Cowes Plumbing


The Isle of Wight Plumbing Guide to Fixing a running toilet

running toiletThere are a number of different flushing mechanisms that might be in your toilet tank, but they all work the same way. When you push the flush handle, it pulls up a flush valve, also called a flapper, and allows water to rush into the bowl.
When you release the handle, the flush valve closes. Water comes in
through the refill valve, filling the tank while a refill tube pours water into the bowl through an overflow tube. As the water flows into the tank, it raises a float of some kind. In the two most common configurations, the float either travels up the valve body, or the float is a ball on an arm. In any case, when the float reaches a certain level, it causes a lever to shut off the fill valve.
If the toilet is running continuously, it is usually because water is
pouring into the overflow tube because the float is set too high. See
“Adjusting the Float”. If the water is trickling into the bowl,
perhaps causing the toilet to flush on its own, it’s likely because the flush valve isn’t sealing. See “Cleaning or Replacing the Flush Valve” .
Sometimes the problem is that the entire fill valve and float mechanism is encrusted with minerals that are preventing parts from moving. It’s cheap and easy to replace the whole thing, as described in “Replacing the Fill Valve and Float”.


Adjusting the float with Isle of Wight Plumbing

The ball float shown has two adjustments. For large adjustments, you can loosen a plastic wing nut to adjust the angle of the ball arm. Most likely turning the screw at top counterclockwise will be enough. Some older balls don’t have adjustment screws. These have metal arms that you can bend down to adjust the ball.


If you have a float that travels up the valve body, the float is likely secured to a metal rod that’s connected to the refll valve lever. Squeeze the clip and move the float down 1 in. When the tank flls, the water level should be about 1 in. from the top of the refll tube. If it’s not, repeat the procedure, adjusting the float until you get it right. Newer mechanisms often have a knurled knob on top or a different type of clip for adjusting the float height.

Cleaning or replacing the flush valve


Turn off the water supply to the toilet, and flush to empty the tank.
Pull the flush valve off the pegs on the overflow pipe. Instead of
attaching to pegs, some flush valves have a collar that fts over
the pipe.
Try using a sponge to clean the flapper and its seat. If the valve
still leaks, disconnect its chain or strap from the flush handle
and replace the valve. If your overflow pipe has pegs, use scissors to remove the collar from the new flush valve. Put it in place and attach the chain or strap to the handle.

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