The Unexpected Reason Your Toilet Won't Flush

If you're facing the dilemma of a toilet not flushing, there could be multiple culprits. But if it's not a water or mechanical problem, or even just an aging loo, then the next thing you'll want to check out is the drain line. A drain line issue is like a hiccup in your plumbing system's flow. It's caused by clogs from grease and hair, tree roots, corroded or collapsing piping, a bigger blockage in the main sewer line, or things being flushed that should've remained topside.

While most people assume a toilet's flushing mechanism is solely responsible for its performance, it's important to note that the drain line also plays a vital role. Upon flushing, water flows from the tank to the bowl, and then through the drain line and out to the main sewer line or septic tank. The problem is that, over time, accumulated materials like toilet paper, unflushable items like wipes and hygiene products, as well as small objects like toys, Q-tips, or even pieces of jewelry can block the drain, which then impedes proper functioning. This results in backed up water, a toilet that's clogged up to the rim of the bowl, and a potentially huge mess.

How to fix a blocked drain line

Luckily, it's not that complicated to deal with a clogged drain line — you just need a few basic tools and a methodical game plan. You'll always want to wear gloves and protective eyewear, just in case. In addition to your battle gear, a plunger and a toilet auger (also called a plumbing snake) will be your weapons of choice. You'll want to try out the plunger first, so give your loo a series of gentle plunges, making sure to slowly up the pressure. This should break up any blockages in the drain line.

If that doesn't work, then it's time to bring in the big guns. Insert the auger's flexible cable down the drain while turning the handle. This maneuver helps the cable move down the piping, allowing it to work its magic and slay any accidental barricades that have posted up in the line. Once you've got the clog out of the way, go ahead and flush the toilet to check if the water flows smoothly and with good pressure. If everything flows according to plan, then the best seat in the house is back up and running. If not, then it might be time to call in a professional.