Having a toilet that never refills completely can be annoying. Not only will it prevent the toilet from flushing properly, but it could also cause your toilet to overflow or waste tons of water. Unfortunately, determining why this is happening isn’t always easy, so here are a few different issues that can prevent a toilet from refilling and how to fix them.
1. Fill Valve or Float Isn’t Properly Adjusted
The most common reason that a toilet won’t refill completely is that either the fill valve or float isn’t adjusted properly as this will cause the valve to close before the tank is full enough. The fill valve is what works to allow water to flow into the tank once the toilet has been flushed. The valve is connected to a float that signals it to open when the tank empties and then closes once the tank has fully refilled.
When you flush the tank, it almost completely empties, and this causes the float to drop down. As the float drops, it opens the fill valve. The float then starts to rise back up as the tank refills, and it eventually rises to a certain point where the fill valve then closes and the tank stops refilling.
While you may be able to adjust either the fill valve or the float on your own, it isn’t always easy to know where they need to be or how to adjust them. If this job isn’t done properly, it could cause your toilet to start overflowing every time. As such, we would always recommend hiring a plumber if you suspect that your fill valve or the float needs to be adjusted.
2. Toilet Flapper Is Worn Out
The toilet flapper is a rubber gasket located at the bottom of the tank that seals off the tank from the bowl so that water can’t leak out. Whenever you flush the toilet, a chain raises the flapper so that water drains out and flushes the bowl. Over time, the flapper can wear out to the point where it no longer fully seals. This will lead to some water constantly leaking out of the tank, which means there may not be enough water remaining to completely fill the bowl when you flush. A worn-out flapper also means that the toilet will need to run occasionally even when it hasn’t been used in order to refill the tank.
While a leaky or worn-out flapper may not seem like a big deal, you will definitely want to have it replaced as soon as possible. If not, your water bill may be much higher as a leaky flapper will typically waste around 200 gallons of water a day or more than 6,000 gallons in a month.
The good news is that you can easily test to see whether your flapper is leaking. All you need to do is put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and then wait for 20 minutes or so to see if the food coloring has made its way into the bowl. If the water in the bowl is colored, it’s a sure sign that your flapper is leaking.
3. Overflow Tube Is Damaged
The overflow tube is a plastic tube located inside the toilet tank that connects directly to the bowl. Its purpose is to both prevent the tank from overflowing and refill the bowl after flushing. After the toilet flushes, the flapper closes and the tank begins to refill. The water in the tank eventually starts to rise to the top of the overflow tube, and this water then flows into the tube to refill the bowl.
If the overflow tube is cracked or damaged, it will result in some water constantly leaking into the bowl. This can lead to the tank not having enough water to fully flush the toilet. An even bigger issue is that a damaged overflow tube could easily cause your toilet bowl to start overflowing. For this reason, you should immediately have the overflow tube replaced if you notice any visible cracking or damage.
4. Trip Lever Isn’t Working Properly
The toilet trip lever or lever arm is what initiates the flushing process. This lever is located inside the toilet tank and is connected to the handle used for flushing. At the other end of the arm is the chain that connects to the toilet flapper. When you push the handle to flush the toilet, the lever arm raises the flapper to release water from the tank and flush the bowl.
In some cases, the trip lever can get partially stuck in the raised position. This issue will prevent the flapper from fully closing, which means that some water will continue to drain out of the tank, and it won’t fill fully before the toilet shuts off. Should this happen, you may need to take the lid off the tank and manually push the arm back down so that the flapper can close and seal properly. The lever arm can also break, and this will prevent the toilet from flushing when you push the handle.
5. Toilet Is Cracked or Leaking
Even a small leak in the tank or bowl can be a huge issue since there’s such a large potential for serious water damage. Leaks will also mean that the toilet needs to refill frequently because of water loss. Luckily, leaks are usually quite easy to spot as you will typically see standing water around the base of the toilet. The most common reason a toilet tank will leak is that the bolts that secure it to the bowl are loose and don’t seal properly. If your toilet bowl itself is leaking, it most likely means that it is cracked, and you’ll need to have the toilet replaced.
6. Water Shut-off Valve Isn’t Fully Open
Your toilet also won’t ever fill completely if the water shut-off valve next to it isn’t fully open. This is always the first thing you should check for if your toilet isn’t refilling as there is always a chance the valve was bumped or someone accidentally closed it part of the way.
7. Your Water Pressure Is Low
There is also a chance that your toilet isn’t refilling because your home doesn’t have sufficient water pressure. Low water pressure will sometimes cause a toilet to shut off before it has had time to completely refill, and this is an issue that will typically affect all of the toilets in the home. All toilets have a specific water pressure rating. If your home’s water pressure doesn’t meet this rating, it will prevent the toilet from working properly.
There are a variety of different issues that can lead to low water pressure. It could be that your home’s main water shut-off valve isn’t fully open or that your water pressure regulator valve is faulty or not properly adjusted. Hard water can also lead to low water pressure as a result of the buildup of limescale inside your pipes. If you suspect that your home has water pressure issues, the only real way to get to the bottom of them is to have a plumber inspect your entire plumbing system to determine the specific cause.
If you have a toilet that isn’t refilling, runs constantly, or has any other issues, On Time Experts can help you overcome the problem and get your toilet working correctly again. Our plumbers have experience with all types of toilet repairs, and we can also take care of any of your other plumbing repair or installation needs. Give us a call today if you have any questions or need any plumbing or HVAC service in the Garland area.