Toilet Tank Not Filling Up After Flush Why Won't My Toilet Fill Up With Water?

A common issue we come across with our local calls are people telling us that their toilet tank is not filling up with water properly after pushing down the flush lever or toilet handle) and it may take more than one flush attempt just to clear the toilet bowl or the toilet doesn’t fill right away. In other words, the toilet basin is not filling with water after a flush or the toilet is filling up slowly. In many cases, the toilet won’t flush. Some describe it as their “toilet doesn’t stop flushing” or a running toilet. According to Toilet Haven, “A toilet tank is designed to refill up with water every time it is flushed. The water level should be about a half inch below the overflow tube (or overflow pipe) and should take about 10 seconds to refill…When a toilet is not filling up with water it is a sign of a faulty fill valve, wrong height of the toilet float, a leaking flapper, a toilet flapper stays up, cracked overflow tube or low water pressure.”

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area is always here to help you with your plumbing issues and commode repair. If you are a handy person (and you really don’t need to be all that handy for most of these), you can probably solve any of the following issues (even when it comes to changing out toilet guts) related to your toilet’s:

  • Float ball 
  • Fill valve
  • Trip assembly
  • Water pressure

In this blog, we take a look at just how to figure out on your own possible solutions to why your toilet tank isn’t filling up after you flush it and toilet bowl water subsides. You will need to get under the toilet tank lid to perform any of the following troubleshooting steps. You should also make sure you know where your water shut off valve is located (just follow the water supply hose to the valve). Bear in mind, it is always advised to call a professional plumber to fix any plumbing issue that goes beyond your comfort zone to address. (Indeed, we are often called in to repair damage that resulted from homeowners who attempted repairs way out of their comfort zone while not understanding the basics of how a toilet tank works.) 

Here are some reasons why you may be faced with a troubling no-fill toilet tank and what you or your plumber can do about them. Note: we’re discussing American toilets in this post – like brands Kohler toilet, TOTO, American Standard, Delta and many more.

Float Ball Readjustment

From our experience at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, the float ball (or commonly called a floater for toilet) is the most common culprit for this problem of the toilet tank not filling with water after flushing. The float ball sits above the water in the tank (usually a metal rod with a plastic ball attached). It is connected to a float arm that regulates water entering the tank.  When the tank water reaches the optimal height, the float ball stops the inflow of water by moving the float arm to block the entry of water in the fill tube. 

Like all of us, sometimes the float ball needs a little readjustment over time. Especially if it seems the toilet won’t stop filling. First and easiest thing to do to try to correct insufficient water filling the tank after flushing is to bend the float arm slightly upward, so that the ball goes higher and stops the entry of water much later. 

If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the float ball. What allows a float ball to float is that it is hollow inside. As it ages, a float ball might develop cracks or holes that allow water into it. A no longer hollow float ball filled with water doesn’t float very well. It’s easy enoug to replace a soggy float ball with a new one. A very inexpensive fix.

If readjusting or replacing the float ball does not solve your toilet problem, the next place to look is the toilet fill valve.

Adjust the Fill Valve

Toilet fill valves control the flow of water from the supply line to refill the tank between flushes. 

If the toilet still proceeds to not fill properly after readjusting the float ball, then the problem might be resolved by adjusting the fill valves. How you do this depends on whether your toilet uses: 

  • Float arm
  • Adjusted cylinders

Float Arm

If your toilet’s fill valves use float arms, then the fix is to start by removing the toilet cap lid and locate the fill valve in the tank on the left side.

Use a flat-head screwdriver to turn the adjustment screw clockwise to raise the fill valve to allow more water to fill in. (Note: if the water level was too high, you would do the opposite  and lower the fill valve by turning the screw counter-clockwise.) Flush the toilet after these adjustments and see if the water fills properly.

Adjusted Cylinder

If your tank uses adjusted cylinders, remove the toilet lid and find the fill valve that is located on the left side of the tank. Pinch the float clip on the side of the float valve and slide it up to let in more water. 

If the Fill Valve Still Doesn’t Work After Adjustment.,..

