Does your toilet fill up then drain slowly? No problem because in this article, we are going to look at some of the best and proven ways to deal with this annoying and frustrating situation, and most importantly, avert a toilet disaster that might happen.
Indeed this isn’t how our toilet is supposed to work, that’s why in this post, we will look at the best tips and tricks to fix this never-ending issue that shouldn’t be ignored at all costs.
Best tips for a toilet that flushes slowly and incompletely
First, start by assessing the main cause of the slow drain and the nature of the slow drain. A typical slow drain is caused by natural clog through daily use or blockage by a foreign item inside the toilet port. With simple tools, DIY tips and tricks, and a little bit of effort this will get your slow drain toilet back to normal.
1. Use of a Plunger
While a plunger is precisely crafted to unclog blockages, it is essential to go for a toilet plunger, also known as a flange plunger explicitly designed for the toilet. These flange-style plungers have an extra rubber ring around the cup to increase its effectiveness through suction and compression; this is why it is preferred and best for this job.
First, start by draining the water inside the toilet bowl, if there is and then slowly and carefully insert the plunger inside the toilet drain. Make sure the plunger rubber ring has precisely inserted into the toilet drain and push the plunger up and down. When you push the plunger up and down, the process will loosen and break up the clog thus free up the toilet trap way from clogs and blockages.
Caution: The first plunge should be done gently to avoid spillage from the toilet bowl.
2. Toilet Auger
If the toilet plunger doesn’t work, then the toilet auger/plumbing snake will surely help break up and hook on to the clog. Toilet auger is an extended cable usually 4 to 6 inches, made of flexible metal that easily maneuver through the toilet trap way to remove obstructions that might be causing slow toilet drain.
First insert the plumbing snake inside your toilet drain. If you feel some obstruction inside the trap ways then crank the toilet auger in a clockwise direction; this will break up the clog through the circular motion. As a result, the clogs will hook on the plumbing snake. Finally, pull the cable out of the toilet drain carefully to avoid spillage.
3. Hot Water and Dish Soap
This third step is simple yet quite effective. In most cases, a toilet that is about to block normally goes through slow water drain every time one flushes the toilet. This is caused by clogged or blocked trap way or drains port. Hot water and dish soap should do the trick of unblocking your toilet just like they do when washing the dishes.
Using about a quarter cup of dish soap, pour it into the toilet bowl and let it sit for over fifteen minutes; this will give it time to go down the drain. The soap will tend to lubricate and disintegrate the clogs.
Next boil some water in a pot up to boiling point and then pour the water into the bowl until it settles. Take care not to pour directly on the porcelain because the porcelain might crack causing leakages. The hot water with the help of dish soap will break down the particles that may be causing the blockage.
Finally, flush the toilet twice. The next flush should drain smoothly. However, you might still need other tools such as plunger and toilet hunger to scrub off the tough and stubborn clogs.
4. Enzyme cleaning products
There are cleaning products that use enzymes to breakdown any organic substances that could possibly be clogging your toilets. These products contain enzymes such as lipase, cellulase, and amylase. These products are eco-friendly and are advisable over chemical products.
They are effective in dealing with fungal blockage. They also release good bacterial all through your pipes thus removing the organic clogs in almost the entire plumbing. The products can be purchased online or at any local outlet.
These products are applied differently depending on their form. The pods, sticks, and tablets are placed in the toilet and slowly dissolve to release enzymes that act on the organic objects obstructing the free flow. The powder form is allowed to settle at the bottom of the bowl while the liquid products are poured directly into the bowl.
One of the other added benefits of using these products is that they eliminate odor. Enzyme cleaning products work slowly and are less effective compared to the chemicals. Most stores maintain a low supply because they have a short shelf life.
5. Use of chemicals products
You might have tried all the physical methods but none seems to work or the toilet gets clogged again after a short while. Cleaning chemicals might seem to be effective and reliable method despite being potentially dangerous to the user and the environment and also corrode your pipes over time.
