Tip & How-To about Plumbing

What to do if your toilet stops working

When a toilet stops working it can be a major inconvenience. If your toilet isn't working right, try the simple fixes below.

If the toilet doesn't flush:

When you jiggle the handle, nothing happens. Remove the lid from the toilet tank and peek inside. Most likely, either the chain came off at the lift rod or flapper end, or the rod broke in half. If the chain came off the rod, you can simply reattach it. (Finding the right amount of slack will take some trial and error.) Likewise, if it came off of the flapper, it can easily be reattached.

If the lift rod (the arm attached to the handle) is broken, you can purchase a new rod and handle assembly for a few bucks at just about any hardware store. A plastic nut holds the handle into the side of the tank and the whole assembly can be popped out and replaced. Once you've installed the new assembly, reattach the chain.

If the toilet keeps running:

Remove the tank lid and watch the toilet as it flushes. You'll probably see that the chain is too tight, causing the flapper to not close all the way, which results in water continuing to drain out and having to be replenished. Loosen the chain a little and see if it fixes the problem.

Another cause of a constantly-running toilet is an improper float height. The float is the balloon-looking thing that sits on the end of a shaft and falls and then rises when the toilet is flushed. When the float reaches a certain height, the fill valve is closed and the water stops flowing. If your toilet is running longer than it should, push down a tiny bit on the float and see if it stops running. If it does, the float just needs to be adjusted downward a little (by turning the screw at the other end of its shaft). You may need to try a few different heights to determine the optimal position of the float; adjust it slightly and flush the toilet, then adjust it again if necessary.

If there's not enough water pressure:

The chain may be too loose if there isn't enough pressure. With the tank lid off, watch the toilet flush. If there is too much slack in the chain, the flapper may close prematurely, reducing water pressure. Tighten the chain and see if that makes a difference.

Loss of water pressure can also be caused by the holes in the toilet bowl getting clogged up. There are little holes all around the side of the bowl, where water is forced into the bowl to refill it after a flush. If any of these holes get clogged, clean them out with a round file, a nail punch, or a similarly-shaped instrument. (Don't push too hard or hammer on the bowl.)

If the toilet overflows:

If your toilet overflows, the first thing to do is to turn off the water to the toilet. There is a valve on one side of the toilet, where the pipe runs from the wall to the toilet. Turn this valve clockwise to close it.

Once the water is off, use a plunger to try to clear the clog. If it works, you'll see the water drain out of the bowl. If the plunger can't clear it, try a simple drain-cleaning tool like a Zip-It or Turbo Snake. If you don't have anything that can remove the clog, or if the clog remains even after trying to clear it, you'll need to call a plumber (or buy yourself a closet auger or plumber's snake).

If you are able to remove the clog, turn the water back on and flush the toilet to make sure the clog is completely gone.

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1 Answer

where can I find a replacement for this toilet . I had it replaced with a flapper and it doesn't work.


any place that sells toilets should be able to assist you . what doesn't work tho is water turned on , does it fill and stop or keep filling . they really are a simple thing to fix .

May 07, 2015 | Home

2 Answers

Toilet Tank Fills Doesnt stop filling


You can get a new seal at almost any hardware store. Turn the water off. Just give the grey cap about a 1/4 turn and it will come off. Pull the black rubber out and put the new one in. The rod inside the ballcock eventually pierces the rubber diaphragm. The cost is about $2.

Aug 21, 2013 | Home

1 Answer

jabsco electric toilet won't flush


Check the power source to toilet and all wiring conversed.

Sep 07, 2017 | Jabsco Home

1 Answer

My flushmate toilet got clogged. I have unstopped the clog, but it won't flush. The flushing process works, but the water isn't pushed down the drain.


My flushmate toilet was stopped up after a bm.

Because I could not get to it right away, I let it

sit for several days. Tried calling the Flushmate

800 number. They don\'t work on weekends and

it was Saturday. What to do? Read the info on

the internet but could not find solution. However

first I shut off intake water valve required for any service

performed. Did that. Got a large plastic spoon.

Fashioned a container out of supermarket paper

bag cut in half. Used bottom half and inserted it

inside double Safeway plastic bags. Scooped out

the toilet paper and feces into bag. Found most

of feces had disintegrated in the toilet coloring

water dark brown. That was a good sign. Less

solid matter to flush. Tossed bag into garbage.

Flushed the toilet and it worked perfectly. This

method works for stopped toilet only. If problem

is in the sewer line, you need another method.

Oct 19, 2011 | Sloan M-101526-F42 Flushmate?® Complete...

1 Answer

Toilet runs slightly, can minimally depress the handle to release a bit of water, and it will stop. How to fix?


Toilet runs continuously or doesn't flush adequately

Jiggling the handle might work for a while, but if your toilet is always running or doesn't flush adequately, you need to perform these simple fixes that usually can tame a noisy, inefficient toilet.

Check the Chain

The chain attached to the rubber flapper often becomes loose, causing incomplete flushing and/or continuous running. To fix it, remove links from the chain using needle-nosed pliers until it's tight.

Check Water Level

Improper water levels can also cause problems with your toilet. This can be fixed by adjusting the ball ****, which is located next to the overflow pipe, the open tube to the right of the handle. Adjust the ball **** so the water comes to ½ " below the overflow pipe.

Clean the Surface of the Flush Valve

A continuously running toilet can also be the result of a faulty flush valve. Because the valve is made of rubber, it can decompose or warp allowing water to escape from the tank into the bowl. Clean the sealing surface to see if this will improve the seal. If too decomposed or warped the valve may need to be replaced.

Replace the Flapper

Remove old flapper and replace with a suitable replacement. Attach the flapper to the overflow pipe inside the bowl. Then attach the lever chain from the flapper to the handle lever making sure the chain is taut.

This video will help familairaize you with the flushing mechanism and the repair:

Dec 18, 2010 | Toto Drake ADA Compliant Toilet with...

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