The highs and lows of your toilet fill valve
Your toilet fill valve is a key part of your loo. As you might expect, it’s also one of the parts that can go wrong over time. Let’s take a look at what a toilet fill valve does, the different types, how it can help you save water and problems that can occur with them.
How does a toilet fill valve work?
There are different kinds of toilet fill valves, but they all do the same job: refilling your cistern so it’s ready for the next flush (link to toilet flush), then shutting off the flow of incoming water.
There are two ways a toilet valve can shut off: using an upturned or float cup and a ball valve. The cup is a floating plastic cylinder that moves up and down around the fill valve shaft, depending on the water level. There’s also a version that has a small upturned cup on an adjustable screw arm to lift and shut off the water. A low water level triggers water to flow into the cistern, with it cutting off the flow when the set water level is reached. A ball valve works in a similar way, but is spherical and separate from the fill valve shaft, connecting with a rod. Ball valves tend to take a little longer to fill up than the modern fill valves as they ‘slow’ as the level gets higher, whereas modern valves go at full water flow all the way to the level and then shut off quickly.
The other way a toilet fill valve can vary is where water enters the cistern. This can be from the bottom or the side. Clearly, if you’re replacing your toilet fill valve, this will impact which unit you can choose. Viva Sanitary make a version that can do both in one unit, so it’s a win win!
In either case, you can adjust the valve so that it cuts off the incoming water at different heights. You can lower the water level that triggers the cut-off and save on your water bill – result!
The shank of a toilet fill valve can be made of plastic or brass. Personally, I prefer a brass shank, as the plastic ones can cross-thread on pipe fittings.
Problems with toilet fill valves
Unfortunately, if things go wrong with your toilet fill valve and the water doesn’t shut off as it should, you can be facing a flood (especially if there’s no toilet overflow…which can be annoyingly common!), so it’s worth keeping an ear out for any changes in the time your cistern takes to refill or make unusual noises. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, give your local plumber a call or if you’re a confident DIYer, check it out yourself using the below videos as reference.
The main problems to look for include the ball filling with water, the incoming jet or nozzle becoming blocked by debris and scale, or the rubber washer getting hard and perishing over time.
Plumberparts introduce Viva Sanitary
Viva are one of the market leaders for toilet spares, connectors and wastes.
The company formed in 2008, driven by two plumbers with a desire to solve everyday problems in the sanitary fittings market, with one common goal in mind “Making the installers life easier.” We have used the economic uncertainty to our advantage, bringing new ways of thinking, to a very traditional market. However, none of this would be possible without our customers, and we strive to make sure all our clients feel part of the Viva team and look to help them wherever possible.
We have several core product ranges, each category manufactured in accordance with international standards. We ensure quality runs throughout the whole business and in everything we do. We monitor all our processes in accordance with ISO-9001, which is externally audited annually. As a business we are committed to continuous improvement.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SERVICE
As well as investing in products and innovation, we are always looking to improve our service to customers. We invest heavily in inventory, to ensure products can be delivered to the right people when they are needed. Key to our business is always looking at new ways to serve our customers, including technologies, IT, people, delivery and customer care.
Driven by our goal, our R&D team focuses on improving existing products, taking concepts available on the market today and improving their functionality and design to give the end user greater flexibility and choice. Examples of our commitment to innovation include the patented Skylo DUAL ENTRY, Skylo UNI-BUTTON, Skylo Height Adjustable Syphon and our unique Smart-Flo design for our SLINKY-FIT WC Connectors.