I want to stop wasting water
November 25, 2009 8:40 AM   Subscribe

How can I get my toilet to fill up all the way to the waterline?

My toilet isn't filling up all the way with water. Because of this, water gets wasted because instead of a single flush doing the job, two or more flushes are needed.

In the past, when I wanted to adjust the water level in the tank, all I had to do was adjust the arm on the ball float. But this toilet has a different mechanism, where the "ball float" is part of the valve mechanism, and rests just beneath the filler tube. I saw that the float was set to about 1 1/2" below the top, so I adjusted the height as far as it would go up. That helped raise the water level, and now it's about an inch below the water level line mark.

Anything else I can do to raise the water level to where it should be?
posted by jujube to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
you can replace the valve with a different one and see if that works. But even with low-flow toilets, getting almost all the way up to the line should be fine for normal BMs.
posted by squorch at 8:45 AM on November 25, 2009

Need pictures. Please.
posted by TomMelee at 8:49 AM on November 25, 2009

If you do not want to replace the mechanism, you may be able to make a small hole in the top surface of the float, where it is not exposed to the water in the tank, and fill it partially with water to reduce its buoyancy. Of course, if you do it wrong, you'll ruin the float and have to replace the mechanism anyway. It will also be a pain to readjust if too much water somehow gets into the float -- you'll have to close off the water flow, empty the tank, and drain the float.
posted by Behemoth at 8:56 AM on November 25, 2009

IAMAPlumber, but going off of Behemoth's suggestion, couldn't you, instead of putting a hole in the float, just tie or tape something heavy to it, a roll of quarters or a similarly sized piece of metal. That'll pull the float down a bit and keep the valve open a little longer, and you wouldn't risk damaging anything unnecessarily.

I don't know if this method will actually work, but it saves you the trouble of putting a hole in anything.
posted by dnesan at 9:07 AM on November 25, 2009

Check the stem of the filler (the vertical column coming from the bottom of the tank).
It is not uncommon nowadays for these to be of adjustable height.
If it is adjustable, all you have to do is hold the bottom and pull up on the top.
Sometimes people adjust these down to save water.
posted by Seamus at 9:59 AM on November 25, 2009

I was asking for pics so we could determine the type of mechanism in the tank. Like Seamus says, the tube is very likely significantly adjustable in height. Some are an o ring that can be pulled UP, then the entire tube can be pulled up or down over ridges, and the o-ring can be reseated after it's the desirable height. Others operate similarly but with a screw mechanism.

Also, some floats are screw-adjustable to be higher or lower, alternately you can sometimes physically bend the arm of the float if it's the right type.

Even a crappy pic would help us help you in no time.
posted by TomMelee at 11:00 AM on November 25, 2009

This has been helpful for all of my toilet-related concerns.
posted by Danf at 11:09 AM on November 25, 2009

So, you want the float higher but it won't go any higher? Grab the body of the valve column with your hand and rotate the whole thing: they have a screw swivel in them that lets you adjust the whole thing up or down. But if you've adjusted the water level in the tank to be high and you're still not getting enough water in the bowl then you need to replace the flapper valve. They're supposed to have just the right buoyancy so that they remain open long enough for enough water to escape before closing. Some even have a little float on an adjustable length of chain to adjust this point at which they close.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2009

I just replaced a flapper valve and though I bought a plain jane one, for two bucks more I could have bought one with a dial built in for adjusting the dwell time.
posted by fixedgear at 11:28 AM on November 25, 2009

I recommend replacing the whole thing, if you are a little bit handy. The replacement mechanisms are inexpensive and fairly easy to install.
posted by kenliu at 12:08 PM on November 25, 2009

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