I recently encountered a problem with my toilet that I am sure many of you must have experienced. The toilet flush seemed to have suddenly lost its power, and the water was trickling down the bowl rather than rushing in to get it clean. The decreased force was insufficient to clean the bowl in one go, and I had to flush the toilet multiple times. It was irritating, and I was determined to find a solution, and here we are!
There are two ways to increase the power of your toilet flush- ensure sufficient water is present in the flush tank and that there are no blockages or obstructions to the water flow. You might also need to adjust the float assembly in the flush tank and clean any residue around the flapper.
Most gravity-fed toilets lose power over time due to normal wear and tear or deposition of gunk around the valves and outlets. You can easily fix these issues without needing plumbing knowledge or sophisticated tools. Let’s dig in to find out how!
What Can You do to Increase the Toilet Flush Power?
It is quite easy to fix a slow and sluggish toilet. In most cases, the decreased water pressure can be either due to insufficient water levels in the flush tank or blockages in the path of the water. Here are a few home remedies that should get your toilet water pressure back to normal-
1. Adjust the water level
One of the most common reasons for decreased toilet flush pressure is insufficient water in your flush tank. As your toilet is gravity-fed, the flush tank needs minimum water to gather enough momentum to flush the waste out.
If the water level in the flush tank is less than optimal, the water won’t be able to gain enough energy to flush out your toilet bowl. Thankfully, there is an easy fix to this problem.
Here is how you know that the water level is less than optimal-
- Open the cover of the flush tank carefully and look inside.
- Most modern flush tanks have a line on the inside indicating the level of water for optimal flushing.
- You have diagnosed the problem if the water level is less than the fill line!
To fix this problem, you need to adjust the float assembly in the tank. But before adjusting the float assembly, you must identify what type of assembly is in your flush tank. Most flush tanks have either the ball type or cup type float assembly. While both do the same job of shutting off the intake valve once enough water fills the tank, their operating mechanism can be slightly different.
How to adjust the ball-type float assembly?
Adjusting the ball-type float assembly is quite easy. You can adjust the height of the ball float by turning the screw at the top of the fill valve. Doing this will change the tension in the lever arm and raise the float to allow more water into the tank.
However, ensure that the water stays below the overflow line, or you will have to deal with a whole different mess of an overflowing flush tank.
Pull the flush to see that the water pressure is much better than before. With some trial and error, you can find the optimum amount of water to do the job.
How to adjust the cup-type float assembly?
Adjusting the cup-type float assembly is a bit more complicated but not difficult. Here is what you need to do-
- Turn off the intake valve of the flush tank.
- Remove the lid and flush the toilet, so there is no water in the flush tank.
- You need to pinch the clip that holds the cup to the fill valve shaft and raise the cup to the desired height to increase the water level.
- Always ensure the float stays at least an inch below the critical level mark.
- Turn back the intake valve and let the water fill into the flush tank.
- Activate the flush to see if the pressure increases.
- Repeat the process to find the perfect height for the float for the best water pressure.
Once your flush tank has sufficient water, it should create enough pressure to flush the toilet.
2. Clean the gunk
Your toilet flush contains several moving parts that need to operate smoothly for a good flushing experience. As your toilet ages, minerals and gunk can deposit on these parts, causing them to malfunction. Cleaning the flush tank once a month can prevent this from happening.
Here is how you can clean all the gunk and grime in your flush tank-
- Take off the lid of the flush tank.
- Pour a gallon of water containing chlorine bleach; I prefer to add two parts of water to one part of bleach.
- Let the bleach solution soak in the mineral deposits and grime for 15 minutes before flushing the tank.
- If you observe extensive limescale, you might need to gently scrub the tank’s insides and the float assembly with a scrubber.
Once the buildup is removed, you will see a considerable improvement in the water pressure.
Pro tip: Never leave the bleach for over 20 minutes in your flush tank, as it can corrode the rubber seals. You can repeat the bleach treatment after a week or so.
3. Clean the flush holes
Flush holes or siphon jets are a series of holes under the rim of your toilet bowl through which the water from the flush arrives. Over time, these holes can also get clogged with mineral deposits and grime reducing the water pressure. Cleaning them should also improve your toilet flush pressure considerably.
You can easily clean these holes with white vinegar. Here is what you need to do-
- Close the inlet valve of the flush tank.
- Flush the tank completely so that there is no water present in the flush tank.
- Let the toilet bowl dry or use a piece of rag to dry the insides of the bowl, paying particular attention to the insides of the rim where the flush holes are present.
- Tape over the flush holes with duct tape. The idea is to seal the holes as much as possible so no water from the flush tank can leak into the bowl.
- Take a gallon of white vinegar and pour it into the flush tank and pull the flush.
- The vinegar in the tank should reach the siphon jects but not leak into the bowl.
- Let the white vinegar sit there for at least an hour to dissolve any grime and deposits in the flush holes.
- At the end of the hour, remove the tape and flush the remaining vinegar.
- Open the intake valve of the flush tank and rinse the toilet three to four times.
If blocked flush holes were causing the drop in water pressure, doing this should markedly improve the water pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use bleach to clean the flush tank?
Yes, you can use diluted chlorine bleach to clean the flush tank. That said, you should try to limit the exposure of the bleach solution to the valve assemblies of the flush tank to about 15-20 minutes.
Do I need to call a plumber to adjust the water level in my flush tank?
In most cases, adjusting the water level in your toilet flush tank shouldn’t require a professional plumber. Most homeowners should be able to do it on their own.
You can improve the power of your sluggish toilet flush by cleaning the flush tank and the float assembly. Make sure you clean the toilet and flush tank regularly to avoid such an issue.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.