Toilet tank fills only when sink or shower is turned on

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Old 08-11-09, 09:17 PM
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Toilet tank fills only when sink or shower is turned on

Hi. So, can anyone help me? When I flush the toilet, the tank won't fill back up unless I turn on one of the two sinks, or the shower.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 04:46 AM
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Hi fit, has it been this way always or is this a new trick? If new, what have you done recently, like turn of any water shut-off valves? Make sure all valves that are supposed to be on, are and let us know.

Bud
 
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Old 08-12-09, 12:34 PM
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Hi Bud. Thanks for the reply. No, I haven't done anything different recently. All shut off valves are on, and it doesn't matter which of the sinks I turn on, (or if I turn on the shower) to make it fill up the tank with water.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 12:48 PM
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This makes absolutely no sense to me. Opening a sink faucet shouldn't change anything at a toilet. Anyway...

Does it have to be a cold line you open or can it be hot? Does everything else work ok?

And as was asked..has it always done it..or just started? And is it just the faucets in the same bath or anywhere.

Since you haven't touched any cutoffs..now may be the time. Turn off any cutoffs you can find and then open the faucets. Open the cutoffs one at a time till the toilet starts filling. That will at least narrow down what line it is.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 01:24 PM
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When you run the water from another location and it fills the tank, are those locations all single lever faucets? A single lever unit can back pressure the cold line from the hot due to the mixing valve. Just thinking out loud, but I can't picture the rest of the connections to make this a problem.

I assume you have hot and cold at all other locations.

Bud
 
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Old 08-12-09, 01:51 PM
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If you have excessively high water pressure AND small or internally corroded (galvanized steel) water piping the problem could be the excessively high pressure. By opening an additional outlet (with small or congested piping) the pressure is temporarily lowered enough to allow the fill valve to operate.

Do you have a "pressure reducing valve" (PRV) on your incoming water main? Do you know what the water pressure is on your piping system after the PRV if one is fitted? You may purchase a water pressure gauge at the big box megamart homecenter for less than $10.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 02:02 PM
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say what furd?? I have never seen or even heard of that..normally its the other way..high pressure forces past the fill valve.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 02:22 PM
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Usually you are correct but let's not leave any stone unturned. Some float valves use the incoming water pressure to help close the valve and if this is one of those valves excessive pressure could be keeping it from opening.
 
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Old 08-12-09, 02:30 PM
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Ok..thanks for the explanation buddy..just never heard of such a thing.
 
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Old 08-13-09, 12:08 PM
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Thanks, gunguy. I need to do my "homework" and will need some help with the
open the cutoffs" part, so I may not be able to give an update for a day or two. You ask some very good questions. No, I don't think it's been going on for long, but when you think about it, if you wash your hands after going to the bathroom, the tank automatically starts filling, so it could have gone unnoticed for a long time.
 
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Old 08-13-09, 01:45 PM
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First thing I would do would be to disconnect the supply line then using a pot to catch the water turn on the supply valve with everything else off. If you get a nice steady stream from the supply valve then I would suspect the flush valve and replace it. If no water or only a trickle I would suspect a loose washer or trash in the supply valve.

My thought is full pressure on the supply valve pushes loose washer or something else against the outlet. Turning on another valve creates a slight negative pressure that allows water to flow past the obstruction until the water stops flowing and the obstruction falls back,
 
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Old 08-14-09, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input so far. It's taking me awhile to figure everything out, because the terminology you guys use is Greek to me, and I only have people around here to help me once in awhile. I can say that the hot water probably has nothing to do with it, from the "tests" I've done. Also, I can hear a kind of pressure sound until I turn on a nearby faucet. Sometimes I have to turn the faucet on a few timesnto get it going. Sometimes one faucet won't "do it", but then the shower faucet will. Once it didn't fill back up enough and I had to turn on a nearby faucet a few times. Ish.
 
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Old 07-22-10, 06:55 AM
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Toilet tank won't fill: Once a month or so

I just had a repeat problem with my toilet tank not filling. The previous owner (of this mostly summer-vacation house, I have owned the house for about a year) installed a warm water mixing valve on the supply line to prevent-minimize sweating on the tank when its hot and humid.

