Do you feel like your toilet tank takes forever to fill? You’re not alone, as many homeowners deal with slow-filling toilets.
But why is the toilet tank filling so slowly? It can be due to clogs in the fill valves or water supply hoses, but other issues include a waterlogged float and low water pressure. The last alternative is the shut-off valve that’s not fully open.
A slow-filling toilet tank is not the worst toilet issue because it doesn’t lead to floods and overflows. However, it wastes your time and signals a bigger problem that may cause the toilet to stop working.
How to Fix a Slow Filling Toilet Tank?
To fix a slow filling toilet tank, you first need to determine the problem. We prepared a list of five causes with practical tips on how to fix them.
Problem 1: Shut-Off Valve Is Not Fully Open
We begin with the simplest problem, AKA a water supply valve that’s not open to the fullest. It happens when you fix something in the bathroom — you close the valve to cut the water supply but forget to twist the knob to the maximum after finishing.
In such circumstances, the shut-off valve allows only a small amount of water to flow into the tank. That’s enough to fill your toilet, but not enough to do it as fast as usual. The good thing is that you can solve the problem easily.
Solution: Open the Valve to the Maximum
To get your toilet tank working to its maximum capacity, open the water supply valve fully. Twist it counterclockwise until you hear a strong water flow — you can do it with your hands. If not, use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the knob.
In case you haven’t used the shut-off valve for years, it may get stuck. You’ll need penetrating oil such as WD-40 to lubricate the metal part. You can spray the valve to loosen it — after that, turning the knob counterclockwise will be effortless.
Problem 2: Waterlogged Float Ball
The float in your slow-filling tank is a simple kit consisting of a ball bearing in an airtight cup. The float arm and its ball regulate the water level in the toilet, determining the maximum amount of water that can flow into the tank.
However, the float cup can sometimes crack and end up waterlogged. In such circumstances, it falls quickly and prevents the toilet from getting enough water in the tank. That can be another reason why your toilet tank is not filling normally.
Solution: Replace the Tank Float
The only solution is to replace a waterlogged tank float, but you can do it in minutes. Open the tank lid with your hands or use a flathead screwdriver — insert the tip of the tool in the thin line dividing the tank from the cover.
You’ll notice the float as soon as you remove the tank top because it’s a large black ball right under the lid. It floats on the water, so you can pinch it and detach it from the tank. After that, you can install a new tank float.
The float has a long arm connecting to the fill valve, which means you can easily snap it onto the valve.
Problem 3: Clogged Water Supply Hose
Most toilets have a water supply hose that transfers water from the main supply line to the toilet tank. The pipe goes from the shut-off valve to the tank, connecting via a plastic or metal nut.
The water that runs through the hosepipe is clean, but this part can still clog after years of processing hard water. How come? The truth is that many neighborhoods have issues with hard water because it’s rich in mineral deposits.
Calcium and magnesium particles build up in the hosepipe, creating folds and partial clogs in the tube. As a result, the water flow is not strong enough to fill the tank as fast as you want it.
Solution: Clean or Replace the Pipe
You can address this issue in two ways — by cleaning the hosepipe or replacing it with a new model. Here’s how to clean the water supply line:
- Use an old toothbrush to scrub and clean the pipe’s entrances
- Pour a small cup of white vinegar into the tube
- Place it horizontally and leave the vinegar there for 15 minutes
- Throw vinegar in the toilet bowl and clean the hose with hot water
This process should be enough to clean hard debris and mineral deposits from the hosepipe.
But you might also choose to replace the old item with a new metal tube. That’s a simple solution to fix a slow-filling toilet tank — purchase a new hose and install it. After that, your tank should fill with water as usual.
Problem 4: Clogged Fill Valve
The fill valve (AKA ballcock assembly) is an internal part of your toilet that controls water filling. It’s usually at the bottom-left side of the tank, where it connects to the supply hose.
But just like the hosepipe, your fill valve can also clog with debris coming from hard water deposits. Instead of allowing water into the tank, the fill valve will form obstacles that slow down the water flow.
Solution: Replace the Valve
You can clean a clogged fill valve, but it’s such a fragile tool that we recommend replacing it. The tank fill valve is very affordable, so it’s easier to buy a new model that guarantees to work.
If you don’t want to do that, you can clean the old item using white vinegar. Here’s how:
- Close the water supply and flush the toilet to empty it
- Open the tank top, and you’ll see the tallest part next to the overflow tube — it is your fill valve
- Detach the fill valve by picking it with your fingers
- Pour some vinegar into the tube and let it work for 15 minutes
- Clean the valve with hot water and reinstall it
- Open the water supply line and flush the toilet to test it
Problem 5: Low Water Pressure in Your Plumbing System
Sometimes the problem is not in your toilet — it fills slowly because of low water pressure in your building or neighborhood. That’s not something you can fix single-handedly, but there is a way to break the barrier.
Solution: Install a Water Pump
Homes struggling with low pressure can install an electric water pump. It’s a practical tool that helps your toilet work efficiently, reducing the tank refill time. It may look like a costly investment, but it pays off in the long run.
The electric pump activates automatically upon flushing, so it solves the problem of slow-filling toilets. The pump guarantees to maximize water pressure and remove hard waste from the toilet bowl.
The only drawback is that toilet pumps need electricity. It’s not a problem for most homes, but some neighborhoods struggle with power outages — they are not ideal for electric water pumps.
The Bottom Line
If you want to fix a slow filling toilet tank, start by identifying the problem. It can be anything from a shut-off valve to a toilet fill valve to a clogged hosepipe. Other issues include a waterlogged tank float and low water pressure.
Solving each of these problems is easy — you’ll often need only 15 minutes and a new part to get the tank water filling properly again. Are you ready to give it a shot?
How long does it take for the toilet tank to fill?
It usually takes less than a minute for a tank to fill. If your toilet is working well, it will require around 45 seconds to fill between flushes. If it’s malfunctioning, the toilet will probably take at least 90 seconds to fill.
How do I fix a slow-filling toilet tank?
You start fixing a slow-filling toilet tank by identifying the problem. After that, you can replace the broken part. For instance, it can be a clogged fill valve or metal hose.
Sometimes the water pressure is low, so you’ll need to install a water pump. Another option is to replace a waterlogged float ball in the tank, while you may also need to open the water supply valve to the maximum.