toilet tank

Toilet Tank Won’t Fill With Water

Has your toilet suddenly stopped filling with water? When you look in the tank, does it seem to be dry?

There are several reasons that your toilet tank might not be filling up properly. You don’t need to panic, but it is important to find the cause.

You might be able to solve some of these issues on your own. With others, you’ll need to call a plumber to help.

Potential Reasons For A Toilet Tank Issue

Since there are multiple different reasons that your toilet tank might not be filling, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll need to determine the cause of the problem first.

Sometimes the issue is related to an old toilet tank that has outlived its lifespan. When toilet tanks get old enough, they’re prone to malfunctioning.

You might also have an issue with low water pressure. In this case, the toilet tank might fill very slowly.

You might also notice that the toilet tank doesn’t get as full as it usually does.

It’s also possible that a part of your plumbing or the tank itself is broken. Many of these pieces can be replaced without you needing to replace the entire toilet.

If the toilet itself isn’t the cause of the problem, then the issue might be a clogged pipe or a broken water tank. In these cases, it’s vital that you get in contact with a plumbing professional.

They’ll be able to determine the location and cause of the problem, as well as offer a solution.

A broken sewer pipe can be a serious issue that prevents water from getting to your toilet tank. It can lead to property damage throughout your plumbing.

So you definitely shouldn’t wait to get professional help if you believe that this is the issue.

You can follow a few basic steps to figure out why the tank won’t fill.

Look For A Defective Float Ball

Float Ball in toilet tank

In most cases, the issue is related to a defective float ball. This is a positive scenario, as it means there isn’t any major issue with your plumbing or your tank.

You can usually replace the float ball without buying an entirely new toilet tank.

Float balls are in charge of regulating how much water enters the tank. That way, they can keep the tank from overflowing.

The float ball helps ensure that the tank fills to the appropriate height even if there are objects inside it.

The float ball prevents liquid from coming into the tank once the water gets to a certain height. As the name implies, it floats on top of the water.

When the ball rises high enough, it will pull on the arm it’s attached to. The arm will then close the opening for water to flow in.

If your water tank is only filling partway, it might be because the float ball is being triggered too early. Move the arm until it’s higher up.

That will lengthen the ball’s range, so the water can rise higher before being cut off.

If you do this, and then the ball arm drops again, you probably need to replace it.

Check For A Broken Flapper Chain

Flapper Chain

Toilet tanks are created with either a flush handle or a flapper chain. The component you have will vary depending on your model.

Both of these items are responsible for sealing the tank’s drain between flushes.

A broken flapper chain might cause your toilet to run constantly. Water will leak from the tank into the toilet bowl.

Not only will this keep the tank from filling, but it could cause you to waste hundreds of gallons of water! You won’t be happy about your water bill if you don’t fix this issue quickly.

The problem might also be that your chain is too long. It can also get tangled without breaking, which might cause the drain to become unsealed.

Make sure that the chain isn’t tangled. Then look at how many links are attached to the rod.

There shouldn’t be more than an inch or so, as that can cause the chain to be too short to seal the drain.

Once you’ve detangled or lengthened the chain, you should put the lid back on. If the rod is in the correct position, it won’t touch the lid.

If your rod is touching the lid, you’ll need to keep adjusting the chain until it doesn’t.

Check For Faulty Fill Valves

Fill Valves

One of the most important components of your toilet tank is the fill valve. This valve is responsible for filling the tank back up with water after you flush it.

The valve is connected to the water supply line. They control how much water flows in from the line.

Usually, the valve will also be connected to the float arm. The arm automatically shuts the valve off when the tank is full enough.

Checking the valves requires a screwdriver. You’ll need to unscrew the toilet lid and take it off.

Then look toward the left side of the toilet to find the valves. If they’re not there, check the right side.

Using your screwdriver, tighten the screw on the valve. This will raise it and allow more water to enter the toilet tank.

If too much water goes into the toilet tank, you can use the screwdriver and move the screw counterclockwise. This will loosen it and lower the valve.

Simply experiment with the tightness of the screw until you get a solution that works.

You might also have a toilet that uses a cylinder instead of a float arm. In this case, check the cylinder to make sure it’s allowing water in appropriately.

With this type of valve, you’ll just slide a float clip up and down until there’s the right amount of water in the tank.

Replace Your Flapper


The flapper in your toilet tank probably has a shorter lifespan than the tank itself. When it gets worn out, you’ll need to replace it.

It’s important to find the exact model that works with your specific toilet.

If you don’t know your toilet model, you can bring your old flapper to a hardware store and have an employee find a match. They might need to order one in if your specific model isn’t in stock.

If there’s no way to determine the exact model, then your next best bet is to get a flapper with the same dimensions and materials. One option is to pick a universal flapper, which is designed for use with almost every toilet bowl.

The only caveat is that these flappers tend to wear down quickly. While they work as a temporary substitute, it’s still a good idea to find a model built specifically for your toilet tank’s needs.

You should avoid adjustable flappers at all costs. Though they may seem like the simplest solution, they’re built with fragile components.

Even if you can fit one on your tank, it’s likely to break down very quickly.

Check If The Trip Assembly Is Broken

trip assembly

The trip assembly for your toilet might be broken, which will contribute to a non-filling water tank. The faulty setup might be blocked.

This can then lead to a malfunctioning of the flush cycle. Since the toilet isn’t going through its flushing steps properly, the tank might not refill.

Open up your toilet lid and look at the trip assembly. If this component is the problem, it will typically be visibly broken, worn down, or bent.

If you do see any visible defects, then it’s time to replace the component. Repairs are more difficult and costly than a simple replacement, and repaired trip assemblies often break anyway.

As with the flapper, it’s a good idea to take your old trip assembly to a hardware store so that you can get the right match for your model.

Check If The Fill Tube Is Damaged

fill tube

The fill tube might sometimes become damaged, which keeps your toilet tank from filling properly. The fill tube connects to your overflow tube.

When you flush the toilet, the tube puts water into the tank.

You should make sure that the fill tube hasn’t accidentally become disconnected from your overflow tube. If it is disconnected, then its valves will shut off the water prior to filling the toilet tank.

Connect the pieces back together as needed, and they should work fine.

If there aren’t any issues with the connection, then you should double check that the tube isn’t worn out or leaking. When the tube itself is damaged or worn down, it’s time to replace it at the hardware store.

Thankfully, this particular component is easy to replace. You don’t generally need to find a tube that fits your specific toilet model, as long as you find one that’s the same size and shape.

Check Your Toilet Bowl

toilet bowl

If you’ve gone through all of the previous steps and are still having trouble, there’s one more thing you can check. The toilet bowl might be having problems, rather than the tank.

A cracked toilet bowl might cause leakage onto your bathroom floor. This likely isn’t the issue if you haven’t noticed any wetness on the floor.

But you should check around the sides and back of the toilet just in case.

The leak might cause your toilet tank and bowl to both empty. You’ll need to shut off the water and replace the entire toilet if this is the case.

Final Thoughts

If you follow all of these steps and still aren’t getting enough water to your toilet tank, you’ll need to call a plumber. The issue is likely related to your pipes rather than the toilet itself.

The main causes of this problem that aren’t related to the toilet are problems with low water pressure or a broken sewer line. Both of those problems need to be solved by a professional.

With low water pressure, you’ll probably notice a reduction in flow when you use your sinks or shower. But there might not be any major warning signs about a broken sewer line.

Broken sewer lines are plumbing emergencies that can damage your house and release toxic gases, so you should call for help right away.