How can I get my toilet to flush?
November 15, 2005 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Why is my toilet refusing to fill up completely?

After moving into a new apartment, I've been battling this toilet and it's filling abilities. It tends to fill up to about an inch before the water line, and because of this, it lacks the necessary "oomph" to really flush everything down. If you hold down on the black pump thing, you can manually raise the water level back up to where's it supposed to be, but it's really tiring to have to do this every time you visit the bathroom. Is there any way that this can be fixed so it gets all the way to the water line on the first time?
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Adjust the float arm. If it's metal, bend it a bit. If it's plastic, there should be a nut you can loosen, move the arm up and then retighten. Also, more tips.
posted by GuyZero at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2005

Depending on how it's built, there should be, might be a screw at the top of the black plunger that dictates the water level. Look to see what stops the plunger and what it's attatched to. Screwing it in either direction will decrease/increase water levels.
posted by geoff. at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2005

You might want to say something to your landlord and see if they'll get maintenance to something before you try to fix it yourself (assuming you are renting). That toilet looks like it's pretty old, with some major rust going on, and rust flakes in the tank, and if you accidentally break something while trying to fix it yourself, you'll probably be charged for replacing the whole shmeer.
posted by Gator at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2005

Sounds like you are renting -- If so -- I would approach the owner and offer to replace it at double the cost of the item. The replacement kit should be less than $20.00. The installation is easy -- drain tank, remove the old unit and put the new one in. I'd bet the owner will OK the rent adjustment to fix the problem and you will learn how to do it. As a long term home-owner, I am sure you will end up doing this a number of times throughout your lifetime...Orlin
posted by orlin at 2:06 PM on November 15, 2005

Why is my toilet refusing to fill up completely?

Probably because there's not enough fiber in your diet.

Oh, you meant the tank. Try adjusting the float arm. If that doesn't fix the problem, you might try getting a replacement tank kit at Big Box Home Supplies Store of your choice.

If that doesn't do the trick, you might have to do as I did - replace the whole toilet. (Previous owners of our house had children who probably clogged ours.) I found an America Standard toilet, the one they advertise you can flush golf balls using, to be extremely competent.
posted by mikewas at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2005

If a golf ball got into my toilet during normal usse, flushing it would be the least of my concerns.
posted by GuyZero at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2005

Use a safety pin or paper clip to adjust the length of that chain that goes from the flapper valve at the bottom to the float arm at the top.
posted by jessamyn at 2:14 PM on November 15, 2005

"Try adjusting the float arm"

From the picture, it appears that this valve doesn't use a float on an arm, rather it's a float that surrounds the outlet tube. These typically are adjusted by sliding the pinch clamp up or down the rod leading to the float, as in this picture.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:54 PM on November 15, 2005

What mr_crash said, unless the float has sprung a leak or is sticking on the tube.

Probably not what jessamyn said, unless the flapper is closing too soon. That chain opens the flapper valve, which empties the tank. The chain doesn't affect how high the water gets in the tank.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:24 PM on November 15, 2005

Whoops yes. My advice is good advice for a different problem and not yours, my apologies.
posted by jessamyn at 7:55 AM on November 16, 2005

crash, that's the type of valve we're using, but it lacks a rod.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 3:11 PM on November 16, 2005

Without a rod attaching the float, it may be designed so that the outlet tube is actually two threaded pieces which you could adjust higher and lower by screwing them in or out. I couldn't find a picture online of that type of float system, but I know I've seen them at home improvement stores.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:47 PM on November 17, 2005

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