While the ballcock fill valve is quite ingenious in its simplicity, a tower fill valve is easier to adjust and takes up much less room inside the toilet tank. When your old ballcock valve eventually fails, it may be time to enter the 21st century and replace it with a tower valve.
How do the Different Types of Fill Valves Work?
Fill valves allow water into the toilet tank when it empties, then shut off the water supply when the water level inside the tank reaches the fill line. A ballcock valve has a hollow rubber ball connected by a metal rod to the fill valve. When the water level falls, the ball drops and opens the valve to allow water to enter. The ball rises on top of the water and shuts off the valve as the water level reaches the desired point.
A tower valve has a float inside the body of the tower, which rises and falls with the water level to open and shut the fill valve. You can adjust the tank's water level by simply twisting the body of a tower valve in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Ballcock controlled valves have a set screw that can be tightened or loosened to adjust the water level, but adjustment can be trickier than in tower fill valves.
Replacing Your Fill Valve: Removing the Ballcock Valve
In order to change your fill valve, you'll need an adjustable wrench and a roll of Teflon tape. Begin by turning off the supply valve to the toilet. You will then flush the toilet repeatedly until the tank is nearly empty, then absorb the rest of the water in the tank with rags, a sponge, or paper towels.
When the tank is dry, loosen the supply hose from the bottom of the old fill valve, which extends from the bottom of the toilet, then remove the plastic nut which holds the valve in place inside the tank.
You can then lift the valve, along with ballcock connection and the small rubber hose that attaches to the top of the overflow tube in the center of the tank, and remove them from the tank.
Replacing Your Fill Valve: Installing the Tower Fill Valve
Wrap a few layers of Teflon tape in a clockwise direction around the smaller threaded connection at the bottom of the fill valve. Next, insert the bottom of the tower fill valve through the opening in the bottom of the tank that was vacated by the old fill valve, then hand-tighten the plastic nut onto the larger threaded connection at the bottom of the fill valve. Hand-tighten only to avoid damaging the toilet.
Use your wrench to connect the supply hose to the smaller threaded connection (with the Teflon tape attached). You will then adjust the fill valve by twisting the top portion of the valve until the top of the valve is one inch below the top of the overflow tube. Attach the provided small black hose from the hose connection on the valve to the top of the overflow tube.
You can then turn on the supply valve, and check the water level when the valve shuts off to see if any further adjustment is needed. Contact a plumbing repairs company for more information and assistance.