Replacing A Toilet Fill Valve: Our Quick & Easy Tutorial

Updated by Lynda Stevens

The toilet tank seems to magically refill when you flush the toilet. That’s the toilet fill valve doing its job. In an average home, the toilet flushes dozens of times each day. After each flush, the toilet fill valve opens the water supply to refill the tank. Over time, this vital component of the toilet set up will succumb to the effects of wear and tear. A worn out toilet fill valve can cause all kind of problems in your bathroom.

The fill valve is the component of the toilet that’s responsible for refilling the tank after every flush. If your toilet doesn’t flush or it flushes but not completely, a faulty toilet fill valve is most likely the culprit and needs to be replaced. Sometimes a faulty toilet fill valve can cause your toilet tank to overfill and flood your bathroom. Luckily, replacing a toilet fill valve is a pretty simple task that can be completed with the toilet tank in place. This article outlines the process of replacing a faulty toilet fill valve, step by step.[1]

But first…

How do you know if your toilet valve needs to be replaced? The average lifespan of a toilet fill valve is five years. Therefore, make sure that you replace your toilet fill valve at least once every five years to avoid embarrassing experiences in your bathroom. There are several signs that indicate the need to replace a toilet fill valve. These are:

  • A toilet that makes loud, screeching noises.
  • The toilet tank taking forever to refill.
  • Toilet won’t flush at all or doesn’t flush completely.
  • The water runs and overfills your toilet tank.

Using the toilet and then realizing that it doesn’t flush right is one of the most embarrassing experiences especially for guests in your home. Replace the toilet fill valve as soon as you notice any of these signs to avoid unpleasant situations. Follow these simple steps to replace a faulty toilet fill valve in your home.

Get a New Toilet Valve

Fluidmaster PerforMax Toilet Valve

Visit your local hardware store to purchase a replacement toilet valve. Buying a new toilet valve is pretty straightforward and you don’t need prior knowledge or experience. That’s because most toilet valves are universal; they will easily fit into most toilets. While at it, grab the right repair kits to ensure that you have everything you need to complete the job.

Cut Off the Water Supply

Before you start working, cut off the water supply. You can do that by turning the shut-off valve to the left until it fully stops. Flush the toilet to drain the tank. Some water will remain below the drain valve and will start leaking once you loosen the old fill valve. To avoid causing a mess, place a low pan and towel under the opening to catch the water that drains out.

Remove the Old Fill Valve

Man's hand touching toilet fill valve

To detach the old fill valve, use an adjustable wrench or channel-type pliers to disconnect the fill hose linked to the base of the valve’s tailpiece. Loosen the fill valve from the other side of the tank to remove it. Remove the fill valve by loosening and removing the mounting nut joining its bottom flange to the floor of the tank. Use adjustable pliers to do that.

Reach the base of the valve and pull up the lock ring and slowly pull the valve off its base. Water will start to flow out as soon as you remove the fill valve. Put an empty container underneath the hole connecting the water hose to the fill valve. Remove any debris from the tank once it’s completely empty and drain out the container before placing the new valve.

Prep the New Fill Valve

Toilet sizes vary so adjust the new fill valve to the appropriate size for your toilet before installing it. Attune the fill valve’s height by bolting the stem piece taller or shorter to ensure that it fits inside your toilet tank. Some valves may have a different method of doing this, read the instructions provided in the kit.

When adjusting the height of the new toilet valve, you are looking to keep the topmost part of the valve a little bit higher than the top of the run-off tube. Don’t make it too long though; it will keep the lid of the toilet tank from shutting properly. You are now ready to install the replacement fill valve.

Installing the New Fill Valve

Man replacing fill valve

Set the new valve into the toilet tank and insert the threaded end of the valve into the hole where the old fill valve was located. Ensure that the water outlet faces the overflow tube as you do that. Use one hand to thread the hard metal washer and the mounting nut while holding the fill valve with the other hand. Tighten the nut with adjustable pliers to secure the valve.

Make sure that the nut is as tight as possible. Be sure not to tighten the nut too much whenever you are dealing with ceramic to avoid cracking the ceramic part. Once you are done, reattach the water supply tube to the new fill valve. Tighten using your hands and then use channel-type pliers to make it as tight as possible.

Reconnect the Water Supply and Turn on Water

Once you have successfully installed the new toilet fill valve, it’s time to get the water flowing again. Reattach the water supply line to the same position it was before you disconnected it. Make sure that there is water inside the end of the supply hose before you attach it. Turn the shut-off valve counter-clockwise until it stops rotating to turn on the water supply.

Water should immediately start flowing into the toilet tank. Watch as your toilet fills with water and adjust water levels appropriately. On the inner walls of the toilet tank, there is a marked water line that lets you know when the tank is full. When the toilet is flushed, the water should stop at the right level without any leakage or running at the bottom of the tank. Immediately turn the water off at the shut-off valve if you see any leaks.

For more tips on products you need to repair your toilet, you can visit this page.

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