Why Do I Always Have to Flush My Toilet Twice?

2014 Oct 13
Posted in: Plumbing

Do you have a toilet in your home that seems to always require two flushes? Not only is it annoying, but it also wastes water. Probably more than you realize.

But before we can explain why this is happening, we need to discuss how a toilet works.

How a toilet works

Most toilets use pretty simple mechanisms. Water is stored in the bowl and the tank (the large rectangular part of the toilet).

When you push the handle, water runs out of the tank and into the bowl, creating a siphon effect that sucks everything in the bowl down the drain and into the sewer. This should clear the bowl of your “business.”

The toilet bowl and tank then refill to prepare for the next use.

Where things can go wrong

So what’s happening when you have to flush twice? Usually it’s because there isn’t enough water flowing into the toilet bowl to effectively flush the toilet of all of the waste.

So what’s causing that?

Here are some common reasons:

You have a poor quality, low-flush toilet

Some low-flush toilets just don’t create enough suction to properly do what they should. In these cases, you may have to flush twice or hold down the handle to get the proper suction you need.

Consider replacing your toilet if this is the problem.

Your flapper is old and worn

Over time, the flapper in your toilet tank (the piece that keeps water in your tank) can crack. This lets water slowly leak into your bowl, decreasing the amount of water in your tank. Then, when you flush, there isn’t enough water in the tank to force the waste into the drain.

This is likely the culprit if your toilet flushes fine sometimes but requires two flushes other times.

There’s a hard water buildup in the bowl

Arizona has notoriously hard water (water with minerals like calcium and magnesium). These minerals can build up in the holes that let water into the toilet bowl from the tank. When too many of the holes clog, your toilet bowl gets an insufficient amount of water when you flush.

There’s a partial clog in the drain

Try this: pour a bucket of water straight into your toilet bowl (careful not to spill!). This should cause your toilet to flush. If the toilet still doesn’t flush well, there’s likely a clog in the drain that needs to be cleared. We can help with that! Plus we can do a video inspection to find the root of the problem.

Your flapper closes too soon

Does your toilet flush just fine on the first try if you hold the handle down? If so, your flapper may be closing early and not letting enough water into the bowl. You can try shortening the chain to see if this helps.

Get professional plumbing help

Still having trouble? It could be an uncommon anomaly causing your problem.

If you’re in the Phoenix metro area, George Brazil’s plumbers can help. Give us a call or contact us online for more information.
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