Push Button Toilet Flush Problems and How to Fix Them

If your toilet flush button is somehow broken, you may be forced back to the old bucket-of-water flushing trick, which is never an exciting experience.

Fortunately, replacing a faulty push button flushing system is not that hard. This post shows you how to fix common push button toilet flush problems in just a few simple steps. 

Common Push Button Toilet Flush Problems

Toilets are one of the essential appliances in your home. Nothing can be more painful than when your toilet cistern fails to flush appropriately or doesn’t work at all.

A malfunctioning toilet system can also result in costly utility bills and even trigger water damage to the surrounding areas of your home. Luckily, you can easily fix a constantly dripping or running toilet in these simple steps and avoid the headache altogether without needing to call a plumber. 

Here are some of the common push button toilet malfunctions and what you can do to make it right again:

1. Tank Fills Too Quickly

You may be experiencing an endlessly running toilet because the water supply to your toilet is filling the tank too quickly to allow the float to trigger the shut-off valve. The float will be triggered when you turn off the water supply to your toilet.

If you have a running toilet, you might need to stop flushing the toilet completely by taking out the tank lid and doing a test flush. You will see the water level in the tank as it drains and refills. If the water flows back into the tank too fast, the float controlling the shut-off valve might not be reaching its designated shut-off point.

If this is the case, find the pipe that joins the bottom of the tank to the wall. This pipe will allow you to restrict the flow of water that enters the toilet tank.

If you find an elbow pipe that connects the tank to the toilet, locate a small valve that you can adjust using a flathead screwdriver. If it’s pointed straight down the pipe, it’s open. 

Turn the cross using your flathead screwdriver into a more diagonal line to restrict the flow of water and reduce the rate at which the tank fills. Your running toilet is solved just like that. Now you should have no more running toilets, assuming this is the problem. If this doesn’t work, then we continue down the rabbit hole to solve the problem.

2. Tank Drains Constantly

There are many different reasons why this could happen, so we’ll start with the easiest one to fix and move on from there. You’ll have to take some time to disassemble some of the mechanical parts of your toilet to check for any problems.

Remember, this can take some time to figure out what’s causing the issue, so be prepared. It’s important that you carefully remove the lid from the top of your toilet and look inside.

You should be able to see the parts that operate the flushing mechanism inside your toilet. If this is your first time disassembling your toilet, it may seem awkward, but remember that a toilet is much more straightforward than a car engine.

You should see the buttons that activate the toilet flushing process immediately after taking the lid off. This is the only part that will need to be replaced, so ignore the rest. Problems that block your toilet stopper from closing completely are simple to fix, but it may take a little extra work to get it to work properly.

You can find where the water is by placing your hand in the water and looking through the water to see where there is a clear space between two plastic sections.

Do not panic because the water in the tank is as clean as the water you get from the tap, so get your hands in there! If there is something that is preventing the stopper from sealing completely at the bottom, just push the button that starts flushing the toilet and reach under the tank to find out what is blocking the stopper from closing completely.

Dual-flush push buttons
Dual-flush push buttons

If you can’t quite feel or sense something moving in the toilet, now is the time to try to see what may be blocking it. You can easily remove the top section of the flushing mechanism from the toilet.

It may take some coaxing and finagling to get the mechanism to come off, but try twisting the lever a little and pulling hard, and it should come off quite easily. When you remove that piece from your toilet, the water that is stored in the tank will begin to drain out into your toilet. Your toilet will automatically empty itself and keep from overflowing as long as your drains aren’t clogged.

Once you have the mechanism that flushes the toilet, you can examine it much more carefully. Try pressing the buttons a few times to better understand how they work. If it is working fine, then check for any build-up of material or lime that could be preventing it from completing the job that it should.

Check the rubber gasket that surrounds the bottom of the mechanism if everything looks fine. Sometimes the rubber gasket that provides a seal on the bottom of the tank is worn out or damaged and no longer provides a good seal to the water in the tank. You can just go to your local hardware store and buy a new one to replace the old one easily.

When you’ve emptied all the water from the tank, you can start checking around the hole that leads to your toilet. If there is any evidence that the hosepipe is corroding, then you can replace the hosepipe.

If there is any damage that might prevent a proper seal, then you may need to call in a plumber or order a new toilet seal. If none of these fixes work for you, then it may be time to call in the experts. If you managed to get your toilet fixed using one of these easy solutions, then kudos to you for getting it fixed!

