To adjust the water level in the tank, you need to determine what kind of float you have. There are two standard types: a ball or a cylinder. The ball float tends to be easier to change the position of since it sits near the top and just needs to be moved. Before touching anything, check to see that the water in the tank sits about 1 in. below the overflow tube. The overflow tube is the pipe that carries water away in case too much floods the tank – this prevents it from spilling out and making a mess.
If the water is too low, it’s time to adjust the float. If you have a ball float, look for the screw that will be resting on top of the fill valve. All you have to do is turn the screw clockwise, which should raise the water level. If you have a cylinder float, you need to squeeze the clip on the side of the float. Gently raise the cylinder to the desired level and then let go.
If you’re not sure what type of float you have, just look at the shape. A ball float is pretty obviously a ball, while the cylinder will be rounded and tall.
Unfortunately, not every toilet has a strong flush. Some older models will wear down over time and were not designed with efficiency in mind. These toilets will often have less power, will clog more easily, and tend to be found in old houses and apartments. If you’ve tried the other three steps and are still having trouble adjusting your toilet flush pressure, consider getting an upgrade.
Many modern toilets are designed to use as little water with as much force as possible. This creates a fast, strong flush and an easy clean. Since most toilets produced during and after the 1990s are subject to strict guidelines, each model also only uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This can reduce water bills while improving power.
Don’t let your toilet get you down. Poor flush pressure can be a problem, but there are a myriad of solutions, especially if the bathroom bowl is more modern. All you need to do is make sure the water is at the proper level and has an easy way to travel down from the tank into the bowl, where it pushes away waste and can fill everything with clean water once more.
Now that your toilet is flushing with the power of a vacuum tearing through dust, you can finally rest easily knowing your bathroom is clean and free of toilet contamination. For more easy to use tips, tricks, and reviews, check out our Most Powerful Flushing Toilet Reviews for the best information currently available on the web.