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Why Does Your Toilet Not Hold Water in the Bowl?

Why Does Your Toilet Not Hold Water in the Bowl?

The average toilet bowl should be able to hold a certain amount of water. The purpose of keeping around three cups at the bottom of the bowl is to take away any chances of creating an unpleasant smell. However, sometimes the water in the toilet bowl can go down or even completely disappear. This issue can lead to many problems, but what causes it?

Typically, receding water in the toilet bowl can be a result of issues within the fill valve. Alternatively, there could be cracks in the bowl through which water is leaking out. Clogged-up toilets also often face this issue, and in some cases, it could be because something is blocking the vent pipes. 

With some basic checks of the toilet bowl and its plumbing, you can identify what is causing the lowered waterline. This issue is usually fixable, and it is always best to take care of it sooner rather than later. To make things easy, we’ve gone through the trouble of identifying possible causes and how you can fix them. 

Issues With the Fill Valve

The fill valve is a part of the toilet mechanism that controls how much water can enter the tank once it is flushed. Since this is the primary mechanism controlling water levels in the toilet, it is probably the first place to look for any issues. Damaged or misposition valves affect the water supply, so you need to repair the valve.

Depending on the kind of fill valve used in your toilet, there is an easy enough fix for that:

  1. Float-cup: You may see a mechanism on the toilet to increase the water level. This mechanism may be a metal clip or a plastic tool. 
  2. Plunger or Piston: there is a float rod on your toilet. Bend it slightly and gently to increase the amount of water in the bowl.
  3. Plastic Diaphragm: This kind of toilet includes a screw that you can use to adjust the water levels using a screwdriver. 
  4. Internal Float: The mechanism on the top of the valve can be twisted, which allows you to move the part up to raise water levels.
  5. Pressure-Activated: Empty out the tank, and adjust the screw inside in a clockwise direction to increase the water in the bowl.

In other scenarios, the fill valve may have become damaged or rusted. If there is a rust issue, you can clean that out. However, if the fill valve is just too damaged, you will have to replace it with a new valve.

Cracks In The Bowl

One of the other reasons you may encounter issues with water levels is that there are cracks in the toilet bowl. These cracks may not be immediately apparent – if they are small enough, water will slowly leak out and reduce your overall water level. However, if you do happen to have a cracked bowl, a notable piece of evidence would be water pooling around the toilet.

The solution for this issue depends on where the crack is. If the cracks are on the bottom of the bowl, below the expected water level, it may not be possible to repair it. With more use, the cracks are just going to get worse. In that case, the best option would be to replace the bowl altogether. However, if the cracks are where a plumber can salvage them, a sealant can temporarily fix the issue. However, remember this may still become a long-term issue. 

Related: Why Your Toilet Stinks When Flushed: How To Fix It

Clogs In The Toilet

Clogging in the toilet can siphon off water from the base, causing the toilet bowl to have far less water. You can assess a clog by flushing the toilet. It may indicate a clog if there is upwards flow and then slow dipping down. Anything can clog your toilet – toilet paper, tampons, etc. The best course of action is to check the trap now. If found, here’s what to do with a clogged toilet:

  1. Figure out what exactly is causing clogging in the toilet.
  2. If it is something degradable, try flushing it out with a large amount of water.
  3. Another option for you to try is bleach or vinegar or plunge into the toilet.
  4. You may need to use other tools for clogs that refuse to move. 

Issues With Vent Pipes

A vent pipe is a part of the toilet system that helps to remove foul smells from your home. However, the vent pipe has one hidden role – it also controls pressure within the toilet. This fact means that any issues with the vent pipes will indeed impact the levels of water in the bowl.

If there is a blockage within this pipe, you will hear one tell-tale sign. While the lowered water level is one, another is a gurgling sound. This is because some water is also pulled in and out with the air that the vent pipe is taking care of. Some smells may also come up because the seal would have broken or been damaged. 

A common cause for this issue is dirt and debris, but you may find other culprits – leaves, nests, and branches, which can cause disturbances. The objects will clog up the vent pipe, and their ability to control the pressure is affected. The way to fix this is simple – clean out the vent pipes, or purchase a vent pipe cover to avoid a repeat. 

Related: The 12 Best Toilets For Not Clogging

Pipe Leaks And Damage

Leaks in the pipes often happen because of wear and tear. In some cases, the issue may not be your valve and actually be damaged pipes. In this case, you will need to replace the pipes. If they are not too damaged, your plumber could also repair them.

Trip Assembly Issues

A trip assembly is the part of the toilet mechanism that connects the tank to the handle you press on to flush. If the trip assembly is mispositioned, it can cause disruptions to the process of flushing – it may not fill the bowl. You can repair this by opening the tank’s lid and correcting its position. If the issue is that the assembly is damaged, you will need to replace it.


No one wants a toilet with low water in their house. For one, there is no way to protect our noses from the smells that will come out. However, a more significant concern is that this situation may be dangerous to the resident’s health. However, with all of these fixes, you are sure to repair your toilet in no time!