You walk into your bathroom upon waking to take care of your morning business. You lift the lid on the toilet to discover there’s no water in the bowl.
What the heck?
Then, you remove the cover from the tank only to discover that there is no water there either.
What’s going on?
While this situation is frustrating, the upside is that the fix is likely quick and easy. I know this doesn’t help in your current situation, but hang in there because I’m going to give you several reasons why there is no water in your toilet tank or toilet bowl and what you can do to fix the problem. In the meantime, hopefully, you have another bathroom you can use until you get this one fixed!
- Reasons Why Your Toilet Tank Isn’t Filling
- 3 Reasons There’s No Water In Your Toilet Bowl
- Verdict: No Water In Your Toilet Tank
Reasons Why Your Toilet Tank Isn’t Filling
Toilet operation is pretty straightforward. When you flush the toilet, water enters the tank from a supply hose attached underneath. A ball float or fill valve rises with the water level in the tank, until it closes the water inlet valve and the tank stops filling.
It is all pretty simple, but when just one part fails, your toilet can stop functioning altogether. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes for there being no water in the toilet tank.
1. Check for Water Supply Issues
If there is no water in the tank, the first place to check is the water supply coming into the bottom of the tank.
- First, check if the shutoff valve opens all the way.
- If the valve is turned all the way clockwise, it is closed and not allowing water to flow into the tank. Open the valve by turning the knob all the way counterclockwise.
- If the tank is empty, you should hear and/or see the water begin to flow into the tank.
- If the tank inlet appears to be working as it should, there could be a more serious issue with your home’s water supply. So next, check other water sources in your home. Turn on the bathroom sink faucet. Does water flow from there?
- If not, there is a problem with the water supply coming into your home rather than at your toilet.
2. Float Ball Needs to Adjusting
The float ball rises and falls with the changing water level within the toilet tank. As it rises it gradually closes the inlet valve shutting off the water supply and preventing overflow. When you flush the tank water level drop, and the ball float goes down with the water level, which opens up the inlet valve allowing the tank to refill.
If this ball float isn’t positioned right, it can prevent the tank from filling fully – or filling at all – and will need to be adjusted.
Adjusting the ball float is easy. Just remove the cover from the toilet tank and locate the float arm. Gently bend the arm upward, which will lift the ball float higher. Water should begin to fill the tank once again.
Note: Be careful not to bend the float arm too far upward as a toilet tank can overfill and overflow. Make small adjustments until the water level returns to normal.
3. Fill Valve Needs Adjusting or Replacing
Newer toilets have a float cup rather than a float ball. If you don’t see a large plastic ball in the tank when you remove the tank lid, your toilet has a float cup with a fill valve that needs to be adjusted to raise the water level in the tank.
To do this, locate the water level rod. This rod tells the toilet when to stop filling. There is a screw on the top of it. Turn this screw clockwise to raise the float cup, and thus, the water level in the tank. Give the toilet a flush to observe how high the water fills. If it fills too much, turn the screw counterclockwise a little bit and flush the toilet again.
4. Trip Assembly Needs Replacing
The trip assembly attaches the flush handle to the tank. This assembly can get worn out with use and needs to be replaced. If the trip assembly is worn or broken, your toilet won’t be able to fill properly.
To find out if a worn trip assembly is the cause of your no-water issues, remove the cover of the tank and take a look. If the assembly appears to be damaged or worn in any way, head to your local home improvement store to purchase a new one. The repair is easy to do and should have your toilet up and running again in no time.
3 Reasons There’s No Water In Your Toilet Bowl
There’s no water in your toilet bowl? No problem! There are only a few reasons this can happen, and if the problem isn’t caused by any of the issues above, read on to find out what’s going on.
1. Blocked Sewer Vent Line
Not many homeowners know this, but every home’s sewer system is vented to allow noxious gases and odors to escape, so they don’t come back inside the home. This vent line exits your bathroom through the wall and out the roof. Unfortunately, it can get clogged with anything from leaves to even dead animals, and when this happens, fresh air can’t flow to vent the system. This will cause your toilet to not fill properly.
You can attempt to clear a blocked vent line yourself, but that will require climbing on the roof. It may be difficult to reach a blockage in the vent as well. Most homeowners call in a professional to clear a blocked vent line, so don’t hesitate to do just that if you aren’t comfortable with making this repair yourself.
2. Clogged Waste Pipe
The most common cause of low or no water in a toilet bowl is a clog somewhere in the toilet’s inner pipes. A clog can cause a toilet bowl to overflow, but sometimes, a partial clog can siphon water out instead.
If the water in your toilet bowl rises when you flush it only to seep slowly out afterward, there is probably a partial clog in the toilet’s trap. To return your toilet bowl to full capacity, you will need to remove the clog. You can do this using a plunger or toilet snake, both of which will break up the clog so it can flow down the drain. If neither of these tools fixes- the issue, you may need to call a plumber to investigate further.
3. Toilet Bowl is Cracked and Leaking
Finally, if you notice water on your bathroom floor and a low water level in your toilet bowl, you are probably dealing with a cracked toilet bowl. If so, you can attempt to repair the crack using a repair kit from your local hardware store, or you can replace the toilet itself.
Verdict: No Water In Your Toilet Tank
No water in your toilet tank or toilet bowl seems like a major headache, but really, there are simple solutions to both. Usually, the water supply is to blame and simply needs to be turned back on to get the water flowing again. If the water supply isn’t the problem, be sure to check the ball float/fill valve adjustment and the trip assembly before calling a plumber.
As a retired Master Plumber Jamie has over 30 years of hands-on experience, making his plumbing knowledge second to none. He has also worked on both residential and commercial HVAC installation and repair projects.