How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick Your Own Question
Patrick, General Contractor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 2429
Experience:  30 years commercial construction and 23 years house remodeling projects
Type Your Plumbing Question Here...
Patrick is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a toilet that that sometimes flushes and sometimes doesnt.

Resolved Question:

I have a toilet that that sometimes flushes and sometimes doesn't. The bowl fills up as the tank drains but never flushes with force. But it is never consistant. Sometimes it flushes perfect, other times the bowl goes down slowly as if the toilet was plugged. I replaced the flapper valve and it didnt fix it.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Patrick replied 8 years ago.

Check inside your toilet tank and verify that it is filling to the correct level. Verify that the flapper valve is sealing correctly and that it is allowing the tank to empty when you push the lever to flush.If all of this is working correctly, good. If not, adjust, repair or replace to correct the problem. If all is good with the water level in the tank and the tank empties when you flush you may have clogged holes in the rim of your toilet that are not allowing the full flush action of the bowl wash to work. This is common in hard water areas. Look under your rim inside the bowl. Feel with your fingers if there is build up. Get a coat hanger and cut it into a four or five inch length that is straight and bend a loop onto it in order to hold it comfortably. Now, insert the wire into the holes under the rim, rodding it in and out in order to free up any build up. Work your way around the bowl opening the holes. You may be able to use an appropriately sized small drill bit and do the same by hand with it. DO NOT USE A DRILL TO DO THIS! You are only trying to break away any build up. After opening the holes try flushing to clear the material your have loosened. I have also turned off the water to the tank and drained the tank and followed up with a lime dissolving product poured down hole under the flapper to fill the bowl wash. Apply the same under the rim. I have taken paper towels and soaked them in the lime dissolving solution and put them up under the rim to allow the stuff to work. Dispose of the paper towels in a plastic bag in the trash when done. Flush again to clear. If this is your problem it should fix it. If you have one of the early generation low volume flush toilets you may be faced with multiple flushes to clear any large volume of waste and toilet paper. These early models did not work too well. It helps to flush waste then flush toilet paper with some of these older models. Good Luck.

If this has helped, please do not forget to hit ACCEPT, otherwise I will not receive credit.
Expert of the Month
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

The holes at the top of the bowl appear to be open just fine, the tank is filling completely and the flapper valve is closing just as the water level is about 2" from the tank being empty. The trend I have noticed is thatif you flush it and it works fine, it will work fine as long as there is at least 5-10 minutes between flushes. If for some reason you need to do back to back flushes, it will not work properly. The bowl starts a good strong swirl and just as it start to get to the point where the level should drop quickly it just stops as if it was plugged.


About 8 weeks ago I had the wax ring replaced and it appeared to be working fine. About two weeks ago, my wife and I had two teenage girls house sit for us while we were on vacation. When we came back the toilet was acting like it is now. After messing with it for a few days, it appeared to have cleared it self up. Then it started acting up again last night....... Today I replaced the flapper valve and it made no difference.


Dont know if any of this is coincidence or if any of this helps, but I am at ends and have no other ideas. I'm looking forward to some more feedback.




Expert:  Patrick replied 8 years ago.
OK. There is something stuck in thee toilet trap or at the wax ring. It is interfering with the vortex flush action. Get an auger/snake and work it through the trap and see if you can clear what ever it is. I had the same issue just yesterday and had similar flushing problems. Cleared it with the auger. Good luck. f this has helped, please do not forget to hit ACCEPT, otherwise I will not receive credit.
Patrick and other Plumbing Specialists are ready to help you