Understanding Toilet Tank Floats

Lift the lid on the tank of your toilet, and you’ll find the toilet float. The toilet float is a device that allows water to fill the tank without overflowing. You may have heard it referred to as the ballcock or float valve.

While the design has changed over the years, and a variety of materials have been used in the construction, they all work pretty much the same.

Older tank floats were made of a plastic ball attached to a metal rod. Go back even further in time, and you’ll discover floats made from brass, copper, or even glass. If you have an older home with equally old toilets, you may find a vintage float made from hand blown glass; they can be quite the collector’s item in today’s market.

The original term ballcock was probably derived from its original ball-like appearance. The valve is connected to an incoming water supply. The intake opens and closes by a lever with the float attached to it. As water rises within the tank, the float rises with it. Once it rises to a pre-set level, the mechanism forces the lever to slow the valve, and the water supply is shut down.

If you have flushing issues, it could be a sign of too little water. And too little water leads to clogs.

If you’ve ever heard your toilet continually running, it could be a sign of too much water in the system.

Older toilets will have a large plastic or brass ball connected to a horizontal rod. This rod connects to the toilet fill valve. You can turn the screw to lower the float until the water stops running. Flush to determine where the water stops as it refills. If should stop right below the top of the fill tube for the flush valve. If the water stops running, problem solved.

Newer tank floats move up and down along a vertical pipe. You might find it called a fluidmaster. This fill valve has an adjustment rod on the side of the assembly. By pinching the spring clip, you can adjust the float up or down. Move it down slowly until the water stops running. Flush to see if the tank fills properly. Once filled, does it stop running? Problem solved.

Toilet Repair and Replacement in Atlanta

If not, it might be time to replace your toilet. A professional technician can help you make the determination.

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