Why Is Your Toilet Water Level So Low?

Posted on: 15 December 2016

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When the water level in your toilet is too low, you may have problems with waste flushing down completely. If you've noticed that the water level has recently fallen, there are a few possible explanations. The bowl or tank at the back of the toilet could be leaking, the float arm in the tank might be too long, or you might have a partial clog. Here's how to identify and remedy each one of these problems.

Leaking Tank or Bowl

This is the first problem you want to rule out since the only way to really remedy it is to install a new toilet. Look around the toilet for any signs of moisture. Keep in mind that even if you don't see pooling water, a leak located at the bottom of the tank or bowl could be dripping slowly enough to moisten the floor and seep into the materials below without creating an actual puddle. Flush the toilet, and then watch and observe for 10 minutes or so. If you see any water dripping or the floor starts getting wet, you have a leak. Call your plumber to install a new toilet.

A Long Float Arm

In the tank at the back of your toilet, you should see a long piece of plastic connected to a floating rubber or plastic ball. This arm is known as the float arm. It controls the valve that allows water to flow into the toilet ball. When the float reaches a certain height, it closes the valve so that no more water enters the bowl. If the float arm is too long, it will close the valve prematurely, causing the water level in the bowl to be too low. Luckily, shortening the float arm is easy. There should be a ball at the fixed end of the arm. If you screw this ball clockwise, the arm will shorten. Start with two or three turns clockwise, and then flush the toilet. If the water level is still too low, turn the ball a few more times.

A Partial Clog

If adjusting the float arm does not seem to help, you might have a partial clog in the toilet drain. The clog would initially keep water from going down the drain, keeping the water level high. Then as the toilet sits, water slowly drains past the clog, lowering the water level.

Try plunging the toilet. If this does not work, you may try using a pipe snake to reach into the toilet drain and draw out the clogging material. However, keep in mind that many clogs that cannot be cleared with a plunger are located further down the line and are best cleared by a plumber.