There are many reasons why your toilet swirls but won’t flush, from a broken flapper to clogged rim jets. It’s important to find the real cause so you can fix it properly.
One of the first things to do is check your water level in your tank. It should reach at least one inch beneath the overflow tube.
Clogged Drain Pipe
If your toilet is a little slow to flush and you see bubbles in the water when it drains, you may have a clogged drain pipe. This problem happens when the pipes get clogged with soap scum, laundry lint, sand and slimy bacteria that accumulate over time.
A clog in the drain can happen anywhere that a sewer line runs in your home. A clog in the main sewer line can cause all drains to run slower than they should be, which means you’ll often have to work harder to flush toilets and sinks.
You can fix a clogged drain pipe by feeding the wire end of a drain snake into the curving pipes, spinning it clockwise on the way in and counterclockwise on the way out. This should break up the clog and push it through your drain pipe. If it doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to call a professional plumber for assistance.
Faulty Tank Flapper
A faulty tank flapper can cause your toilet to run constantly when it is refilled after flushing. A new, quality flapper will make a tight seal around the drain and stop water from leaking into the toilet bowl.
Flappers are made of rubber and will usually need to be replaced about every 2 years if not regularly cleaned. Over time, the rubber hardens, which can make them no longer seal snugly in the drain.
This can cause a substantial leak. The easiest way to check if the flapper is faulty is to give the handle a little jiggle before flushing.
Low Float Ball
A low float ball is an easy and inexpensive solution to fixing your toilet swirling. However, it is important to know what type of float your toilet uses before making any adjustments.
A float regulates the water level in your toilet tank by triggering the flush valve when the level is too high or too low. They are a staple in most toilets and have been around for decades.
Floats are made from different materials, including plastic, brass, and glass. You may also find floats that are made from hand-blown glass, which can be quite the collector’s item!
Most modern toilets use a cylindrical float that sits along the fill valve shaft. These floats are much easier to adjust than the older style ball floats. Most of these floats have a screw that you can turn to lower the float or raise it, depending on the situation.
Loss of Flushing Power
When you flush your toilet, water in your tank is pushed into the bowl through a series of jets that release from beneath the rim of the toilet. Then, the water drains through a p-valve and into your plumbing system.
Over time, the jets may become blocked with calcium particles. These look harmless, but prolonged build-up weakens your toilet’s flushing power.
You can clean your rim jets with an acidic toilet cleaner and a small brush. If the problem persists, call a plumber for more help.
Another common cause of a slow flush is the flapper that keeps your toilet flushing. A faulty flapper can cause the toilet to swirl but not flush, so it’s important to fix this before you try any other fixes.
A faulty flapper can be fixed by replacing it with a new one. Alternatively, you can replace the lift chain that connects the flapper to the toilet bowl. A slack chain may prevent the flapper from lifting effectively, which could also cause your toilet to swirl but not flush.