Toilet Bowl Not Filling with Water after Flush: Why and How to Fix

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The bathroom is one of the more important rooms in the house, would you agree? I would. I know when I’m booking a hotel, looking for a new place or something like that; the bathroom is one of the first things I ask about.

The two questions I ask are whether the bathroom is sufficiently clean and whether it is fully operational.

I think we take our contemporary bathrooms for granted. And although you can argue that bathtubs and sinks are some of the older inventions – the toilet we use today is a very modern invention. We are all so used to it; we practically cannot live without it.

We don’t usually go about our day and think about the importance of toilets – that would be absurd! However, when you’re in dire need of one and it is out of reach, or it had stopped working, the toilet becomes a sacred object!

Toilet Bowl Not Filling With Water After Flush

The toilet can be a quite tricky thing to fix on your own, and many of us wouldn’t even try. The reason why is because the issues with toilets are usually complicated. You would need sufficient knowledge and tools for fixing it.

But, I have good news for you. If your toilet bowl doesn't fill up with water after flushing, you are kind of in luck! I said kind of because firstly you'll need to determine whether the pipes are the problem or not. If they're not, you'll be happy to know this issue is a very easy fix.

You'll need minimal tools, and a set of instructions I will provide you within this article.

Before we start breaking down the reasons why this happens, and how you can fix it, the first thing you need to do is to turn off your water supply! This is essential for every plumbing job you may every need to do in your home.

toilet bowl not filling with water after flush

There are two places in the toilet that hold water at all times – the toilet bowl and the toilet tank.

The water that's present in the toilet bowl is important because it acts as a barrier against any bad smells and toxic gases from going back to your bathroom. This way, you're protected from any safety and health hazards.

Because of this, if you experience a lack of water in the toilet bowl after flushing, it can be quite worrying.

There are several reasons why this can happen to you, and in order to resolve this issue, you'll be happy to hear that for some of these problems you won't need an experienced plumber. Let's determine the most common reasons, and review possible fixes:

Reason #1: the float ball is too low

As we have said, there always needs to be water in the toilet tank. The toilet tank is a tub located above the toilet, contains water at all times, and when you flush, that water travels to the toilet bowl.

So if the tank doesn't fill up properly, then logically, the toilet bowl won't fill up with water either.

The most usual culprit for the toilet tank not filling up properly is the float ball. When you lift the toilet tank lid, you will see several things, such as a float ball attached to a float arm.

The float ball is a small, usually rubber ball that sits above the water level in the tank. When the water reaches the optimal level and height, the role of the float ball is to stop any more water from entering the tank by moving the float arm.


However, sometimes, for whatever reason, the float ball can change its position to being too low. And because of the float ball being too low, you can experience the problems regarding the improperly filled toilet tank, as well as the toilet bowl.

To fix this, you will just need to adjust the position of the float ball by gently bending the floating arm upward, so as to increase the level of the water coming in.

Another problem can be that the floating ball is a bit worn out due to time, so you will need to replace it. For this, it is best to consult a professional.

Reason #2: the fill valve is poorly placed

This is usually the second most common thing that is considered after examining the position of the float ball. In other words, if the float ball is well placed and in good shape, take a look too whether the fill valve is not causing the problem.

The fill valve is also inside the toilet tank, usually on the left side (but not always). Fill valves control how much water goes into the tank between the flushes.

There are two main types of toilet tanks – those with a float ball and those with adjusted cylinders. Both of these have fill valves, the only difference is how you check whether the fill valve needs to be adjusted.

If you lift the tank lid and you see the float ball, then, to check the state of the fill valve, you will need a flat-head screwdriver:

  • Place the flat-head screwdriver into the adjustment screw located on the fill valve.
  • If you need to allow more water into the tank, you need to raise the fill valve; then you will need to turn the screwdriver clockwise.
  • If your tank needs less water, you need to lower the fill valve. To do this, you’ll need to turn the screwdriver counter-clockwise.
  • Flush the toilet between the adjustments to see if you’re satisfied with the water level.

And voila! Enjoy your newly fixed toilet!

Toilet Flushes Slow but Not Clogged

On the other hand, if you are using the toilet with adjusted cylinders, you will again, need to lift the toilet tank lid up and locate the fill valve (also usually on the left).

With adjusted cylinders, you will only need to:

  • Pinch the float clip on the side of the valve
  • Slide it up to let more water in or,
  • Slide it down to let less water into the toilet tank
  • Flush to check the results

Reason #3: low water pressure

It can be that the thing to blame for your waterless toilet bowl is due to bad piping in your home plumbing system. Especially be aware of this if you are experiencing other plumbing problems, with the other water fixtures, such as high-pitched faucet noise, or something like that.

Moreover, if your house is a little older, the pipes may be worn out or leaking, and therefore, in need of replacement.


In order to solve this, it’s best to call up your plumber. It will take them no time to determine whether you have low water pressure, and if you do, they will successfully find the underlying cause of the problem, and repair any damage.

Messing around with pipes is never a good idea even if you consider yourself to be a handy person.


Reason #4: the trip assembly is badly positioned

The trip assembly is the part of the flush handle that connects to the toilet tank.

It has been known to happen that the trip assembly is simply badly positioned, or it can block itself and thus disarrange the flushing cycle and cause it not to complete correctly.

This is another fairly simple fix.

You will just need to open up the lid of the toilet tank, inspect the position of the trip assembly. If the trip assembly is broken, bent, worn out or damaged in any way, you will need the replacement.

Reason #5: clog in the vent line

This is a less frequent problem that occurs, but it is not impossible.

The vent line that lets in air to allow the smooth running of the plumbing system can become clogged due to leaves, bird nests, snow or something similar.

To resolve this, a plumbing snake will be needed in order to remove the blockage and allow more air into the line.


Reason #6: no water coming from the toilet supply valve

If you still haven't found the source of your problem, maybe you have an issue with the toilet supply valve to the toilet – this usually happens if your pipes are old and maybe leaking.

Moreover, it could also be the shut-off valve causing you trouble. The shut-off valve is normally located behind the toilet and adjacent to a wall.

Sometimes it just turns off and thus blocks any water from flowing into the toilet tank.

So, to resolve this, you just need to turn the supply valve counterclockwise which should restore the water flow.

Toilet Bowl Not Filling with Water

Is There Any Way to Prevent This From Happening?

I’m afraid that the only way to prevent having any problems with the toilet tank or a toilet bowl not filling up with water after flushing is to have your home plumbing system inspected by professionals from time to time.

If you live in the homes that have been built a while ago, maybe you could consider the possibility of replacing all of the pipes to ensure smooth operating.

Conclusion: Toilet Bowl Not Filling with Water after Flush

Although you may think that the cause of your toilet bowl not filling up with water is something overly complicated and takes a while to be fixed, as we have seen, that is not the case.

For a trained plumber, the majority of these solutions will take a really short time to fix, and many of the issues can also be solved by an amateur!

All in all, if your toilet bowl does not fill up with water after you have flushed, you need to check the inside of your toilet tank. The source of your troubles is normally found in there.

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