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What to do if your toilet won't flush

Having a toilet that won't flush properly can be a great annoyance and inconvenience. To avoid this, it's important to fix any problems as soon as possible, before they get out of hand.

The Problem

Identify the problem

There are a variety of different problems with flushing that can occur in a toilet and it's a good idea to work out what problem you're facing before you start. Is it not flushing at all? Is it flushing slowly? Or is the water just running intermittently? The precise nature of the problem will largely decide your course of action, so it's important that you work out exactly what's going wrong.

The Solution

Health & safety

Health & Safety Messages

This video has been produced for information only. It offers you basic advice to do the job yourself but in order to prevent harm to yourself or damage to equipment or property, please ensure you use the correct tools and suitable personal protective equipment. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate in contacting one of our professional engineers.


If your waste is not flushing at all, the most common cause is a blocked toilet. If you're comfortable enough doing so, this is a situation that it is possible to remedy yourself. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and find your plunger, as you'll want to try and dislodge anything that's blocking the flow of the water. Apply firm pressure while you're plunging to get the desired result.

Clogged ports

If your water swirls but doesn't filter out, then you may find you have clogged ports. These can be found by looking for a smaller hole, known as the siphon hole, inside the rim of the toilet bowl. You can use a small screwdriver or pointed object to gently clear away any build-up of grime or deposits. Be careful not to scratch the porcelain. Once you've done this, test the flush to see if this has solved the problem.

Toilet not flushing

Finally, when you operate the toilet handle does the toilet flush? If it doesn't then there is an issue with the syphon which is located inside the cistern. You can purchase your parts from any DIY shop. To fit the new parts you'll need to isolate the water supply to the cistern, drain down the cistern and dismantle the toilet. Once you've fitted the new parts, re-assemble the toilet, and restore the water supply. The valve should be located somewhere behind the toilet, usually on the left hand side. You can then check for any water leaks. It's a good idea to flush the toilet several times to check that it's flushing correctly

If none of the above methods turn out to be successful, then feel free to give us a call at Dyno-Rod. We'll send out one of our qualified engineers to help you identify the problem and get your toilet working again.

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