american standard toilet not flushing
Kristina Davis

Why is my American Standard toilet not flushing well? There are not many things to go wrong with an American Standard toilet but sometimes things go amiss.

The result is an inadequate flush and a poor refill, both fixable but still inconvenient.

But, in order to fix the issue, you need to identify what causes it in the first place. If you identify the issue, you will crack the mystery of why your American Standard toilet doesn’t flush well.

Your American Standard toilet may not flush well if the tank is slow to refill, if there is a problem with water pressure, or if the shut-off valve is not working right 

Possible Causes of American Standard Toilets Not Flushing Well 

possible cause for not flushing well

So many factors can have an impact on how efficiently your American Standard toilet works. And if it is having trouble flushing everything properly,

It could be due to the following reasons:

Any Issue With The Water Pressure

If the tank is slow to refill it may not be a problem with the workings of your toilet but the pressure of the water supplying it may be too low.

The flow of the water lacks the power needed to push waste over the U-bend and into the sewage system, creating odors and leaving the toilet unhygienic and dirty.

Alternatively, the problem could be with the water pressure as it enters the house.

There could be several causes for this, such as damage to the exterior pipework or the supplier carrying out maintenance on the pipeline. 

Any Issue With The Shut-Off Valve

toilet shut off valve

One possible cause of incorrect flushing is the issue with the shut-off valve located behind the bowl.

If it is only partially open, the toilet will not flush properly. However, turning it counterclockwise will fully open the pipe and should increase the flow.

Fact: Toilets by American Standard have been on the market for almost 150 years, as the business opened in 1875. 

Issues with The Waste Pipes

When a toilet is not draining after flushing and even overflows, the issue is more likely to do with the condition of the waste pipes.

If the pipework anywhere along the sewer line is clogged or blocked the wastewater is unable to drain away causing the system to back up. 

Issues with the Flappers

flappers of the toilet

Faulty flappers create running on and leakage into the bowl. The fill valve doesn’t trigger the refill mechanism so the water doesn’t shut off.

Flappers and flush valves are made from long-lasting durable plastics. But it tends to be the less durable seals they house that need replacing as the water and chemicals cause them to perish and corrode.

The expert advice is to include checking the toilet flappers as part of annual home maintenance, including the fill valves. The reason is that the fill valves, like the flapper and flush valve, have a limited service life.

It is mainly due to the:

  • Immersion in water
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Constant use   

Additional Reasons American Standard Toilet Not Flushing

The water may be draining out due to faulty seals and valves or because debris and limescale grit prevent the flapper from achieving a tight fit.

The fill valve could be obstructed, preventing an adequate drain and refill. Although it is rare, water leaking through cracks in the tanks or faulty tank O-ring seals can cause a leak that leaves insufficient water for a good flush.

Fact: The chain on the earliest American Standard toilets was pulled to open the flush valve, but the lever design became standard, and the older one was phased out. 

Solutions to Improve Flushing Performance of American Standard Toilets

removing an objects on clogged toilet

Identifying what causes the problem will help fix it better. Thankfully, you can try different ways to improve the flushing performance of your toilets.

For instance: 

Unclog Small Holes

As far as the flushing goes, American Standard toilets follow the traditional toilet design, with a reservoir tank sited just above and to the back of the bowl.

There can be problems with flushing performance if this tank is positioned too low.

An instant way to improve performance is by unclogging the small holes under the bowl rim. They should distribute clean water evenly.

Regular rubbing with half a lemon helps keep the holes clear of limescale. Any build-up will need grinding out with a drill bit or nail.

Fixing Any Blockages

using plunger

Any blockages in the pipework to and from the tank will disrupt the pressure and flow of the water so the toilet won’t flush properly.

Externally, soil collapse can block older pipework. Internally, blockages can occur when the pipework is broken or poorly laid out.

Blockages can be removed by,

  • Holding the flush handle down so the valve stays open longer.
  • Using the vacuum suction effect of a plunger to dislodge the blockage.
  • Adding chemicals to the bowl to soften or dissolve the blockage.
  • Using DIY drain clearing equipment, a drain snake, or a length of wire to physically break up the blockage.
  • Hiring a drainage professional with specialized equipment and know-how.

Worn-out flappers and flush valves are the root of most flush quality problems. Both parts are easy to remove and install. 

Fix Issues with the Flapper

In an American Standard, the flapper sits on the bottom covering the pipe opening, and is attached to the flush valve by a chain. The two parts clip together using ‘ears’ on the flapper. 

With the water off and the tank drained either part can be safely unclipped and lifted out. The flapper chain will need to be unclipped from the flush handle.

To install, position the new flapper over the pipe opening, reclip the parts, and reconnect the chain.

Fix the Fill Valve

problem of fill valve

Adjusting the fill valve can also improve flushing performance.

The fill valve has a float that moves with the water level, opening to refill, and shutting off when the tank is full.

There are several kinds but in American Standard toilets the refill valve has a small screw on the side. Turning clockwise increases the water level to provide more water for better flushing.

Fact: It is important to only use replacement parts designed for your toilet, and to see what to purchase, lift the lid of the tank.

Tips for Maintaining a Properly Functioning American Standard Toilet

American Standard toilets are known for delivering impressive performance, but things can go wrong sometimes. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you manage and maintain your toilets

Keep It Clean

cleaning the toilet bowl

To keep the bathroom fresh and hygienic, toilets should be cleaned and disinfected daily. You should go with a regular deep clean to prevent clogs from forming in the bowl’s inlet holes and the waste pipe.

It is important to mention that though the tank is not subject to clogging as such, it should be kept clean and free of limescale that will interfere with its functioning. 

Know What to Flush

Toilets often use a waste disposal unit but only the obvious should be flushed into the sewage waste system.

Wet wipes, diapers, and some sanitary wear are usually non-flushable, although it’s better not to flush them when they are, particularly if you have poor pipework.  

Work with A Pro

It is certainly a good idea to pay attention to the working of your toilets, but sometimes, it is better to seek professional help. Often recommended is a yearly inspection by a qualified plumber.

It is an opportunity to inspect and replace degradable toilet parts like the flappers. Ideally, the pipework and drains should be checked over too.

Problems with drainage can take months to materialize and are more expensive to fix

Know When to Replace

replacing the toilet

Modern toilets including the American Standard models can easily last 25 years provided they are used with care and well maintained.

However, once the O-ring seal fails, cracks in the tank or bowl appear so the toilet springs a leak, and it is time to get a new one. 

Fact: The "VorMax" toilet, developed by American Standard in 2008, had a revolutionary flushing technology to clean the bowl more thoroughly and with less water. 


When you notice your American Standard toilet not flushing well, it is natural to feel frustrated and confused. So many times, the issue is nothing more than an incorrectly opened fill valve.

But, it could sometimes be due to something more serious like a leak in the tank.

Be sure to pay attention to regular maintenance of your toilet and ask a professional to have a closer look to prevent simple issues from turning into something serious.