Toilet Push Button Flush Not Working? (common problems & fixes)

If your toilet push button flush has stopped working it can be a real inconvenience. Not only is your toilet out of action, but you need to organise a plumber to come and look at your toilet and then tie them down to repair your toilet as soon as possible. 

Alternatively, with just a slight bit of DIY knowledge, you could repair your push button flush toilet yourself.

With that being said, if you do not feel completely competent in undertaking this task yourself, we advise calling in a professional plumber.

Why Did The Push Button Flush Stop Working?

There are several reasons why the push button assembly stopped working if you’re interested in the whys and wherefores, keep reading.

The Cistern Isn’t Filling With Water

If the cistern has developed a problem where it doesn’t fill with water anymore, it could be that your home’s water supply has been shut off. However, it’s far more likely to be the ball valve which is at fault. In many cases it’s just that the valve has become the victim of a buildup of limescale. 

As limescale builds up on any working part, it can become so clogged that the parts stop moving correctly which could result in the ball valve not working correctly causing your cistern to not fill with water. If this is the case, it is possible to clean the valve up but you’ll probably do better to replace the ball valve.

Constant Running Water Into The Toilet Bowl

This is probably caused by the ball valve not fully shutting off the water supply once the cistern is full. The excess water then runs down the overflow and into the toilet bowl. The ball valve will probably need replacing if this is the cause of this problem.

It could also be that the flush valve is not closing correctly, this will entail replacing the entire central unit (see below). Or it could just be that a piece of limescale or other debris has slipped under the flush unit. 

Either way, it’s recommended to replace the central unit to resolve this problem and prevent it recurring at a later date.

No Resistance On The Push Button

If the push button is limp and has no resistance at all, then something inside the central unit has become detached or broken. There are so many tiny working parts inside this unit and even if you could successfully dismantle it without breaking anything, it would be almost impossible to find individual replacement parts.

We recommend replacing the central unit to resolve this issue.

The Cistern Just Doesn’t Flush

This is almost always caused by the central flush unit being faulty. As there are so many component parts in this unit and many of these parts cannot be purchased separately, we would recommend replacing the entire unit. This is a simple home fix and can be done by anyone who owns a screwdriver.

If you would like to learn how to fix your push button flush toilet yourself, keep reading. We promise you this is usually a really simple fix, and shouldn’t take longer than around 15 minutes once you have all the parts necessary.

Many other “helpful” guides will advise you to replace the whole unit which entails removing the entire cistern and installing new parts which aren’t necessary.

There are 2 different types of push button flush units available in the UK so it’s important that you take the old unit with you to the spares shop when trying to replace it, to ensure you get the correct one for your toilet.

How To Replace The Push Button Flush On Your Toilet


As we just said, there are 2 different types of push button flush units available in the UK so we’ll talk you through both types. The only tool you’re likely to need for this job is a flat headed screwdriver.

  1. Isolate The Toilet From The Water Supply
    On many cisterns there’ll be a shut off valve on the feeder pipe which just needs turning to off. Simply turn the screw to a position across the direction of the pipe (from vertical to horizontal). If there is no shut off valve on the feeder pipe, you’ll need to turn off the water from the main stopcock (often found under the sink).
  2. Remove The Cistern Lid
    This is where the differences begin, if the cistern lid simply lifts straight off, great, carefully turn it upside down and lay it on the floor. If you are met with resistance when trying to lift the lid, you have a cistern lid which needs unscrewing. To locate the screw, gently remove the 2 plungers from the centre of the lid (this is easiest done by depressing one whilst lifting the other, it should just lift out. You can then remove the other by lifting it out). You will now see a screw which needs to be undone. The cistern lid will now lift straight off.
  3. Remove As Much Water From The Cistern As Possible
    Use a small scoop to remove as much water as possible from the cistern. Once the bottom of the central unit is exposed, you have removed as much water as is necessary for this job.
  4. Remove the central unit
    One type will have a push button arrangement on either side, which should be depressed at the same time whilst lifting the unit upwards. The other type simply twists a ½ or ¼ turn before freeing and then you can lift it straight out.
  5. Obtain A Replacement Unit
    Take the old unit to a plumber’s merchants or DIY store and buy an exact replica of the old unit you have just removed. (they cost anywhere between £15 to £25 depending on the model you have).
  6. Ensure The New Unit Is Set Up Correctly
    Different cisterns have different heights etc. Use your old unit as a guide and set the new unit up in exactly the same manner as the old one.
  7. Replace The Central Unit
    Whether it was a click and lift or a twist and lift, replace the unit in exactly the same way as you removed the old one, only in reverse.
  8. Reconnect The Cistern Lid
    Once again, depending on the type you have, replace the cistern lid and plungers in exactly the same way you removed them, but in reverse.
  9. Reconnect The Water Supply
    Either turn the screw on the isolator valve to vertical, or turn the stopcock back on.
  10. Flush Your Toilet
    Give the toilet a flush to check it works correctly.

That’s it, job done! Now go and do what plumbers all over the UK do when they finish a job, go and have a cup of tea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my toilet constantly running water?

If your toilet is constantly running water it is probably the flush valve is faulty or the ball valve is not closing correctly and allowing too much water into the cistern which is running through the overflow.

How much do plumbers charge in the UK?

Plumbers in the UK charge anywhere between £25 to £45 per hour depending on which part of the UK you live in.

Why won’t my toilet flush when I press the button?

If your toilet won’t flush when you push the button it is probably because there is no water in the cistern, the ball valve is faulty, the flush valve is faulty or the push button connector is damaged or broken.

Can you replace a push button toilet flush?

You can replace a push button toilet flush, it is a simple job and will not take too long to do.

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