What do toilet float valves do?

October 28, 2014

Float valves for water tanks play a vital role in preventing overflow of water in tanks and other storage structures. In homes, float valves regulate water flow in the toilet. Find out more about what they do and how you can maintain them.

What do toilet float valves do?

What does a float valve do?

The float valve has one major function and that is to stop the flow of water from an inlet supply line.

  • The float valve rises as the water level rises.
  • Once a specified water level is reached, this will cause the one-way valve to be activated and shut off the water entry.

In the home, the float valve is commonly used in the toilet tank.

  • All toilet float valves have three distinct parts: the valve, a stem and a float device.
  • The valve is attached to the float device by the stem and this will regulate the opening and closing of the one-way valve.

How does a float valve work?

When the water level in the tank drops, the float valve inside the water tank also drops at the same time.

  • This then opens the valve, and water starts to fill the tank.
  • As the water starts to rise, so does the float device.
  • As the water levels reaches a certain height, the valve shuts off and the water stops filing the tank.

Float valves are a simple innovation, but function very efficiently and are durable.

  • Over the years, the design of float valves has been altered, but the function remains the same.

When is it time to replace the float valve?

While the float valve does work well, there are times when it starts to malfunction. When malfunction occurs, the water in the tank will overflow.

  • The first sign of a dysfunctional float valve is continuous water flowing into the toilet.
  • When this occurs, the float valve will not rise as the water level rises and consequently, the one way valve does not shut off, leading to overflow of water.

Float valves come in many shapes and size.

When a float well is damaged, one may attempt to adjust the different parts to restore the function.

  • Sometimes just twisting or tightening the stem may do the trick. Sometimes the connection to the stem may have loosened, or the chain may be broken or twisted.
  • If any part of the float valve is broken, one may need to replace the entire float valve.

Replacing a broken float valve

Today, most toilets have a pre-customized float valve, and one should buy a similar valve.

  • The right valve should be bought because any other size may lead to leakage of water.
  • When buying a float valve, it is important to select one that is durable. The home toilet is frequently in use and a superior quality float valve is better in the long run.

For large tanks, the ability of float valves to turn off water is not always possible because the water pressure in large tanks can easily override the one-way valve.

  • Most float valves function for seven to 10 years.

Float valves for your water tank can be bought from any hardware store and are relatively cheap. Most come with instructions on installation. They can be installed by the homeowner, but if not sure, a plumber should be consulted.

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