How to Repair a Noisy Toilet

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When your toilet's refill valve, sometimes known as a ballcock, is not working properly, you can find yourself dealing with a noisy toilet. Though the sound may be annoying, a faulty refill valve can cost you money. The valve regulates water flow and levels in your toilet's tank, and a damaged refill valve could be wasting water and raising the cost of your water and sewer bills. A replacement refill valve kit can be purchased at your local hardware store and most do-it-yourselfers can install the new unit without hiring a professional plumber.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement refill valve kit
  • Adjustable wrench (either a 10- or 12-inch)
  • Hacksaw (if needed)
  • Sponge
  • Toilet supply line (if needed)
  • Tape measure

Turn off the water to your toilet at the main water valve near the floor or at the rear of your tank, depending on the model and hook-ups. Flush as much water as you can get out of the toilet. Some will still remain, so you will need to sponge out the remaining water.

Loosen the nut underneath the tank at the supply line, either by hand or by using your adjustable wrench. If you cannot get the nuts to turn, you will need to cut them off with a hacksaw. Do not use a hammer, as it could damage the porcelain of the tank. If you must cut the nut, you will also need to replace the supply line.

Unscrew the nut holding the refill valve in the tank. Hold the valve as you unscrew it and remove the flush valve chain, then pull it from the tank.

Adjust the replacement refill valve to fit your tank, as it may be adjustable for various tank sizes. Measure the height of the overflow pipe and set the Critical Level (C.L.) ring to 1 inch higher than the overflow pipe.

Separate the shank washer from the cone washer and push it onto the threaded end of the valve.

Place the new refill valve in the tank, ensuring it the float cup does not touch the tank walls. Push firmly on the shank, not the top of the valve, to secure it while you tighten the nut at the bottom of the valve that comes through the tank. Once the nut is tight enough to support the valve, use the wrench to finish tightening it. Do not tighten too much or you could crack the tank.

Reattach the supply line or replace it with a new one if the original became damaged in removing the refill valve.

Attach the refill tube to the angle adaptor, which will have an L shape and a clip, likely metal, that is provided with your valve. Connect the other end of the tube to the nipple at the top of the valve just below the cap. Then, clip the angle adapter to the top edge of the overflow pipe. You may need to cut the tube to make sure it does not go inside the overflow pipe or it could create a continuous siphoning of water out of the tank.

Attach the flush valve chain to the trip handle on the refill valve. Make sure the chain has enough slack that the valve will close but not so much that it cannot be opened by flushing.

Clear the line by unscrewing the cap. This will require lifting the arm and turning the top slightly clockwise. Hold a cup over the top as you turn on the water supply and turn it off again, removing any silt or sand that may be in the line or in the valve.

Put the cap back on completely before turning the water back on.

Adjust the water level by determining the setting for the float cup. The water level must be at least 1/2-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. To set the float cup, squeeze the clip on a slender rod attached to the side of the valve and slide it up the rod to raise the water level. Doing the same and sliding down will lower it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all refill valves will use these same steps, as this has been written for the most common type of valve, the Fluidmaster 400A, which works in most toilets.

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