Access to functional indoor plumbing is a modern amenity that many homeowners take for granted. It's only when a home's plumbing system malfunctions that homeowners pay attention to their plumbing system.

One problem that can seem to plague homeowners frequently is a toilet that appears to flush slower than normal. Discovering the cause of your toilet's flushing delay will help you determine if the problem can be solved with a quick fix, or if the slow flushing speed is indicative of a more sinister plumbing problem.

Here are three steps you can take when trying to solve the mystery of a slow-flushing toilet in your home.

1. Check the Tank

As soon as you notice that your toilet is taking longer than usual to empty its bowl, you should begin troubleshooting the problem by taking a look inside the toilet's tank.

You will want to ensure that the reservoir is filling up properly, as an inadequate supply of fresh water in the tank could be causing your toilet to flush slowly. Adjusting the height of the float will help you control the amount of water available for your toilet to use during each flush.

If an inadequate reservoir supply isn't causing your slow flushes, you should check the float and drain plug for signs of corrosion. Minerals contained in your home's water supply can naturally build up on the surface of the float and drain plug over time, causing the plug to close prematurely and slow the speed with which your toilet flushes.

Cleaning the mineral deposits off these parts–or replacing them if the corrosion is too severe–will help restore your toilet's flush speed in the future.

2. Clear Out Clogs

Sometimes the root cause of your toilet's slow flushing isn't what is coming into the toilet's bowl, but rather what is exiting out of it.

There are many things that can create a clog in your toilet's drain pipe. These obstructions can hinder the flow of water and waste leaving your toilet's bowl, causing your toilet to suffer from slow flushing speeds.

Use a bucket to remove some of the water from your toilet's bowl, then place a flange plunger over the opening to the bowl's drain. Quickly plunge up and down a few times to send a concentrated burst of air and water through the drain. Plunging should be sufficient to remove minor clogs from your toilet's drain, allowing the bowl to empty out as quickly as it did before the drain became blocked.

3. Clean Inlet Holes

If you look closely underneath the lip around the edge of your toilet bowl, you will notice a series of small holes. These holes, referred to as inlet holes, are where the water from the reservoir tank flows into the toilet's bowl.

Just as the float and the drain plug inside the tank can become corroded due to mineral buildup, minerals found in your home's water can also accumulate on the surface of the inlet holes. Over time, this buildup can become so significant that it partially closes off the inlet holes and restricts the flow of water into your toilet's bowl.

Taking the time to carefully clean your toilet's inlet holes to remove any mineral buildup should allow you to restore proper flushing speed to your toilet.

Discovering why your toilet is suddenly flushing slower than it used to will help you determine if the problem is minor or a sign of more serious problems like a pipe collapse or a plumbing line that has been punctured by tree roots.

If checking the tank, clearing out clogs and cleaning the inlet holes doesn’t restore your toilet's flushing speed, contactthe professionals at Preferred Plumbing & Drain for help solving the mystery of your slow-flushing toilet.