Toilet infographic

Have you ever heard a toilet that runs a cycle even when it has not been flushed? The likely culprit is a leaky fill valve and loose flapper that prevents the flapper from closing fully. This wastes water and has the potential to cause localized house flooding. Use this how-to guide to learn how to replace the fill valve and flapper. This is a task that can be completed by one person. It does not require a high level of technical expertise or time.

Toilet infographic

Materials Needed

  • Fill valve
  • Flapper
  • Bucket
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Towel
  • Screwdriver

Step 1. Gather the Equipment

If you prefer, the kit to replace the fill valve can be purchased all at once. Collect either the kit or the materials described above and place them in the bathroom with the broken toilet valve.

Step 2. Drain the Water

It is essential to drain the existing water and turn off any potential water from flowing into the system. To turn off the water, check both below and behind the tank. Empty remaining water from the tank into a bucket or other container. Set up a towel around the bottom of the toilet for the next step.

Sediment can discolor the toilet tank. If you want, this represents a great opportunity to clean the tank completely.

Step 3. Take the Tank Apart

Since the valve and flapper prevent water from prematurely running into the toilet bowl or overflowing, it is important to take the tank apart. The first part to remove is the internal flapper. This should be located right on top of the hole that allows water to drain into the bowl. The rest of the toilet tank should easily come apart with a screwdriver or wrench. The wrench needs to be used to loosen the grip on the underneath part of the toilet.

Step 4. Remove the Fill Valve

Replace toilet fill valve

It is normal for a valve flap to wear out. Once this is unscrewed from the bottom of the toilet, it should be easy to remove. Simply pull up on the valve. There could be a chain that needs disconnected. This chain connects the flapper to the handle arm.

Step 5. Replace the Fill Valve and Flapper

The next step is to replace the fill valve. Take your newly purchased fill valve and enter it into the opening in the tank. Make sure that it is lined up with the supply line beneath the toilet.

You then need to replace the flapper. If the flapper is located next to the flush valve, you hook it onto the existing side hooks next to the overflow pipe. If it is not, there will be ring to secure the flapper onto the overflow pipe.

Replace toilet flapper flush valve

After it has been put in place, make sure to tighten the fill valve and then use the wrench to get it more snug. Done correctly, you should not hear extra water running. Flush the toilet a few times to make sure the system is working properly.

This is a project that one person with minimal technical skill can complete. All toilet valves will eventually run out. Now you know if you hear that noise of constant water running from the toilet that it is probably the fill valve wearing out. This is a cheap fix and should be done at the first sign of a leaky valve. This is because a leaky valve could be wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day.

If you followed the above steps and your issue is still unresolved, check out this feature about troubleshooting a run-on toilet.

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