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Question DetailsAsked on 12/7/2016

I can flush my tank once the bowl fills up but there is no pressure to flush again Why?

Well it takes over an hour for the pressure to build up again to flush the toilet. I have had to replace the tank kit twice because that flapper wasn't sealing correctly. No where else in the bath do I have this problem. Hot and cold work fine. There is a shut off valve under the toilet that I have played with, but it seems to get more shallow when I do this? I am probably not explaining this well. I do not understand things involving tools. I find them very frustrating to deal with. However my brain works just fine. I would like a simple, logical explanation if you please. My water bill is low if this is good information? Thank you for your attention and sharing your knowledge.

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2 Answers


First, I am assuming this is NOT due to the flapper valve leaking. If there is visible water running into the bowl from under the rim AND there is a good flow of water into the tank from the inlet valve, the problem is still leaking flapper - or possibly leaking gasket at the base of the overflow pipe (which is sometimes all one unit, sometimes separate). If you have a goodly flow of incoming water into the tank, then solving the leakage out is the issue here.

Now - assuming from here on that there is at most just a very slight disturbance of the water in the bowl from leakage from the tank, then since it does refill in an hour sounds like the inlet valve is almost shut off - or remotely possibly (especially if you have hard water and this has been getting progressivly worse over months) could be the shutoff valve at the wall or the tubing to the tank has built up mineral accumulation and is letting only a trickle through.

The wall shutoff valve is basically an emergency and maintenance shutoff - should be full on for normal use - knob turned counterclockwise till it stops, or if a 1/4 turn lever type like below link, the lever should be aligned with the incoming pipe as shown for on, 90 degrees (crossiwse) to it for off -

If a pressure-flush toilet (pressurized tank or no tank at all, not one you can just take the cover off the tank without undoing clamps or seals or such), then the pressure control/flush valve is probably bad - need a Plumber familiar with that brand. Or if electrical controlled, could be the control unit has gone bad or gotten wet with condensation - a common problem.

If normal tank type toilet - here is a link from my preferred toilet parts company (their kits are also probably themost common in box stores, along with Plumbshop) showing the common parts

The flapper you are familiar with - the vertical standpipe is the overflow tube (usually right behind the flapper) which is there to prevent a stuck inlet valve from overfilling the tank and flooding your bathroom (leads down into the toilet bowl) and also the small bowl refill tube from the inlet valve which refills the bowl after flushing goes into the overflow tube.

At the left in the image and on most tanks - the part probably gone bad on yours - is the inlet valve assembly. Image shows normal modern type, with a plastic canister float that goes up and down on a shaft, opening the inlet valve near the top of it when the float drops during flushing, and as it rises back to full tank level, the bouyancy of the float presses against or lifts an arm or lever that shuts of the incoming water.

In older types, there is a disc shaped or cylindrical unit on the pivot end of the toilet tank float arm/rod, that as the float ball drops during flushing releases an inlet valve - when the ball rises as the tank refills, the bouyancy of the ball causes the arm to press down on the inlet valve and close it off.

Whichever type you have, try moving the float down to see if it is stuck - if you flush and the float drops but water doew not come in, the inlet valve is broken or crudded up. Sometimes moving the float up and down through its normal range (do not "force" it, just cycle from bottom to top of its normal movement range) will free up the valve, at least for a while - though usually that works better for slightly leaking ones than non-working ones.

If you flush and the float drops down to its lowest point, but then stays under water when the water level rises again, the float is leaking and holding water and needs replacing - easy screw-off single item replacement for ball type, with the tower type in the image usually you have to replace the entire assembly.

If float rises with the water level, then most likely the inlet valve is stuck or crudded up - or with the ower type assembly, make sure the little pinch-clamp that makes the float lift a metal rod is working - that the float is not just rising and falling without the metal control rod going up and down along with it.

Because you say mechanical things are not your thing, I will just say there are lots of youtube and manufacturer videos on this - both diagnosis/testing and replacement. If you do not have any DIY experience with minor plumbing, might be an interesting exercise for you to try to replace the inlet valve if that is the problem (parts about $20 or so) and that might lead to a whole Home Improvement (old TV show) type of life But could also be disappointing, and while I am tempted to guide you into the trials and tribulations of home improvmeents and repair, given your statements on your mechanical disinclination this might or might not be more than you want to tackle without going crazy with fear of breakign something or flooding your house. Not at all tough and only special tools you would need would be pliers and either a largish adjustable or monkey wrench or a pair of channel lock pliers, but putting it back together so it does not leak out the tank hole is where I am a bit dubious about this as an introduction to home plumbing repair.

Also - you would have to check first if the shutoff valve at the wall actually shuts basically all the way off - old ones commonly do not shut allthe way down due to old rubber seals, so if that needs replacing NOT something I would recommend to a plumbing novice.

Professionally of course a Plumber for $100-200 typically (more in a very few very high priced urban areas), or Handyman for probably $75-125 range would be the Search the List category to have this repair done by someone. And if the inlet valve assembly is the problem and you go the professional route and can watch as he does it, you might feel up to trying it next time it is needed (typically about 10-20 years life) in one of your toilets - this is basically on a comparable level of difficulty as changing the flapper (just the flapper, not the whole outlet assembly) but a lot easier than changing the outlet / overflow tube assembly, which requires removal of the tank from the toilet.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is Erick in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

You can certainly take into consideration what LCD said above. We'll be happy to help find top rated Plumbers, but it doesn't look like you have a subscription to the List yet. You can join by visiting or by giving us a call. Our call center is available 8:00 am-9:00 pm weekdays and 8:00-5:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

Thanks for your question and we look forward to assisting you!

Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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