Having trouble with your toilet flush valve sticking? It can be irritating and inconvenient when the toilet won’t flush properly.
Several potential causes for a sticking flush valve include old or worn-out flapper, loose chain, bent or damaged lever, low water pressure, remnants in the valve, clogged trap, and build-up of mineral deposits.
A few simple solutions can help you fix stuck flush valves quickly and easily. Depending on the cause of the problem, such as a worn-out or old flapper, bent or damaged lever, loose chain, or low water pressure, you may be able to fix it yourself by following a few basic steps.
This article will provide step-by-step instructions on solving each of these problems so that you can get your toilet back up and running.
Why Is My Flush Valve Sticking: Reasons & Solutions
Understanding the root cause of the stickiness is essential so that appropriate steps can be taken to address the issue and prevent it from occurring. Knowing this information can also help you identify any underlying problems that may have caused or contributed to the issue.
Additionally, understanding why a flush toilet valve is sticky can give you an idea of what kind of maintenance and cleaning routine you need to follow to ensure your toilet remains working correctly.
Reason 01: Old or Worn-out Flapper
An old or worn-out flapper can lead a toilet flush valve to stick because it no longer forms a tight seal with the flush valve seat, allowing water to leak slowly from the tank into the bowl. This leakage can cause the water level in the tank to drop, which triggers the fill valve to turn on and refill the tank.
If the flapper is not sealing properly, the fill valve may not be able to fully refill the tank before the water level drops again, which can cause the flush valve to stick in the open position and prevent the tank from fully refilling.
Solution: Replace the old or worn-out flapper with a new one.
Instructions: Remove the old flapper by detaching it from the flush chain or mounting ears. Install the new flapper by attaching it to the chain or mounting ears.
Reason 02: Bent or Damaged Flush Lever
A bent or damaged flush lever in a toilet can cause the toilet flush valve to get sticky as the lever is not able to properly and efficiently move the components within the valve to allow for proper flushing. When the lever is bent or damaged, it strains other parts of the system.
It forces them to work harder than they should, leading to wear and tear on these parts, which causes a buildup of grime, rust, and other debris that eventually stick together and clog up the valve. This build-up makes it hard for water to flow through the valve freely, making it sticky when moving it.
Solution: Replace the bent or damaged flush lever with a new one.
Instructions: Detach the flush lever from the flush valve and the toilet tank. Install the new flush lever by attaching it to the toilet tank and flush valve.
Reason 03: Loose Flush Valve Chain
A loose flush valve chain can lead to increased stickiness between the chain and the toilet bowl, resulting in the accumulation of litter, dust, and other particles on the outside of the flush valve.
This build-up of foreign material leads to added stickiness and decreased performance from the flushing system. Moreover, this increased stickiness may inevitably cause damage to other parts of the flushing system and compromise its functionality.
Solution: Adjust the flush valve chain.
Instructions: Adjust the length of the flush valve chain so that there is a small amount of slack. Too much slack can cause the chain to tangle or get caught on the valve.
Reason 04: Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure from the water source to the flush tank can cause a toilet flush valve to become sticky for multiple reasons. When the pressure is low, it increases the chances of sediment deposits forming in smaller pipes and plumbing fixtures like the flush valve.
This sediment can form a sticky residue that clings to the surfaces of the flush valve and restricts it from moving properly. Low water pressure also tends to reduce oxygen levels in the water, which can lead to corrosion over time.
This rust or other damage caused by corrosion can reduce the smoothness of movement for valves and cause them to become sticky or difficult to open or close.
Solution: Increase the water pressure.
Instructions: Contact a professional plumber to increase the water pressure in your home. Alternatively, you can try adjusting the water pressure regulator if your home has one.
The water pressure regulator is usually located near the main water supply valve. Adjust the regulator to increase the water pressure, then test the flush valve by flushing the toilet.
Reason 05: Remnants in the Flush Valve
The remnants in the flush valve of the toilet flush tank contribute to the flush valve becoming sticky due to a buildup of mineral deposits, soap films, and other organic matter.
Over time, these materials can create a thick layer that adheres to the surface of the valve and makes it difficult to open or close. The minerals and other materials in these deposits are often highly alkaline or acidic, which can further contribute to their stickiness.
Hard water can also contribute to this issue since it contains calcium and other minerals that build up on surfaces. This buildup causes friction and stickiness when opening or closing a toilet flushing valve.
Humidity can cause corrosion on metal parts such as washers or screws used in a flush valve mechanism, increasing its resistance and making it more prone to sticking.
Solution: Remove the remnants from the flush valve.
Instructions: Flush the toilet to drain as much water as possible. Reach into the flush valve with a gloved hand or pliers and remove any remnants.
Reason 06: Clogged Toilet Trap
A clogged toilet trap in the flushing system will cause the flush valve to turn sticky because when the trap is blocked, water cannot flow freely through it. This creates a buildup of pressure within the system, forcing its way out through the valve and causing it to become sticky.
