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Why is My Toilet Flushing Slowly?

Is your toilet suddenly flushing slower than it used to? 

Dealing with a slow flushing toilet can be frustrating for most homeowners.

Not only can it be embarrassing when you have guests over, but it can also cause you great discomfort, especially when you have to do the number two.

A slow flushing toilet can eventually turn into a fully clogged toilet.

Luckily, an experienced DIYer can easily fix a slow flushing toilet with the right tools and techniques.

Yet, it may still depend on what’s causing the issue.

Figuring out what’s causing your slow flushing toilet is the first step to figuring out how to fix it.

This article takes a look at the common reasons for slow flushing toilets.

It also gives you tips on how to resolve each issue and restore your toilet’s flushing power.

Why Is My Toilet Flushing Slow?

The most common causes of a slow flushing toilet are:

  • Not enough water in the toilet tank
  • Partially clogged toilet drain
  • Mineral build-up on the jet holes
  • Defective flapper valve or flush valve
  • Blocked drain vents

Keep reading to learn more about each cause and how to fix them:

Problem #1: Not Enough Water in the Toilet Tank

The first reason for a slow flushing toilet is not having enough water in the water tank.

The toilet tank needs a specific amount of water supply to flush properly.

Not having sufficient water in the tank means there won’t be adequate water pressure to move contents from the toilet bowl to the drain.

The water level in your toilet tank is controlled by a float arm that turns off and on depending on the level it’s set to.

There are two types of float arms:

  • Ball and arm float
  • Cylinder-style float

How to raise a ball and arm float?

A ball and arm float looks exactly like how its name describes it: a ball attached to a plastic arm.

To raise a ball and arm-style float, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Shut off the water supply.
  2. Lift the water tank lid and carefully place it aside.
  3. Locate the screw that connects the float arm to the fill valve.
  4. Using a screwdriver, rotate the screw to raise the arm to the appropriate level. Rotating the screw clockwise raises the float while rotating it counterclockwise lowers it.
  5. Once the arm is at the right level, flush the toilet to see if it improves the water flow. If not, try adjusting the water level even further and check again.

How to raise a cylinder-style float?

A cylinder-style float arm looks like a plastic cylinder, typically with two buttons on top that activate the flushing mechanism of the toilet.

To raise the cylinder-style float in your toilet tank, do steps one and two in the previous section.

After, proceed to the following steps:

  1. Locate the tube that attaches to the fill valve. This small tube controls the water levels in the toilet tank.
  2. You should see a release clip on the tube. Squeeze the release clip to raise the water level in the tank.
    If a release clip isn’t available, look for an adjustment dial near the fill valve. Turn the dial clockwise to raise the water and counterclockwise to decrease it.
  3. Flush the toilet and see if it improves the weak flush. If not, try adjusting the dial near the fill valve again until you get the results you need.

If neither of the two methods work, you may be dealing with a different plumbing issue. You may contact professional drain clearing services or try the next method on this list.

Problem #2: Partially Clogged Toilet Drain

Toilet clogs are not unheard of—it’s the reason why most households come with a handy dandy plunger.

Toilet drains can easily get clogged by things like toilet paper, toys, floss, mineral deposits, and other contents that are discarded in the toilet bowl.

The thing about partially clogged drains is that they can be incredibly tricky to spot.

When you have a partially clogged drain, the flush mechanism still essentially works.

It’s just that the water pressure will have been significantly reduced; hence, your toilet flushing slow.

How to Fix a Partially Clogged slow draining toilet?

The easiest way to fix a partially clogged drain is with a toilet plunger.

Plungers often create enough force to push whatever that’s clogging the toilet drain down, improving the flow of water and fixing your slow draining toilet.

In cases where the drain is too severe for a plunger to solve, it might be a good idea to invest in a toilet snake.

Often referred to as a “plumber’s snake,” this flexible tool is used to dislodge clogs that often occur in plumbing.

Getting regular drain cleaning services can help prevent drain clogs from developing in your toilet drains.

For best results, contact a professional that can perform maintenance tasks for you.

Problem #3: Mineral Buildup on the Jet Holes

Most people don’t consider the jet holes to be the problem, typically because this part of the toilet is often out of sight.

The jet holes or rim holes are located on the underside of the toilet’s rim.

Over time, mineral buildup can start to develop on the jet holes, causing the water flow to slow and even halt.

If the water in your area is particularly hard or if you have a toilet that’s older than five years, it may be time to check the jet holes for buildup.

How to clean mineral deposits from toilet bowl rim holes?

To clean the jet holes beneath the toilet seat rim, you can use a toilet cleaner from the store or create your own using the following ingredients:

  • A soft-bristled toilet brush
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda

Follow these steps to fix your slow flushing toilet:

  1. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to half a cup of distilled white vinegar.
  2. Use the soft-bristled toilet brush to apply the mixture to the toilet seat jet holes.
  3. Let the vinegar sit for 20 to 30 minutes to soften the mineral deposits on the jet holes.
  4. Use the soft-bristled brush to dislodge the mineral deposits from the jet holes.
  5. Pour water on the jet holes to wash away the deposits. Flush your toilet and see if the water pressure has improved.

Installing a water softener can prevent this issue from happening again. Contact your plumber to learn more about your water softener options.

Problem #4: Defective Flapper Valve or Flush Valve

A faulty flapper valve or flush valve is another reason for a slow draining toilet. These valves are responsible for releasing the water from the tank to the toilet bowl.

Essentially, the flapper valve is part of the flush system, which consists of the following parts: the chain, lever, overflow tube, flapper, and the flush valve.

This flush system is activated every time you push the button or lever on the toilet. The flapper valve opens and releases a gush of water from the tank to the toilet bowl.

A problem with the flapper or flush valve can cause water to leak from your water tank into the toilet bowl. This weakens the flow of water when you flush, causing your toilet to drain slowly.

How to fix a Slow flushing toilet with a faulty flapper or flush valve?

If water is leaking into your toilet bowl from your tank, it may mean that your flapper valve is worn out and needs replacing.

Installing a new flapper is easy for those who are familiar with how flushes work. However, if you’re skeptical about your skills, calling a professional to do proper maintenance for you would be wise.

Otherwise, here’s how you can replace a faulty flapper:

  1. Shut off the water supply and drain the rest of the water from the tank.
  2. Locate the flapper, which should be right next to the overflow tube in most toilets.
  3. Remove the worn-out flapper by disconnecting the chain from the overflow tube and lifting rods.
  4. Most replacement flappers come with installation instructions on the box or pack. Follow these instructions to properly install your new flapper.

Once done, turn the water supply back on and see if your toilet flush improves.

If it doesn’t, there’s one last thing you can try to fix the issue.

Problem #5: Blocked Drain Vents

A toilet sewer line is often built with drain vents that allow gasses from your toilet to exit the home instead of permeating indoors. Yet these vents do more than just prevent bad smells from lingering in your home, they also ensure that water flows efficiently through the waste line.

When these drain vents become clogged it can cause trouble for your toilet’s flushing system. To prevent further damage, it’s important to fix the pipe line immediately.

Unfortunately, the only way for you to clear blocked drain vents is with the help of a professional.

Schedule for Drain Cleaning Services

The last thing you want is for an amateur to cause further damage to your toilet. Our technicians are trained to provide the best plumbing services in Brevard County and Indian River County.

We have the tools and skills to ensure that all assessments and repairs are completed as smoothly as possible. Whether it’s a quick drain camera inspection service or a hydro jetting service that you’re looking for—we’re more than ready to accommodate you!

Reach out to us today to learn more about our services and credentials.

Call (321) 380-1776

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