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Dulley's Money-Saving Tip #1028

Toilet does not flush properly

(related Dulley column topic links - 546, 631)

If you have to double flush your toilet sometimes, it wastes a lot of water. A toilet is the largest water consumer in most homes. If you ever have to double flush, there is a good chance that your toilet also does not flush completely when there are only liquid wastes in it. You will not be able to tell that it is not flushing completely except that the toilet seems to get stained quickly and it may not smell as fresh as it should.

One of the most common causes of incomplete flushing is that the small tube inside the tank from the ballcock valve to the overflow is clogged or not attached. Each time the toilet is flushed, water from this small flexible tube fills up the bowl to make a seal as the tank fills with water. If the tube is not attached to the overflow, attach it with a clip.

Flush the toilet and see if water is coming out of it. If it isn't, pull it loose from the ballcock valve and run a small wire through the tube and insert it gently into the ballcock opening to clear any deposits. If still no water comes out, replace the ballcock valve.

As a background, toilets do not flush by running water through the bowl. The water from the tank flows down behind the toilet bowl and creates a vacuum. This vacuum draws the water and wastes out of the toilet bowl. If that small tube gets clogged and the bowl does not fill enough to get a good water seal, when you flush it, it sucks a lot of air instead of the water and wastes from the bowl. Then you have to double flush.