How do I repair that foghorn toilet noise?

July 8, 2014

Ever sound like there's a cruise ship sailing through the bathroom every time you flush? Chances are your toilet is old. There’s nothing pleasant about that foghorn noise, especially at night. The good news? It can be fixed. Here's how.

How do I repair that foghorn toilet noise?

Cabin boy or sea captain?

However skilful a handyman you might be, you can’t become a plumbing specialist overnight. So how do you know if you’re a cabin boy or a captain when it comes to fixing a toilet? If the words “float ball” and “fill valve” mean nothing to you, you're better off calling around to find a plumber!

Valve overboard!

The fill valve in some old toilets can be made of metal.

  • That foghorn toilet noise you get whenever you dare to flush is due to a loose or worn out washer inside the fill valve. That’s right, a simple washer is causing all that racket!

Fixing a foghorn toilet noise in three steps

1. Remove the cover from the tank then flush the toilet.

  • As soon as you hear the foghorn sound, lift the float ball upwards. This should close the fill valve, sometimes also called a float valve.
  • Does the noise stop? If it does, it’s more than likely the washer needs to be replaced.

2. Have a close look at the fill valve.

  • Do you see the three screws on top of it? If you do, it means that the faucet isn’t sealed.
  • You can change the defective washer but be careful! Before you begin, remember to turn off the water and empty the toilet tank.

3. After you have removed all three screws, take the float ball and upper part of the fill valve out of the tank.

  • Can you see the defective washer in the lower part of the faucet? If you can, replace it with a new washer.
  • Then, put the mechanism back in place, turn the water back on, and flush the toilet.
  • Has your foghorn toilet noise silenced itself?

S.O.S. plumber!

If the three screws aren’t visible, it’s because the fill valve is sealed.

  • You will likely have to replace the entire unit, which is also the case if your toilet still makes an awful noise after replacing the washer.

Whatever the reason, if you're concerned that you may lack the tools or know-how to fix this common toilet trouble correctly, consider calling an experienced plumber. You’ll be able to flush without thinking that the ship is going down!

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