Toilet tank has stopped filling - what could be the problem?

I’m having problems with my toilet and I am hoping that there is some way I can avoid calling the plumber. Of course, the complication is that I’ve never actually tried to fix anything in a toilet and I probably don’t have the necessary tools.

Still, I thought I’d check around and see if this might be an easily fixed problem before I started shelling out money to an expert.

The problem is that after flushing, the fill mechanism isn’t working. There is sort of a trickle of water running down the sides of the intake mechanism. Sometimes if I shut off the valve for a while, the next time I turn it on, the fill works as normal, but then after a flush, it goes back to problem mode.

Any ideas? Is this something I can fix easily at less expense than a plumber?

Thanks for any suggestions or help

Take the top off and make sure when you flush that the float (either a big ball or a collar around the intake mechanism) is falling down with the water. If it’s not, push it down and see if it fills.
If it is, I’d wager you just need to replace the valve.

The toilet’s one of the easiest things to fix. As Joey P says, it could be the valve. Here’s a site describing the replacement of the valve. I’ve bought valves like this at Home Depot for about $10-15. Much cheaper than a plumber, and it might take half an hour to replace–if you take your time.

Which, I take it, is a major job?

It really shouldn’t be. Also, I’m sure there’s literally thousands of youtube videos about it that should walk you through it from all different angles with all different types of valves.

It’s not a major job. Many kits are available that require no tools more complicated than a sponge and your hands.

So the floating thing seems to be working properly. It just doesn’t trigger the intake.

When I have toilet tank problems, I replace everything rather than troubleshoot. Turn off the water to the tank, scoop out as much water as you can then sponge out the rest. Buy a kit with all the components for the tank. The packaging has detailed step by step instructions.

Test the pressure at the shut off valve: close the valve and disconnect it from the toilet, then open the valve (have a bucket ready) and see if you’re getting good pressure coming out. If the pressure’s good, you know the problem is with the toilet guts. If it’s not, you’ve got a problem with the valve or the line coming in, which can be much harder to fix.

If it suddenly stopped I’m pretty sure it’s the fill valve. They’re cheap. Rather than trying to trouble shoot just replace the whole thing. Take the toilet model name to the local hardware store and they can fix you up.

I’ve changed them out myself with a YouTube video as a guide. No special tools needed.

Thanks for all the advice. I’ll try it.

Another question to make me feel stupid – where do I find the model?

Often times it’s right where you’d pee when the stream goes a bit, um, high. That hard to clean spot between the bolts that hold the seat on.

It’s so easy, even [del]a caveman[/del] Johnny L.A. can do it!

I replaced the toilet’s innards a couple of years ago. I was amazed at how easy it was, and that it worked the first time.

Turn off the water, then flush the toilet. No need to scoop the water out. For the couple remaining cups, I just put a bucket under the pipe on the old valve, When I took the valve out, the water came out the hole and into the bucket.

This is definitely step #1.

Chances are the mechanism that connects the float is damaged, so even though the ball is down and should be “asking” for water, the internal components are stuck in the “toilet is full, no more water, please” condition.

(I know these terms are technical :slight_smile: )

Another spot to look is inside the tank, stenciled near the top where the tank cover goes.

But it may not be necessary – they sell many ‘universal’ toilet repair kits, that fit nearly all brands of toilet. The kit will have multiple washers or fittings in it – you use the one that fits your toilet and toss the rest.

I can’t believe how easy that was. The base seemed to be in good shape, so all I had to do was remove the top part of the fill valve assembly and slide the new one into place and slip the the ends of the tube into place.

The instructions said to have a wrench, pliers, sponge, bucket/collecting pan, and scissors, but I didn’t use any of them.

So I spent like $10 total and about two minutes of time. I imagine that a plumber would have charged like $200-$300.

So thanks for your help, everyone!

Just an aside:
Years ago, my girlfriend complained to me that her toilet was filling very slowly. I looked at the fill valve and float assembly, and everything looked OK. I finally decided to replace the whole assembly, and when I disconnected the water line at the bottom of the tank, I noticed that there was a spurious washer blocking the inlet. Apparently her dad (who’s kind of dangerous around tools) installed a new fill valve in the past, and had a spare washer, so he just put it in the pipe fitting (where it didn’t belong). It eventually moved to block most of the opening, shutting the water flow to a trickle. When I re-assembled it without the washer, it worked fine.

About two weeks ago I was over at my parents house. My sister (who still lives there) mentioned that the sink in the second floor bathroom takes forever to get hot. Like, she turns on the hot water and then goes and lays on her bed for 10 minutes. I wasn’t going to look at it then, so I asked her a bunch of questions so I could think about it before the next time I got there. Does the shower take a long time? Does the hot water run slower? Does the cold water run slower? How long has it been like this? Was it progressive or did it just happen one day? All I got was a bunch was a lot of “I don’t know, just fix it” type answers. The next day I saw my dad and he said “So, your sister mentioned that hot water was takes a long time to register” “Yeah, she told me that too, I’m wondering if maybe the it’s [idea] or [idea]” “I [dad] looked at it…the hot water valve was almost all the way shut off under the sink”

What’s strange is that no one has worked on that sink in years. I have no idea how it got shut off like that. She certainly wouldn’t have turned the valve off and my dad said it took a couple of turns to get it all the way back on so it’s not like it was bumped by something or someone.

That’s great, Ascenray, that you were able to fix it. I kind of like plumbing though it’s not something I, you know, bring up a lot. I’ve had to do stuff like you did when I had some rental places.

One thing I want to add though: If at all possible, don’t approach a plumbing problem on a weekend, or really an evening, either. If things go south, you’ll be paying premium charge for a plumber then.

Now I think I’ll go replace my ball cock with a float cup, just for the fun of it.

sorry, can’t help it.

ball cock.