DIY Toilet Fill Valve Repair

DIY Toilet Repair
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a very small percentage of sales from products (should you elect to purchase them) at no extra cost to yourself. This helps to provide support in continuing to bring you great content.

In the last couple of years I may have gotten a bit excited and scheduled a few home upgrades - one of which was a bathroom renovation. Initially it was meant to be one toilet we replaced, which then turned into three, but that is a story for another day! One of the toilets we installed was the American Standard dual flush model, which was destined for our powder room. We purchased it from our hardware store and selected the model because it had a narrow floor base, which we required as the water exited from the floor in our house (not the wall), and therefore it would not accommodate a skirted toilet.

Fast forward one year, and the American Standard toilet is already not working. The problem appeared to be something with how the water was being pumped into the toilet. It would refill, but you needed to be prepared to wait 20-30 minutes for it to do so. Not ideal when you have guests over to visit (which of course is when it started to really act up). While this model of toilet is supposed to have a five year warranty, we were not successful in finding a receipt for it so that we could contact American Standard for the support (for which a receipt is required). This requirement of a receipt is true with other companies I've encountered as well, and I always find this an impossible process to abide by, because of course it is so challenging to keep every receipt for every purchase. Surely a product number or model number might indicate approximate age of the toilet? We are not a paperless society yet, people! But I digress...

After a bit of search engine research, and some help from my friends on YouTube and Amazon, I quickly discovered how to fix my toilet and what part (called the "fill valve") that I needed to purchase. The problem with the toilet was that the pumping mechanism seemed to be damaged. I tried a couple of adjustments and cleaned out the filter as recommended by videos online, and unfortunately the fill valve could not be revived. So, a new one was purchased.

Once I had the new fill valve, I again consulted with YouTube and used this video to become familiar with the steps I needed to take to repair the toilet. I commenced by making sure I marked the height of both the fill valve and the overflow tube. The instructions that come with your fill valve will likely direct you to this, but you need to ensure the height of the fill valve is one inch above the overflow tube. 

Once I had all of my tools ready, I then needed to empty the toilet's tank of water. I would recommend that if possible, you have a second person around for this step as well as an empty pail and a small towel. First, you will need to turn off the water and flush the toilet to empty the tank. You will still have some residual water at the bottom of the tank and will need to try to empty the tank of any additional water by sponging it out. Next you will need to disconnect the water source from the bottom of the toilet tank (which will likely drain a little bit still, so have the bucket or towel under it to catch any water). When I disconnected our water tube from the toilet tank, despite having turned the water valve "off", something was not working properly with the shut off, and water continued to come out. This is where the pail and towel will really come in handy! This meant my helper needed to go and turn the water off for the entire house while I monitored the water situation upstairs.

Once the water was fully turned off, I was able to easily unscrew the fill valve and remove it from the tank. The old fill valve will still have some water in it, so you will want to immediately put it in the bucket to avoid having any water leaking from it onto the floor. I inserted the new fill valve and adjusted it to it's proper height based on the marks I had made earlier for appropriate height. Once the fill valve's height was adjusted, I screwed and tightened it into place from the bottom of the toilet where it attaches. 

Finally, I reconnected the water tube and turned the water back on in the house. Voila! The toilet was not only working again, but it was filling faster than it ever had (perhaps it was defective all along?).

Overall, assembling the tools I needed and getting the part selected took longer than the actual installation itself (which took possibly 20 minutes). It was definitely a project any novice could attempt to do, as long as you are aware of how to shut off your water in the situation that complications arise, and ensuring that you have a bucket and towel handy in the event more water comes out than anticipated.

Good luck fixing your toilet's fill valve!