Do you ever wonder how, with every flush, the exact quantity of water is released to get the work done?
Well, the answer is that a synchronized system of parts, including a toilet fill valve inside the tank, works together to make it happen.
In a standard flush toilet, the various toilet fill valve types play an integral part in the toilet to ensure the toilet tank is always filled to the right amount.
Naturally, these toilet fill valves come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made of different materials. Toilet fill valves, also called toilet float valve or ballcock, vary depending on the latest plumbing code and how new the toilet model is.
Types of Fill Valve — an Overview
In general, five main types of toilet fill valves are regularly used in households, depending on the model of the toilet. Plastic, stainless steel, and brass are the common materials used to make these ballcocks.
- Plunger/piston type
- Float cup type fill valve
- Diaphragm type fill valve with plastic body
- Float-less type fill valve
- Diaphragm type fill valve with brass body
What Is a Toilet Fill Valve and How Does It Work?
Maintenance of a toilet is an essential part of a good bathroom. The fill valve is responsible for controlling the water flow into the holding tank, opening the water flow when the flushing cycle empties the tank, and closing the water flow once the tank has been filled to the appropriate level.
Hence, they are connected to the float system and are positioned inside the holding tank of the toilet.
As with any equipment or device, wear and tear are inevitable. Toilet flush valve replacement can prevent inconveniences such as leakage or improper flushing. However, before you can fix the issue, it is imperative to understand the root of the cause.
The Various Toilet Fill Valve Types
Each toilet fill valve has its own unique characteristics, despite having the same functionality and purpose. The pros and cons of each type differentiate them from each other and make one better than the others. The best toilet fill valve, in terms of affordability and with the latest technology, is the float cup fill valve type.
The Plunger/Piston Type
This type of fill valve is one of the first valves and was used back in the day for old-fashioned toilets. Plunger valves operate by using a floating ball coupled to a pivoting lever to open or close a plunger stem placed against an inlet port.
The adjustment of the lever is easy due to the hinged lever construction on top of the ballcock. With this type of valve, the water fills from the bottom of the discharge tube, which is characteristic of this fill valve.
Its soundless operation can be credited to the durable cast brass body. However, due to its intricate positioning inside the tank, it is hard to adjust, hence not so beginner friendly.
Diaphragm Type Fill Valve with Plastic Body
Very similar to the plunger type fill valve, but a rather newer and improved version of that is the diaphragm type fill valve.
The use of plastic to construct toilet fill valves has made these parts more affordable and even easier to handle and install. Most toilets nowadays use this type.
The mechanism remains similar, where a floating ball of plastic is used, and a diaphragm seal controls the entry and exit of water into the tank.
What makes this type different and better is its anti-siphon technology that prevents the backflow of contaminated water into the potable fresh water supply. Hence, this ensures that the water pressure does not drop within the tank.
A common complaint about these plastic toilet fill valves is that they are more prone to cracks and breakage if they aren’t handled properly.
Also, exposure to harsh chemicals may damage the plastic. On the bright side, its light weight makes installation a piece of cake!
Diaphragm Type Fill Valve with Brass Body
The diaphragm fill valve with the brass body is the older type of diaphragm fill valve. Even though it is not used as much anymore, these can still be seen in older houses. Due to being constructed of brass, they provide better longevity. The actuator on the valve is made of plastic.
Float Cup Type Fill Valve
The best toilet fill valve available, in terms of both affordability and user experience, is known as the float cup fill valve. As the name suggests, a float cup is the base of this mechanism.
The float cup is responsible for regulating the water level in the tank as it stands on the water.
Its mechanism is quite simple and applies the simple rules of buoyancy where the water level is below the mark; the cup drops to let the water enter. When the water level is at its predetermined level, the cup rises with it.
A metal spring connects the float cup to the metal actuating shaft.
This style of fill valve is often the choice when the older styles are being replaced. Its easy-to-adjust shafts and simple maintenance make it a crowd favorite.
Float-Less Type Fill Valve
Out of the current styles of toilet flush valves, the float-less fill valve is a rather newer innovation with its anti-siphon characteristics. Unlike the other valves, it does not have a floating device for water level regulation. Its unique mechanism involves a pressure-sensitive diaphragm.
They are usually positioned at the bottom of the tank and are made of plastic. Its drawback is that it has higher chances of clogging; hence it has comparatively bad reviews.
What’s the Right Time to Replace the Toilet Fill Valve?
Your toilet valve itself will give you indications regarding the time of replacement. For example, the flush will not be proper; the flushing sound may be abnormal, etc. A leak can also be a telltale sign of a faulty toilet fill valve. The average lifespan can be up to 5 years.
What’s the best types of toilet flushing systems?
In general, there are 14 different types of toilet flushing systems available in the market. Each types creates value with it’s unique features. You may check my in-depth writing on toilet flushing types with pros and cons HERE!
Choosing the Toilet Fill Valve That Is Perfect for Your Tank
Now that we have learned everything about toilet fill valves choosing the perfect valve is easier than ever. Some points to keep in mind when buying one for the replacement of your toilet fill valve:
Finally, choosing from the numerous toilet fill valve types may seem daunting, but it is actually quite simple if you understand the characteristics of the individual types.
In order to resolve any problems associated with using the toilet, it’s crucial to understand how each kind operates.
According to your model of toilet, you can use the one that fits your toilet tank the best!