Toilet Fill Valves

Toilet fill valves include but are not limited to “ball cocks”. A ball cock is any valve that is automatically pressured off by a float ball that rises with the water level.

The most common problem you'll find with a fill valve is when it will no longer completely stop the flow of water into the toilet tank. You will know because either

  • the water is always seeping into the overflow tube in the tank
  • the tank is always wet with condensation

Most fill valves are easy to repair in that you can get the proper kit for them and simply follow the instructions there in. The only trick is to identify your toilet fill valve correctly.

Some kits include not only the internal parts, but an entire new top. That can be handy when plastic parts are worn out by movement and pressure.

Also most toilets can take a universal fill valve, so if nothing else you can replace your leaking fill valve. Once again read the enclosed instruction slip.

In the case of a toilet that requires factory proprietary parts, the more you can identify what you have, the more likely you are to get it right. You should find product numbers on tank walls, lids, and the fill valves themselves. Make a note of the manufacturers name, usually found printed in ink under the glaze between the seat bolts.

Another thing that can go wrong with toilet fill valves is stress fractures in the plastic risers or threaded shanks of the lower part. This requires replacement of the entire valve.

A fracture in a shank thread may be a weep that looks like a leaking supply but won't stop when the supply is replaced. It can be a result of winter weather water temperature making the plastic brittle.

When shopping for replacement parts I recommend you go to a supply source that specializes in plumbing. Bring photos of your parts, or better yet the parts themselves. Be careful to not assume that the parts you found in your toilet are the factory correct parts. 

Bring what identifying information you have for the toilet itself. Ask the counter person to show you factory original parts, and aftermarket, so you can compare. There is no fixed rule to follow in most cases.

The rule of using factory rubber, "OEM" parts, applies. Especially with rubber parts for specialty toilets like some low-boys, and one-piece toilets. See The OEM rule of rubber on my page Mechanics rules. The rule for brass is more relaxed, for the most part brass is brass... as long as it's machined right, it'll work.

But rubber must have the performance qualities the manufacturer calls for. When I buy rubber toilet parts I'll only buy aftermarket as a last resort. I buy brand name, especially when it should be easy to get it. By this I mean I expect my supplier to carry the parts from the factory for American Standard, Kohler, Delta, Moen, Grohe, Price Pfister, Vally, Crane, Chicago, Toto, etc. The more various factory parts I can have from a supplier the more I will respect and call on them.

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