Sluggish toilet?

There are many reasons why your toilet may become sluggish. In this article we will outline some of the most common causes.

Blocked Jets

The standard gravity type toilet which most people have in their homes relies on a number of “jets” to get the water moving after it is flushed. There is a main jet at the bottom of the toilet bowl as well as a number of smaller jets around the rim of the toilet bowl. Theses all work together to get the water moving out of the bowl and into the toilet s-bend.

In older toilets particularly these jets can become blocked up with mineral deposits and cause the toilet to become sluggish. These jets can be cleaned but a lot of times they won’t clear completely. When the toilet is that old we usually recommend replacing it with new, more economical, low flow toilet.

Partial Blockage

Partial blockages can be cause by a number of things.  We find that they are mainly caused when something foreign has been flushed down the toilet.  These objects can be almost anything but we commonly find things like, children’s toys, cardboard toilet rolls, cue tips, wipes and even hand towels. These objects lodge in the drain and restrict the flow. The main way these objects are removed is to have the toilet augured. If this does not work then the toilet may have to be removed completely so the object can be retrieved from the s-bend.


Roots can also make a toilet sluggish. Your toilet sits on top of a flange which the toilet is bolted to. This flange is connected to the drain line which comes up through the concrete slab. A lot of times there is a gap between the drain line and the concrete. Roots will find their way up between the slab and drain line push past the flange and back down inside the drain. Once the root is inside the drain line it will start to grow a root ball. As the ball gets bigger the line gets more restricted. These root balls cannot generally be removed by auguring with a hand auger so the toilet needs to be pulled and the entire root ball pulled out of the drain line by hand.

Low Flow Toilets

Some of the “earlier” low flow toilets have problems flushing. This is because of some design flaws that effected a few makes and models. A lot of times the problems can be remedied by replacing the low flow flapper with one that stays open longer. Also we check and set the water level in the tank to the right level. These days the kinks have been worked out and low flow toilets work just as well as their older counterparts.

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