This is a complaint that comes up regularly. The toilet makes a loud noise during the fill cycle after flushing. Sometimes the noise is only a few seconds and sometimes like a toilet I repaired today, the noise goes on for the entire fill. What causes this noise and how to fix it? Continue…
…to view the culpret as pictured above. The complaint was some noise when filling. In reality the noise was very loud and something I call trumpeting. The rease for the name is that inside the valve is a small piece of nylon that the water flows through that is shapes exactly like the working end of a trumpet. And not coincidentally it acts the same way and magnifies noise.
Under normal circumstances there will be no noise as the valve is designed to allow water to flow through the valve quickly and smoothly in order to fill the cistern. After years however several things can cause the valve to fail in variouos ways. The buildup of hard water scale, sometimes a bit of grit gets through the system and as these valves only cost a few quid they are not exactly built to take a lot of punishment forever. The rubber washers, ‘o’ rings and nylon parts that rub together start to get scratched and also harden over time causing slightly loose fitting parts which then cause several problems.
The final result could be the valve gets stuck closed and the tank doesn’t fill or fills slow, noises during tank filling from minor to major and leaks causing a constant dripping in the tank which then causes leaks through the overfow.
A quick solution can be to take the valve apart and cleanup all of the seperate pieces and then reassemble using plumbers silicone which does not contain and petroleum additives. This solution usually doesn’t last a long time but will get you through a visit by your inlaws or a holiday event when everyone is visiting your home.
The long term fix is to replace the unit with either a direct replacement or an after market unit designed to fit most cisterns.
A few tips before you start:
Preperation: Always isolate the water supply before you start. Their should be an isolation valve nearby the toilet. If you can’t find one you will have to isolate the entire house using the main stop tap. Always isolate before you unhook the valve or beofre you attempt to disassemble any part of the valve – the valve will fly apart if you don’t turn the water off. Once the water is shut off open up a cold water tap at the lowest sink or outside tap in the house. This will hopefully allow allow any water sitting in the pipework hooked up to the toilet to flow our making a neater job. Just in case, make sure you have the following items before unhookng the old valve: several absorbant rags, a sponge, two large plastic bin liners with no holes in them and a small pan to catch and leftover water.
Disassembly: If you are going to disassemble the valve only then you need only flush the toilet before you start to lower the water level before you start. Lay out one of the rags you have with you to put all of the parts on. I always try to lay out the parts in the order I remove them. If you are at all nervous use your digital camera or phone to take pictures of every step. Once you have the valve apart clean up the parts using your other rag one at a time and give each part a little coating with the plumbers silcone. Reassemble the valve in reverse order and get ready to turn the water back on.
If you are removing the entire valve in order to replace, place one of your plastic bags on the floor and cover with rags to keep and water that trickles out of the tank from getting on the floor. Open up the other plastic bag and use it as a container to catch any water that trickles out of the flexi connector pipe work once you start to loosen the nut connecting it to the toilet valve. And finally, use the sponge and the small pan to get the last of the water drained out of the cistern. Once the water is removed and the pipework in disconnected it is time to remove the old valve. Usually accomplished by loosening the plastic nut underneath the cistern.
Replace the valve assembly with the new one and reconnect the pipework following the instructions that came with the valve. Each system is slightly different so read carefully. Here in the UK certain valves come with high and low pressure inserts which must be placed inside the valve before it is installed. Also, if you are connecting a metal fitting such as a flexble connector to a nylon thread such as most cistern valves be careful not to cross thread and wreck the valve. It’s too easy to do and then you’re off to buy another.
Leak testing: The most crucial part of any plumbing job is turning the water back on. I still get nervous myself. Double check your work before you turn the water back on. Check every connection again and if satisfied that everything is tight and not cross threaded close the sink tap you opened earlier. Slowly turn on the water and check your new connections for leaks. If you have no pipe work leaks then allow the cistern to fill up and check that you have no leaks around the tank. If there are no leaks there then it’s time to flush and see if eveything is set up and working correctly.