These chemicals also leave you with a toxic or corrosive solution in your toilet bowl. Most of these products contain sulphuric acid. However, you can make yours at home using baking soda and vinegar; distilled vinegar preferably. Apply to the toilet and wait for about fifteen minutes and flush for the next five minutes.
6. Contact your local plumber
If all these methods have failed, you might need to contact your plumber. Plumbers can deal with major blockage. Plumbers can pull off the toilet bowl and disassemble the drainage system and deal with the clog directly. This process takes many hours and is expensive for sure.
7. Proper plumbing maintenance
Clogs and blockages in the toilets build over time; might take years. Regular maintenance of your plumbing system is necessary to avoid build-ups of substances that can clog your toilet. You would not have to worry about unexpected, annoying blockages. You also get to keep off expensive plumbing bills.
Some of the maintenance methods include the use of drain covers. Drain covers allow water to pass through and filter out bigger solid objects from being flushed down the drains. You should also frequently clean your drain covers.
Also always pour baking soda and vinegar in the toilet bowl and then run hot water afterward. This will ensure your toilet’s pipes do not have a build-up of materials that might clog up your toilet’s drainage.
Does pouring boiling/hot water down a toilet unclog it?
If you happen to notice that your toilet is clogged, the first advisable and easiest remedy is boiling water. It is one of the easiest methods of unclogging toilets. However, it can only work on soft clogs and debris. You have to note that it is boiling water not hot water.
You can only use boiling water when you have metallic pipes. The boiling water will damage PVC pipes. Boiling water dissolves the clogs in the pipes, it also loosens up the tough clogs enabling them to be flushed away. Boiling water also breaks up clogs into small drainable particles. there are three easy steps:-
- Boil around five liters of water or a gallon.
- Pour it in the toilet bowl. Do not pour it directly on the porcelain.
- Allow the water to settle in the toilet for around twenty minutes for it to work on the clogs.
- Flush the toilet
Why is the toilet filling up slowly?
After some time of use, you may notice that your toilet is taking up time to fill up. Normally it should take about three minutes to fill up, while to some people this might not be a big problem, it is just a small issue that can be lived with, but to many, this can be a big problem especially if you have to flush more than once. Several reasons could make your toilet to fill slowly.
1. One of the main reasons that make the tank to fill slowly is the debris issue. When debris accumulates in the valves, they slow down the flow of water into the tank. The valve contains the water flow into the tank. When they are partially open, water will go through them at a minimum amount and speed. The valves should be maintained by regularly cleaning. Valves should be used for slightly over five years.
2. The ballcock or float ball is used in the tank to avoid overflow and backflow in an event of low pressure. When the water rises the float ball rises with it, once it rises to the full mark level, the mechanisms move the lever to close the valve and shut the water supply.
If the ballcock is waterlogged and does not float adequately, it will not allow the tank to fill. If the float ball floats so low it means the water supply will be disengaged earlier, you should try adjusting it by turning the float screw, adjust the float lower and turn it until the water stops running. Flush the toilets and watch it as the water refills. If it doesn’t reach the required height then you might have to repair the flange ring.
3. One of the reasons for a slow filling tank is a low toilet water pressure. This problem is not necessarily caused by the tank. It’s most likely the pipe works, there can be cracks and leakages in the pipes that lead to low pressure. To fix this, you must ensure that all the pipes are watertight at the joints. Replace worn-out pipes.
How do I increase toilet tank water flow?
If you ever had to flush your toilet more than once then you understand the importance of your tank filling up quickly. Normally a tank should take about three minutes to refill, if it takes longer you might have to check it.
There are quick easy ways you can do it yourself that you don’t have to call your plumber.
Check if your fill valve is fully open. A partially opened valve reduces the water inlet in the tank. You first have to remove the tank lid and find the fill valve; it should be located on the left side of the tank.
Adjust it to make sure it is fully open. This will allow more water into the tank. The fill valve can also be blocked by debris. Cleaning the debris off the fill valve should be done regularly.
Slow filling tanks can be caused by clogged tubes due to the buildup of debris. You need to clean up these tubes to get your flow of water back. Use a bottle brush or some slim wire to clean this tube. Open and close the valves at intervals to see if your flow is reestablished.