If you’ve performed the adjustment and your toilet is still not filling up after flushing (or the toilet won’t flush), the problem could be the fill valve itself. If it’s an old fill valve, it might have come to the end of its life expectancy and you should probably invest your energy in replacing rather than fixing a toilet fill valve. 

If it’s a fairly new fill valve, check to see if your toilet tank water has any grit or debris floating about. This grit can get into the fill valve and prevent it from operating properly. In this case, drain the toilet tank, turn off the water and do the following for how to change a fill valve:

  • Hold the shaft of the fill valve at the bottom with one hand and use the other hand to turn the valve cap counterclockwise until it comes loose.
  • Remove the fill valve from the toilet and inspect the holes on the valve seat for only debris.
  • Spray water into the holes to force the debris out.
  • Replace the fill valve in the toilet (be sure to turn the valve cap clockwise until tight so it doesn’t leak) and reconnect the water supply.

That might fix the immediate problem. But if you have debris in your water, the problem could easily reoccur. You might want to consider a water filtration system to purge your water of too many minerals.

Bad Trip Assembly

Back in the 1960s it was not uncommon for some people looking to expand their consciousness to complain of taking a bad trip. Your toilet can also have a bad trip.

Your trip assembly is the part of the flush handle that is connected to the tank. This assembly could be positioned poorly, or it could block itself when the lid is on.  Either of these can result in the flush cycle not completing correctly. 

To fix a poorly operating trip assembly, open the toilet lid and inspect the trip assembly. If you notice that the trip assembly is bent, broken or worn out, it is time to consider getting a replacement trip assembly to fix your filling problem.

Low Water Pressure

If you’ve tried everything else we’ve suggested and your toilet is still no filling up properly, the problem probably isn’t the toilet itself. You just might have low water pressure leading to a slow filling toilet tank.

What causes low water pressure? Rusted or leaking water pipes, water supply valve or a clogged valve tube. Sometimes even just bad plumbing in how water lines are configured. This is often the issue in older homes. Whenever water isn’t flowing efficiently, you are going to suffer low water pressure and slow filling toilet

Unlike the other steps we’ve outlined to possibly fix a toilet tank that isn’t filling up with water after flushing, the fix for low water pressure is not a DIY project. Call a Benjamin Franklin Plumber to inspect your home’s plumbing. We will figure out the real issue to your problem and solve it promptly.

If DIY Fails, Call a Plumber

A toilet malfunction is never fun. A plumber is your best option if you can’t get your toilet tank to fill properly or the flusher for toilet still isn’t working —that means you’ve got a serious problem either with the toilet itself, the toilet bowl construction, or somewhere deeper in your pipes. 

There are other problems that can occur with your toilet besides a tank that isn’t filling. For example: toilet sounds like it keeps filling, a toilet keeps refilling, a toilet losing water in bowl, when a toilet barely flushes, flush valve opening is cracked, a toilet keeps filling, toilet won’t flush not clogged, a cracked toilet bowl, issues with a plumbing vent pipe or waste pipes, issues requiring toilet pump repair, issues with a flush valve, flapper valve, flapper chain, etc.

Toilets rely on the interaction of numerous parts to function properly – even when dealing with tankless toilet repair. If a toilet isn’t flushing properly (or a toilet won’t flush properly and not clogged), it could be a problem with its plumbing or with the parts that make it work. Sometimes a toilet will function even though it has malfunctioning components. Even though it’s tempting to ignore, a toilet’s parts should be replaced once they start to break. If left ignored, they could fail. Even if they don’t completely break, malfunctioning toilet parts waste water and increase your water utility bills.

You can count on Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to effectively determine the source of your problem and perform effective bathroom flush repair. We take to heart the words of our namesake, Benjamin Franklin, who famously said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”  We’ve built our company around bringing a higher level of excellence to every customer experience. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and our licensed plumbers proudly offer an on-time guarantee and a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee to meet all your plumbing service needs. Because we’re locally owned and operated, our plumbers are familiar with the plumbing challenges you face. It also doesn’t matter if you’re on city water or looking for “well repair near my location” or “well repair around me”. If there’s any delay in providing your service, we pay!

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing answers your service calls 24 hours a day at 800-259-7705. Or go online to request an appointment.