The toilet is one of those parts of your house that you just always hope works and never has any issues. But sometimes when you flush the toilet, you may notice that the water rises way too high in the bowl.
Toilet water may rise too high when flushed if your toilet has a blocked drain, vent, or faulty components. You can use a toilet plunger or auger to clear the blockage, and you’ll need to check the roof vent for any debris. After that, confirm that the parts in the cistern are functioning properly.
If you’re noticing that your toilet isn’t flushing normally, we’ll go through each of these common causes and also run you through the solutions so that your toilet will go back to flushing just like it was brand new.
Why Does Your Toilet Water Rise When You Flush?
There Is a Drain Blockage
The first thing is to inspect your toilet to see what is happening. Remember that due to how a toilet operates, the atmospheric pressure will cause the water to rise slightly before draining after it is flushed. This is a regular operation and is nothing to worry about.
If water is not constantly flowing into the toilet bowl from the cistern, then you likely have a blockage of the outgoing drain. A backup will prevent excess water from flowing away and keep the water level in the bowl too high.
There Is a Blockage in the Vent
Another reason water may be rising when flushed is issues with the toilet vent. Toilets work by pressure, and that requires an intake of air. This takes the form of a vent, generally on top of a pipe poking out from the roof above the toilet.
The Toilet’s Internal Components Are Faulty
Inside the cistern are components that allow water to flow into the toilet when the flush button is pressed. First, check the flush valve seal at the bottom of the cistern. A faulty flush valve is a common cause of flushing issues.
Sometimes referred to as the flapper, this is the plug that seals the drain hole on the bottom of the tank. The flapper will allow the tank to drain when prompted by a press of the flush button and then will also enable the storing of water in the cistern for the next visit.
How to Stop Toilet Water From Rising Too High
1. Clear a Drain Blockage
Home remedies should be your first option; a mixture of hot water and dish soap may help dislodge a drain. Pour the solution into the toilet bowl and then flush the toilet.
You can purchase drain cleaners that will try a chemical approach to remove any blockages. Sometimes referred to as main drain openers, you can pick up a bottle of Green Gobbler Drain Opener from Amazon to work its magic. It’s an affordable drain cleaner and works well to dissolve scum that could be causing blockages.
The downside with drain cleaners is that they can take some time to become fully effective.
If you see obstructions in the drain, clear these by hand or a plunger. You will need to see whether there are any total or partial blockages before or after the trap, the part of the pipe that holds water to prevent the sewage smell from wafting back.
The drainage pipes include the bends of pipe coming off the bowl and those parts of the internal plumbing. Any blockages in the line going into the wall or similar will likely need to be dislodged with a toilet snake, which we will discuss later.
A blockage in this area, sometimes referred to as the colon, means every time you flush, the combination of the water in the bowl and added water from the cistern causes the level to rise.
Use Long Sleeve Rubber Gloves
Grab a pair of rubber gloves and try to clear the drain and check for obstructions. If you grab a pair of arms-length or long sleeve rubber gloves, you will be able to reach further back into the plumbing.
As a rule, you shouldn’t put anything down the toilet except for toilet paper and body waste. This includes paper towels, baby wipes, female hygiene products, food, and anything else that is not toilet paper.
Some of these products are notorious for causing clogs, particularly paper towels, as they will not dissolve in the plumbing or water. The toilet is not an all-purpose disposal unit; use the bin for garbage disposal.
Plungers are your next best bet to remove obstructions that may be further back. If you don’t have one, grab a proper toilet plunger, like the JS Jackson Supplies Professional Toilet Plunger, which has flanges and will seal the bottom of the toilet properly. It has an ideal design to get rid of blockages and it is compact enough for easy storage.
Toilet plungers are more likely to be bell-shaped than the traditional sink plunger, which has a suction cup on the bottom.
Take the plunger and position the tip over the hole. Start the plunging motion, adjusting the angle so that the vacuum and seal are the best they can be.
Toilet snakes work by extending a tube into the toilet plumbing and hopefully dislodging any blockages. This tool has a J-shaped mechanism that contains a cable that can be pushed along the piping to remove any clogs.
The best toilet snakes are the ones that use a rotating handle to feed more cable into the toilet. You can grab one that extends to three feet (0.9m) Cobra Products Toilet Auger, which should be enough to clear any deep blockages. This incredibly affordable product will usually do the job and is much cheaper than calling in a plumber!
Insert the cable into the toilet bowl and start rotating the handle. Sometimes you can give a blockage a slight nudge, and it will flow down the pipe, or you can try to hook it with the toilet snake and pull it out.
Once you see an improvement in the water drainage, the job is probably done. Turning the handle back and forth in partially blocked areas may be enough to clear them.
2. Clear a Blocked Vent
Debris from trees and other sources can cause blockages. The vent pipe will have some type of opening, likely with a protective mesh. Depending on how it is constructed, it may be worth bringing some basic tools with you, like a screwdriver.
If there is no evident degree or blockage at the opening, use water to flush the pipe itself.
Bring a hose up with you to the vent opening and pour water into the vent pipe.
You can also use an auger in this situation if you suspect you have a blockage further down. Vent pipes can be very long. So, I suggest using a long plumbing snake to get down to the jam.
3. Fix a Bad Flapper
First, turn off the water supply valve. Remove the flapper and inspect to see if the seal is broken and not compromised the whole way around.
You can pick up quality replacement flappers like the Fluidmaster 502P21 on Amazon, which are reliable and affordable.
One form of maintenance that you can try is that most flappers use a chain to function. Over time, it is common for these chains to develop an issue.
Try reseating the chain or removing any kinks. Sometimes adding extra links or lengthening the chain will help if the flapper is not sealing correctly.
4. Adjust Fill Level
The float level determines the water inside the cistern, and if this is set incorrectly, it may cause overflowing issues with flushing.
If you look inside the cistern, you’ll see the float attached to an arm. The arm will generally have an adjustable screw on it to lengthen or shorten the arm. This will make your cistern hold more or less water.
Sometimes, this component is referred to as a ballcock and is a commonly adjusted part of a toilet.
Experiment with lowering the amount of water in the tank, particularly if you notice that the tank valve seal is not looking in good condition.
When to Call an Expert
If none of the above steps have been successful, but you still suspect a blockage, consider calling a plumber. Often the jams are so far back in the pipes that you need special tools and a bit of dexterity to remove them.
Blockages in your pipe are nasty not only because they don’t allow your toilet to flow correctly, but over time will lead to increased pressure in the pipes, possibly causing them to burst and causing massive damage to the property.
To fix drainage issues, you’re looking for blockages in the toilet’s drain, trap, or other plumbing. This may even be a blockage in the vent pipe.
A toilet plunger will remove most blockages, or harder to get blockages; a toilet snake may also do the job. If you suspect a blockage that you can’t get to, it’s best to get the services of a plumber.
Finally, there could be issues within the cistern. Seals inside the cistern can fail over time, check inside the cistern and replace if necessary. A reset of the internal water level can also help.