Tools You Need to Replace a Push Button Toilet Flush System

When you open the toilet’s cistern, check whether it has a top-press or Flexi dual flush valve. Here are the tools you need to fix the toilets that require you to use a push button to flush the toilet:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • A pair of grips
  • Towel

Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing a Faulty Push Button Flush Mechanism

Whether you have a water-saving or standard flushing mechanism, replacing a faulty button on your toilet will work the same way. Follow those steps to replace a faulty push button flush mechanism:

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

If your toilet has an isolated water supply, you can stop the water supply to the toilet and not other parts of your house. You can also turn off the water at a stopcock just under your kitchen sink. Look for a small plastic plate that says “Water” or just a simple “W” in it.

2. Open the Cistern

Take the lid off the cistern and carefully drain the water that refills the cistern. This will allow you to safely remove the cistern lid and replace the old button.

If your toilet has a backup push button, you should be able to do that easily by removing the nut that holds the button in place. When you’ve done all that, simply clean the rim of the hole to make it ready for the new button to be installed.

Flush down the drain and empty the cistern before you replace the push button that pushes the water out. If you have a toilet with a separate cistern, you can easily remove the whole cistern by unscrewing the wing nuts.

There are many ways to do this, depending on what type of mechanism you have. Do not worry if there is some water in the cistern. It will be emptied out later. This will allow you to remove the old flushing mechanism from the cistern. 

Push buttons
Push buttons

3. Detach the Old Flush Valve from the cistern 

You cannot replace the push button on your toilet if you don’t first take out the toilet tank. Get a screwdriver and start unscrewing the two screws that hold the toilet tank to the wall.

Locate the two nuts that hold the cistern to the toilet and undo them, so you can lift the cistern off the toilet and into a safe place. Put all your nuts and bolts in one place.

Pull down the pipe that links the toilet tank to the water source. You’ll need to empty all the water that is in the cistern before putting the toilet lid back on. Install the cistern carefully after you’ve put a towel on the rim of the cistern. Wipe any water that may be left behind in the place where the cistern sits.

4. Take Out the Old Push Button Flush Mechanism

If your toilet has a bottom cistern, there is a rubber gasket that seals the cistern with its rubber body. Remove it carefully and replace it with your new buttons. Remove the gasket carefully and gently unscrew the screw that holds the flushing mechanism in place.

Take off the old metal latch that holds the cistern in place, and you can use a spare for that. Check that the rubber washer inside the toilet is in good condition.

You can use the old button again, even if your new toilet doesn’t come with a washer. Remove the old flush valve to help the new button slide more easily through the hole in the side of your toilet tank.

5. Install the New Flush Mechanism

It’s good to point out that changing the mechanism that activates your toilet will sometimes be a tough job. Take the new mechanism out of its packaging and ensure it fits perfectly. Move the new seal up to the bottom of the toilet unit and tighten it very tightly.

Install the new flush valve. Pop the new valve into the cistern and secure it in place. You can do this by fitting a metal clamp onto the cistern and tightening the nut with your hands or by using your grips. You can easily put on either a new or a used one, depending on whether the old one is still reusable.

6. Close the Cistern and Install the New System

Place the two bolts back into the holes in the bottom of the tank, and then carefully position the new system in its new location. Lock the wing nuts that hold the cistern to the toilet bowl.

Grab a screwdriver and tighten the screws that hold the tank in place so that the tank can be anchored securely to the wall. Check whether everything looks nice and stable. You don’t want to have any water leaks or drips coming out of your toilet. Finally, replace the cold water feed so that it can start working again.

7. Inspect and Adjust the Flush Valve

Check that the fill valve is in the correct position to allow a float to go up and down freely. Check the instructions that come with your unit to see whether you need to make any water-saving adjustments to the float. You can test the results when you plug in the toilet to the water supply again. 

8. Install the Push Button

Fitting the push-to-flush button is easy. Just push the button and wait for it to click. You just need to remove the nut that holds the new flushing mechanism in place and then fit the new button to the nut. If your button is covered, you can still use the cover if you want to.

Easily disassemble the shroud that protects the button if it fits perfectly. After you connect the button to the system, simply close the lid, and you’re done.

9. Turn Back the Water Supply

Connect the toilet to the main water supply and turn the water back on. Try flushing the toilet a couple of times to see if everything is working as it should. Check if there are any water drips or if there are any leaks. If the flush problems persist, consider changing out the whole toilet and getting a new one.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, changing the buttons on a toilet flush lever is very simple. You need to have good DIY skills and the right tools to do the job.

Remember that our advice is for guidance only, and we cannot be held responsible for any damage that might occur when you do things the wrong way. It’s best to call a professional plumber for help because that will give you a full guarantee for the work done.

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