snailA slow draining toilet is a much more confusing problem than a blockage. Slow draining toilets don’t seem to be blocked by anything physical but still might become so backed up they spill onto the floor. That’s one mess you want to avoid. So,learn how to diagnose a slow draining toilet and how to clear up potential issues.

Steps to Diagnose a Slow Draining Toilet

In general, a slow draining toilet is facing one of two problems: supply or drainage. Either it’s not being supplied with enough water, or there’s some kind of partial blockage down the pipe. As the first problem is easier to troubleshoot, you should start there.

Water Supply Problems

  • Step One: Open the lid of the toilet and take a look at the flushing mechanism. A small plastic arm should be attached to the inside of the handle. It should be connected to a chain.
  • Step Two: Check to see if the chain has gotten stuck on something. If so, get it loose. If not, the chain itself may be too short. A short chain holds the tank open for too long, which may affect its water level. If so, you’ll need to buy and install a new chain, but you should do this with the advice of a plumber, so you can be sure you get the right size.
  • Step Three: Check the flushing mechanism for any indicator that shows where the water level should be. If it’s too low or high, you do have a water supply problem. You may also be able to tell if the water level is wrong based on the watermarks on the side of the tank that develop on older toilets.
  • Step Four: One possible cause of low water supply is a partially closed water valve. Check the valve at the side of the toilet, and try to open it further.
  • Step Five: If that doesn’t work, the problem may be calcium or other build-up on in the side of the bowl, blocking the water from entering the bowl quickly. Give the part of the toilet bowl beneath the lip a good scrub, ideally after spraying with a bathroom scale remover.

Partial Clogs

  • Step One: To find out if your slow draining toilet has a clog problem, use a plunger on the toilet. Even if nothing is visibly clogged, a partial clog may be further along the pipe.
  • Step Two: It’s possible the partial blockage is too serious to be removed by a plunger. You can either try to clear it with a toilet snake or call a plumber to confirm the problem and remove it.
  • Step Three: Another kind of clog may be causing your toilet to drain slowly, a clog in your plumbing vent. This vent releases pressure from the plumbing system, and when it’s partially clogged, the pressure build-up can slow down the toilet. It’s best to get a professional to do this job.

In the end, if none of the above steps fix your toilet’s slow draining problem, it’s wise to call a professional plumber to fix the problem.