When this occurs, not only is it difficult to press down on the flush lever, but any attempt to open or close the valve will cause a sticky feeling due to a combination of dirt and suction created by a reduced water flow.
Unfamiliar objects in the valve, such as paper towels or plastic bags, can further contribute to sticking. Long-term exposure to moisture and dampness may also contribute to components inside the valve corroding and becoming clogged, resulting in an overall reduction in performance, leading to sticking.
Solution: Clear the clog from the toilet trap.
Instructions: Use a plunger to try and dislodge the clog. If the plunger does not work, use a toilet auger to clear the clog. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl and feed it through the trap until it reaches the clog.
Turn the auger handle clockwise to break up the clog, then pull the auger back out of the toilet. Flush the toilet to ensure the clog is completely cleared.
Reason 07: Build-up of Mineral Deposits
The accumulation of mineral deposits around the rim of a toilet bowl or inside the flush valve can cause it to become sticky due to the thick layer of sediment that forms. This sediment restricts the movement of the flush valve, making it harder for it to open and close properly.
The minerals can build up over time. Eventually, creating a thick deposit that coats the surface of the flush valve and inhibits its ability to slide freely back and forth.
As more deposits accumulate, the stickiness increases until it becomes difficult for users to operate their toilets as intended. This buildup can also cause corrosion to occur on parts of the flush valve, further reducing its effectiveness if left unchecked.
Solution: To remove the mineral deposits, pour a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar into the toilet tank. Let it sit for a few hours, then flush the toilet several times to rinse the solution out of the tank and valve.
Instructions: Pour the vinegar and water mixture into the tank, ensuring it covers the valve. Let it sit for several hours or overnight.
Reason 08: Low Water Level in Tank
The low water level in the toilet flush tank can cause a sticky toilet flush valve due to a buildup of limescale, which tends to accumulate more rapidly in environments with less water.
This is because insufficient water in the tank allows minerals and other substances to precipitate out of the solution onto surfaces they come into contact with, like the inside of the flush valve.
As this precipitation continues over time, it creates an increasingly thick layer of deposits that becomes harder and harder for water to penetrate. Eventually, these deposits become so hard that water has difficulty flowing past them, thus causing the flush valve to become sticky and inefficient.
Regular maintenance, such as descaling and cleaning, can help maintain or restore optimal functioning to the flush valve.
Solution: Adjust the water level in the toilet tank to the manufacturer’s recommended level.
Instructions: Adjust the float to raise or lower the water level to the manufacturer’s recommended level.
Common instruction for all the above solutions:
- The first step is to turn off the water supply to the toilet tank.
- After following and completing all the instructions, turn on the water supply and flush the toilet numerous times to rinse the tank and valve.
How Do I Know If My Toilet Valves Are Sticking?
One way to tell if your toilet valves are sticking is to manually lift the toilet lid and inspect the valve for any signs of wear or blockage. If the valve appears challenging to operate, this could indicate a problem with stuck valves.
You can also listen for any unusual sounds from the toilet when flushed, which could indicate an issue with your valves sticking and not allowing water to flow through them properly.
If your toilet takes longer than usual to refill after flushing, this could be another sign of stuck valves. To check further, you can try gently jiggling the valve with a pair of pliers or other tools to free it up. If this does not work, you may need to replace the valve to ensure proper function.
Can You Put Vaseline on a Toilet Flapper To Get Rid of Stickiness?
Vaseline can be used to get rid of the stickiness on a toilet flapper. Applying vaseline directly to the flapper can help lubricate it and prevent it from sticking when it’s opened and closed.
This solution is not permanent, though, and if the flapper continues to stick, then it may need to be replaced for the toilet to work properly again.
Before applying the vaseline, you should ensure that all surfaces are clean so that there is no dirt or debris present that could interfere with the effectiveness of the vaseline. Also, use an appropriate amount that won’t create too much of a mess when wiping off any excess from around the flapper.
Easily Fix Your Sticking Flush Valve: Simple Solutions for Smooth Flushing
As we have seen, there are many reasons why your flush valve may be sticking. Old age or wear and tear on the components, mineral build-up, or low water pressure can all make it difficult to flush the toilet properly.
If you’ve noticed a decrease in the efficiency of the flush valve in your home, consider these eight potential causes before doing anything drastic, like replacing the entire equipment. Knowing what might be at the root of your issue may help you save money and time by pinpointing issues that can be easily resolved.
To resolve any of these issues yourself without professional help, ensure you have read each step above carefully. Especially regarding instructions for adjusting parts or using chemical cleaners safely.
Taking straightforward safety measures is essential in ensuring that any fixes you attempt function correctly and pose no danger to you or anyone else in your home.
You should also use this article as an example of how helpful research can be when troubleshooting plumbing problems. Be sure to check out other useful articles here to stay informed on new ways to help you solve common house maintenance issues moving forward.