The first time the tank would not fill, I looked at the fill-float valve etc which seemed to be reasonably new and nothing was visually - obviously wrong. The valve was taken apart and as I recall there is a diaphram inside which looked OK.

Then it sort of struck me that when I disassembled the valve I had not shut off the supply line and I wasn't getting showered.

So, I figured before what ever was not working starting working I went to shut off the under the tank valve, which I discovered had probably last been turned in 1967 when the house was built. So at that point I just left it alone.

Suspecting some crud buildup there, I installed a new valve. As with most old installations, when I went to shut off a well placed valve in the easily accessible basement joist space another old valve failure. That valve just spun in place, so I set about to replace it.

When I installed a new ball valve and examined the old washer type that I removed , I found that the screw was missing as well as the sealing washer. Hummm ??

Anyway, the toilet seemed to work fine but the next episode was the sort-of-slow flowing cold water to the bathroom sink stopped all together.

Realizing the valve screw and washer from the old basement valve had to have gone somewhere downstream, I disassembled the sink faucet and had my wife slowly turn on the main water. With only a minimal amount of flow and probably the world's greatest luck , the valve screw came shooting up into my hand. Problem sloved.

Now back to the toilet. For a couple of months ( one or two weeks, and a few weekends of operation in the vacation house) it worked fine, same old inards in the toilet, new 1/4 turn shut off under neath, new ball type shut off in the basement.

Then, ( the house is rented weekly) last week I get a call from the realty management company saying the toilet won't work.... uuurrrrghhhhh !

Since they couldnt get me immediately, they called a plumber whose bill I have not yet gotten. He replaced the flexible feed line from the 1/4 turn valve to the toilet valve under the tank saying that was the problem ? Anyone every hear of this ?

When I got access to the house the other day, I disassembled the mixing valve to see if it was the culprit. I found nothing in it that would clog it. I am wondering how these work ? Both the hot and cold sides have identical spring loaded valves, the only difference from hot to cold being the hot side is adjustable, which makes sense. It seems that a reasonable amount of water pressure will keep the valves open but too low pressure might shut them both.

There was nothing in the valves but to make sure the cold flowed, I took out its shuttle valve and screwed the hot closed. Seems to work fine.

So, after this ling winded story, I have a couple of questions to help me better understand what is going on here.

1) Why does the mixing valve have both a hot and cold shuttle inside valve housing ? I understand wanting to mix in hot to stop the tank sweating, by why have a valve on the cold side ? Could this have been my problem ? Too low Pressure causing it to shut ? Why wouldn't it open when the pressure came back up ? I know when I had a fill problem before, just turning the main water on and off solved the issue.

2) What about the flexible, braided nylon feed line ? Is there anything to the plumber's comment that caused the problem ? It sounds like only if the hose was totalled kinked it could stop the flow of water to the tank.

3) Where is the washer that came apart when the basement valve failed-corroded ? I found the screw, but where's the washer ?

Thanks for reading this.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 06:48 PM
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Toilet Won't fill

Well, I got an answer. The toilet in question is a summer rental property. Problem happened while there were renters and the rental agency called a 'plumber' (??) 'cause they could not immediately get me. He changed the fill tube. The original fill tube was a fill line which was the type with a 'safety' to prevent over filling of the toilet tank.

So, he fixed the symptom. The next week, new-same problem: the tank valve wouldn't fill then after somebody played with it, then it got stuck open. So, the real problem was not the safety valve, which did exaclty what it is supposed to do, but the the tank valve which I guess just gave up the ghost.

I guess the moral of the story is do not dismiss safety anythings as gimmicky as this plumber did. Look for the root cause and don't just ameliorate the symptom without digging deeper into the real issue.

The new $12 valve cost me over $200. First hack job was $110 for an hour, $10 parts and $25 for the realtor to go unlock the door. The real fix cost $60 for a handyman who was called by a different realtor who had the house listed that next week.
 
 

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