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Toilet may need a tune-up

QuestionOver the last year, one of the toilets in my home has made a whistling sound as it closes off the water flow into the tank. The inflow is fully open and I have used a calcium remover in the stem and closing valve. During the 20 years this American Standard toilet has been in the house, I have replaced the float ball assembly and overflow pipe because of running water and leaks. Any suggestions?

AnswerThank you for your detailed information as it helps me to address your question. When you checked the water inlet valve, did you also remove and check the water line from the water valve and at the entry to the ballcock (the fill valve), that you refer to as the float ball assembly? Scale, mineral buildup, or other foreign material in those areas would restrict the water as it leaves the valve or enters the ballcock, the upright piece in the back left-hand corner of the tank.

The water supply connects to the bottom of the ballcock from the underside of the tank. At the top, the brass float rod is attached to a short pivot arm that, in turn, is attached to the bonnet (diaphragm or ballcock cover) by a pivot pin.

The ballcock controls the amount of water that enters the tank and bending the float rod increases or decreases water flow. Bending it up increases water level while bending it down causes the ball to reach the cutoff point earlier with less water. It's also possible that adjusting (up or down) the screw (if there is one) in the short pivot arm center of the ballcock will also change water level.

First remove the tank's cover and check the ballcock. You changed it out, but I'm not sure if you put back the original equipment. If your ballcock is gray and has no screws at the top, then you put back an American Standard product. However, if you find a white fill valve and three or four brass screws, then you have another brand of ballcock. Three screws suggest it's a B1B by Coast Foundry, and four screws suggest it's a HOOV-R-LINE brand. It is also possible that you have an all-brass or a brass with plastic ballcock cover unit.

Generally speaking, if you hear chattering, whistling, vibration, or other toilet noises, especially when a ballcock has been in a tank more than 10 years, most likely the ballcock is worn out or it's time for a tune-up (rebuild).

Home centers sell toilet water control valve repair kits with all the parts needed to overhaul the unit for less than $3, and that's a good starting point.

Begin by turning off the water, draining the tank, and removing the float rod. Removing the bonnet or diaphragm cover will depend on the brand and model number. On American Standard's earlier brass/plastic models, remove the pivot pin from the short pivot arm and take out the arm for access to the plastic plunger cap. Remove the cap using a 9/16-inch socket.

On an American Standard gray plastic unit, pull up (vertically) on the keeper found on the side of the diaphragm cover. This unlocks the cover so you can twist it one-quarter turn, which will allow the cover to be removed. For all other models, simply remove the screws at the top in order to remove the cover. Under the bonnet or diaphragm cover you will find the part that will need replacing.

This is a simple project and should take about 30 minutes once you have the parts. After reassembling the parts, you'll need to do some fine-tuning. Adjust the water level in the tank to its proper height using the water height line on the inside of the tank or on the overflow tube as a guide.

If this tune-up doesn't solve the problem, it's time to replace the ballcock; a new one costs less than $7.

Copyright © 2005, 2006, & 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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C.R.S., Inc. · Spokane, Washington · USA

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