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Brian, Architect
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 3123
Experience:  Licensed Architect- 17 years
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My toilet tank is empty and doesn’t refill. What can I do?

Resolved Question:

My toilet tank is empty and won't fill with water. This seems to happen in cold weather but I have plastic not copper plumbing.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Brian replied 8 years ago.


Welcome to JustAnswer.

Sorry to hear about your problem.

When the toilet tank does not refill, you need to verify the following:

  1. Turn off supply water to toilet; the shut off valve should be located below the tank, near the wall or floor. Disconnect the supply line from the toilet and put end into a bucket and turn water back on. If the water comes on and fills the bucket then the refill valve in the tank is the culprit. If no water comes out then either the shut-off valve is clogged and needs to be replaced or if the supply line is near an exterior wall and you live in a cold climate, then there is a possibility that the line has frozen. If this is the case then you would need to thaw the line with a hairdryer and then insulate well around the pipe to prevent future freezing.
  2. If the refill valve is the culprit then read the following: The newer fill valves, as shown below, use a float rather than the old plastic ball on the end of a rod. If you have this type of float valve, you most likely can just flush any sediment that has managed to get caught in it and is preventing the valve from filling the tank. Depending on the brand, some twist off near the base, some have a cap on top that twists off after lifting off a plastic cover. With the water supply shut off, located under the tank, you can twist off the fill valve and then turn the water supply back on. Just make sure you use your hand or a cup to block the flow of water that will come out of where you just untwisted the fill valve. This will flush out the sediment. You can also clean the rubber washer that is located here. Put everything back together and it should work fine. If you would rather change out the fill valve, you can do this is as well since they are inexpensive; replace the fill valve if flushing the sediment does not help.

If you need further help or clarification on this answer, please do not hesitate to reply to this post.

Thanks for asking your question at JustAnswer.

Best of Luck.

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