Repairing an American Standard Fill Valve

Standard parts of an American Standard toilet showing fill valve.
Standard parts of an American Standard toilet showing fill valve. | Source

Repairing an American Standard fill valve isn’t difficult, and you can save yourself some cash by doing it yourself. Don't worry,unlike working with electricity, there's no chance of killing yourself when changing a fill valve on a toilet. The worst that can happen is that you'll get a little wet.

ABOUT AMERICAN STANDARD FILL VALVES

For over 130 years, American Standard has manufactured bathroom fixtures and accessories. Their line of toilets includes dual flush, low flush and power flush models. But no matter the toilet model, most American Standard toilets all work in the same manner: flushing the toilet causes the water to run out of the tank and into the bowl, carrying away the waste inside. The tank is then refilled by a device called a fill valve, which is connected to your home’s water supply. Over time, these fill valves can break down.

SHUT OFF THE WATER SUPPLY

As with most plumbing projects, turning off the water is a pretty crucial first step. This prevents you from winding up ankle deep in running water. To turn off the water for a toilet, look for the water supply shut off valve, which will be mounted on the wall behind the toilet. You can also find the water supply shut off valve by following the water supply hose from the bottom of the tank to where it meets the valve. Turn the knob clockwise to shut off the water.

GET RID OF THE WATER

Taking the fill valve out now would only result in water running out of the tank and all over your shoe. Get rid of the water in the toilet by flushing and holding down the handle. This keeps the flapper open and allows all the water inside to run out. Wipe up any remaining water with a sponge and towel.

DISCONNECT THE SUPPLY HOSE

Use a pair of pliers to loosen the plastic coupling attaching the water supply hose to the inlet on the bottom of the tank.

The fill valve is a little easier to remove if you take off the float first. The float is the large, plastic ball connected by a rod to the top of the fill valve. Depending on the American Standard fill valve model, this may be held in place by thumbscrew, or simply snapped into the top of the fill valve.

Once the float is removed, remove the fill valve by loosening the plastic retaining ring holding it in place on the bottom of the tank. The fill valve can then be lifted out of the tank.

REPAIRING THE AMERICAN STANDARD FILL VALVE

This is a bit of a gotcha. The cheapest and easiest way to repair an American Standard fill valve is simply by replacing it. Why? Many of the older fill valves don’t have built in anti-siphon technology built into them. Anti-siphons employ a one way valve that prevents water from the toilet tank being sucked back into the municipal water supply. Repairing an older American Standard fill valve might actually result in your toilet no longer being up to code. So simply replace the entire valve.

Use this chance to update your fill valve to the 21st century. One of the latest innovations in fill valve technology is the integrated fill valve. Instead of a separate float assembly connecting to the top of the valve, the float is a donut shaped air filled ring that surrounds the fill valve. It works much better than the ball float valve type and is much easier to adjust.

Replacing the valve is simple. First, insert the fill valve into the tank so that the threaded inlet sticks out through the bottom of the tank. Hold this in place with one hand. Take the retaining nut in your other hand and thread it onto the portion of the fill valve projecting out from the bottom of the tank. Tighten with the wrench and you’re done.

RECONNECTING THE PLUMBING

Wrap the threads on the fill valve sticking through the bottom of the tank with Teflon plumber’s tape. Pull the tape tight as you wind it around the threads. Trim off the end with the scissors. Screw the plastic coupling from the water supply hose onto the inlet.

Turn on the water and allow the tank to fill. Flush the toilet and check your work. If you notice any water dripping out around the fill valve tighten the retaining nut and coupling.

FINISHING

Once you’re sure that you're finished repairing your American Standard fill valve and everything is working, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Use the money you would have spent on a plumber or repairman on something fun. Or even a new fill valve for another American Standard toilet.

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