The float ball is important in the water tank as it regulates the water that floats in the tank. The float ball is extended to an arm that blocks the water inlet. If the float ball is fixed too low, then the water intake will be minimized. In case of such, you need to adjust the float ball in a position that its arm will only close the inlet when the tank is full.
Pressure affects the rate at which your tank will refill after every flush. A pressure drop reduces the rate at which the water will fill up. Check your pipes and make sure they are in good condition.
Can I convert the toilet to have a power flush system?
It is possible to convert any toilet into a power flush. You just have to be a little more innovative. Power flush toilets are also known as pressure-assisted toilets. These toilets produce a more powerful and louder flash compared to other regular toilets.
A pressure tank is preferred over a porcelain tank. A bladder is installed in the tank. It compresses the air, building up pressure and thus pushing water out at a higher-pressure during flushing. You might need the assistance of a professional to install this new system.
How do you know if your fill valve is bad?
Several signs would help you know that your fill valve probably needs replacing.
- A constant running toilet. This may be caused by leaking flappers. They allow the tank to be drained and the fill valve will be running continuously. However, this leak can also be caused by a worn-out fill valve. There is an easy way to run the test yourself. Put dye or paint in the tank and let it settle, do not flush for around twenty minutes, and observe any signs of the dye or paint in the bowl. If there is no color change then the fault lies with the fill valve.
- You might be hearing some noises every time you flush your toilets. A low humming sound that turns into whistles and screams overtime. These noises are very annoying, especially during the night when the rest of the family is trying to catch some sleep. This is caused by a worn-out diaphragm gasket inside the fill valve which might have harden overtime. The whistling sound can also be caused by a slow leaking valve. Try adjusting the fill valve, if the noise persists then you might consider replacing it. You must first remove the tank lid and try to locate the float. If your tank has a cylinder float, then there a clip that can be adjusted to lower the float down till it stops the water flow. If your tank has a float ball on top of the fill valve, turn the screw anticlockwise until the water flow is interrupted. If the sounds persist then you might have to replace your fill valve.
- A weak flush is one of the most annoying things ever, especially when you have a slow filling tank. This can be very embarrassing especially when it is not so strong to flush the floating flamingoes away more specifically when someone is waiting to use the toilet after you. This is mainly caused by debris and the accumulation of hard water minerals in the pipes and jet holes. This can be fixed by regularly cleaning the waste pipe, siphon jet, and rim jets and ensure there is enough water in the bowl or tank. however, although not very common, a broken fill valve can also give you a weak or slow flush. The fill valve has a valve float. These floats can always be adjusted. When it is adjusted too low, it can always lead to a weak flush. Weak flushes not only lead to waste of water since everyone might have to flush several times but also waste might buildup leading to blockage. Clogged valves mean that the tank will take so much time to fill up in between flushes thus subsequent flushes will not have enough water. Thus you might consider cleaning the valve or replacing it.
- Your tank should take approximately three minutes to refill. If it takes longer you might need to check your fill valves. They might be clogged. Try cleaning them and if the filling in is still slow then it is advisable you try replacing it.
How do you fix a clogged fill valve?
A clogged fill valve will make your tank to fill slowly. You will also have a weak or slow flush. A clogged valve does not always require to be replaced; you can always clean it. there are easy steps to clean up your fill valve.
The first step is to take off the lid of the tank. The second step is to take water out of the tank. Turn off the inward water supply and flush the toilet. You might need to use a towel to dry the tank completely.
Take off the water supply nut at the bottom of the tank, Hold the valve on the inside while taking the lower part off. Pick up the fill valve by the lever and hold on to the float. Disconnect the hose off and pull the handled pin and Lift the arm. Push down and turn counter-clockwise till it clicks. Pull the little lid and check under the diaphragm.
Check through the valve to make sure there is nothing that can obstruct your water flow.
Daniel Keringet is a market researcher and publisher (Best Osmosis Experts) who got an interest in topics related to
Water safety out of curiosity and passion from the time he got into college. Now he is a full-time writer living in Naperville Illinois.