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How to Replace
a Refill Valve

Illustration showing water supply connections to bottom of toilet refill valve
Closeup of Genova Products, Inc. plastic supply connection to toilet refill valve
Genova Products, Inc.

The hardest part of replacing a refill valve is removing the old one. The valve is held in the toilet tank by a large nut on the underside of the tank. The large nut closest to the tank is holding the valve upright in the tank, the second nut just below connects the valve to the water supply pipe.

You first must SHUT OFF THE WATER, flush the toilet and then sponge up the remaining one inch of water in the bottom of the tank. Put several old towels on the floor under the tank to catch any water that drips out while you are working.

The best tool to use for loosening the large nuts is a ten inch or 12 inch adjustable wrench. This tool has flat jaws that will fit snug around the nuts, and its long handle gives you very good leverage. It helps greatly to spray the nuts with penetrating lubricant the night before you begin this job.

Photo showing an old toilet tank refill valve being removed

Once the nuts are loose, let them slip down over the supply pipe and lift the old valve out of the tank and discard it. If you want to reuse the supply line, don't move or bend it. It's in just the right position for the new valve. Once the supply pipe is moved, it's quite difficult to make watertight connections. However, it's so easy to replace a supply line today with flexible connectors that it's hardly worth the time and trouble of trying to use the old one.

If you can't get the nuts loose, you will have to use a hack saw and saw through the nut and the shank of the refill valve right next to the china. This is awkward but possible; it takes 30 to 45 minutes to do. DON'T TRY TO BREAK THE NUT WITH A HAMMER, you'll only crack the tank. There is no other way; professional plumbers don't have special tools or magic bullets, they will also saw through the nuts.

Flexible Toilet Supply Line

Flexible supply lines come in several lengths with both ends attached. There's nothing to cut which was always the big problem in the past. Pay attention when you are shopping for a flexible supply line, because they are available for faucets as well as toilets; faucets and toilets have different size threaded connections.


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