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Replacing a Toilet Fill Valve
The fill valve that opens the water supply to refill your toilet tank after each flush gets a lot of wear, and eventually, it will need to be replaced. If the existing fill valve is an older model with a float ball, now is your chance to replace it with a convenient fill valve with its own integrated float cup.
You might also consider using this opportunity to also replace the flush valve assembly. These parts also go bad eventually, and if you want to do a maintenance upgrade, you can buy a kit that includes both the fill valve and flush valve assemblies. Be aware, though, that if you go this route it will require you to remove the entire tank.
Our project, though, will show you how to replace only the fill valve, a relatively easy job that can be done with the toilet tank in place.
Tools and Materials You Will Need
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- Sponge and bucket
- New fill valve
- Channel-type pliers (two pairs)
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Step 1: Turn Off the Water and Empty the Tank
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- Turn off the water to the toilet by turning the shut-off valve to fully to the left until it stops turning. Normally, the fill valve will be located on a water supply pipe coming out of the floor or wall near the bottom left side of the toilet tank, near where the water supply tube connects to the tailpiece on the fill valve.
- Flush the toilet to empty the tank, then remove the cover to the tank and use a sponge to mop up any remaining water in the bottom of the tank. Unless you do this, a small amount of water could spill out when you loosen the fill valve.
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Step 2: Remove the Toilet Fill Valve
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- To remove the toilet fill valve, first disconnect the water supply tube attached to the bottom of the fill valve tailpiece, using channel-type pliers or an adjustable wrench.
- Next, loosen and remove the mounting nut that holds the bottom flange on the fill valve to the bottom surface of the tank. You may need to reach down into the tank from the top and grip the bottom of the fill valve with another set of pliers to keep in from rotating as you loosen the mounting nut.
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Step 3: Prepare the New Fill Valve
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- Slide the rubber washer included with the kit onto the bottom flange on the fill valve stem piece.
- Adjust the height of the fill valve, if necessary. Different fill valves have different methods of doing this, but with most, it's a simple matter of screwing the stem piece shorter or longer so the overall length of the fill valve will fit inside your toilet tank. Ideally, the top of the fill valve should be slightly taller than the top of the overflow tube, but not so tall that it will prevent the tank lid from closing.
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Step 4: Install the New Fill Valve
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- Set the fill valve into the toilet tank, inserting the tailpiece through the opening in the bottom of the tank. Make sure the water outlet nipple is facing the overflow tube.
- Holding the fill valve with one hand, use the other hand to thread the hard metal washer, then the mounting nut, onto the tailpiece. Tighten the mounting nut hand-tight.
- Use channel-type pliers to tighten the mounting nut slightly further.
- Reconnect the water supply tube to the fill valve. Once again, you can hand -tighten first and then use pliers to tighten a little more.
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Step 5: Connect and Make Adjustments to the Fill Valve
- Attach one end of the rubber fill tubing to the nipple on the top of the fill valve, then attach the plastic adapter onto the other end and clip it to the top of the overflow tube. (If necessary, you can clip the tubing to eliminate excess.)
- Turn on the water supply valve and watch as the toilet tank refills with water. Adjust the water level appropriately for your toilet. The tank should fill to a marked water line on the inner walls of the tank
- Inspect the fittings on the bottom of the tailpiece and shut-off valve to make sure there are no leaks. You may need to tighten them slightly more if there is any seepage.