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Why Do I Always Have to Flush My Toilet Twice?

Do you have a toilet in your home that seems to always require two flushes? This is not only 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.

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 curl, or lose its sealing capacity as it loses integrity due to constant submersion in water. The flapper is your toilet’s weak link.  A worn flapper can allow water to slowly leak into your bowl, decreasing the amount of water in your tank.  If  you have poor water pressure, it may take time for the tank to refill.  If there isn’t enough water in the tank a poor flush will result. 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.

Minerals from hard water 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 (not the tank). This should cause your toilet to flush. If the toilet still doesn’t flush well, there’s likely a clog in the bowl or the drain piping that needs to be cleared.  We can help with this.  Or, if needed we can run a camera inside your piping to determine if there are issues with the piping.

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.  Or see us about a special flapper that will solve this problem.