Why Is My Toilet Slow to Fill?

You flushed and now you have to wait; sound familiar? This is a frequent toilet issue with numerous possible culprits. Fortunately, none of them are major concerns or expensive to address. Follow this guide to get your slow toilet working properly again.

How to Repair a Slow-Filling Toilet

Learning why your toilet is slow to refill is step #1 for fixing it. Keep in mind these possible reasons and how to deal with each one.

Partially Closed Water Supply Valve

Check behind the toilet for the water supply line connected to the wall. You’ll notice a valve connected to it, which allows you to close off the water during toilet repairs and replacements. Check this valve to make sure it’s completely open.

Issues with the Fill Valve or Tube

The fill valve, which can be found connected to the top of a vertical tube-shaped part in the toilet tank, regulates the water flow into the tank. A toilet fill valve might wear out, clog or shift out of alignment after years of use, hindering the tank from filling properly. Follow these instructions to adjust, clean or fix the fill valve:

  • Locate the fill valve: Remove the toilet tank lid and find the fill valve inside. It’s normally mounted on the left side with a tailpiece extending through the bottom of the tank and connecting to the supply tube and shut-off valve.
  • Adjust the fill valve: Make sure the fill valve is secure and evenly attached to the tube. Alter the fill valve height if necessary by twisting the adjustment knob (common to newer toilets) or loosening the adjustment screw with a flathead screwdriver (required for older toilets). Next, verify that the water level is approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube.
  • Wash the fill valve: To get rid of mineral accumulation and other gunk from the valve, first shut off the water behind the toilet and take off the fill cap. Then, slowly turn the water back on, cupping your hand over the valve to avoid getting sprayed. Allow the water to flow for several seconds to flush out dirt. Next, scrub away mineral buildup from the fill cap. If you detect cracks or significant wear and tear, replace the valve.
  • Clean the valve tube: Dirt trapped in the valve tube could also be at fault. Turn off the water supply and take off the valve hardware. Then, run a thin wire or bottle brush down the tube. Start the water supply slightly to flush away the remaining residue. Reconnect the valve hardware and verify if the toilet fills properly.

Waterlogged Float Ball

The float ball in older toilet models rises with the water level, sealing the fill valve once the tank has filled. If the float ball is damaged or punctured and fills with water, it prevents the tank from filling efficiently.

Pull up the tank lid and look inside. A partially submerged float ball could be waterlogged. Before running out to buy a new ball, check the float arm it’s secured to. If the arm is directed too low in the tank, bend it up a little bit to elevate the ball’s height.

If that does not do the trick, you may be able to install a new float ball. But it's worth remembering that this is an older toilet design, so it may well be better to upgrade the existing tank components or change out the toilet altogether.

Clogged Plumbing Vent

Your home plumbing system features vents that allow air to enter the pipes. If they are clogged, pressure may build inside of the pipes, stopping the water from flowing. This can, in turn, make your toilet slow to fill or even cause the bowl to overflow.

You need to get on the roof to look for clogged plumbing vents. Search for long, vertical PVC pipes poking up from the shingles. Clear away any animal nests, deep snow or other obstructions you find to guarantee that your plumbing can function as intended.

Leaky or Blocked Pipe

If there's nothing apparently wrong with the water supply valve, fill valve and tube, float ball or plumbing vents, the slow toilet dilemma could stem from your supply pipes. A water line leak could restrict your toilet tank from filling appropriately. It’s safest to hire a licensed plumber to handle these issues.

Schedule Toilet Repair with McElroy Service Experts

When all else fails, turn to McElroy Service Experts for reliable toilet repair in Grand Island. We can identify the reason why this is happening and perform a cost-effective repair. If the fixture has hit the end of its typical life span, our team can propose high-efficiency toilet replacement in Grand Island. We’ll help you pick out the replacement model and install it on your behalf. You can relax knowing that every job we perform is supported by a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To schedule a visit from us, please contact McElroy Service Experts today.

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