Toilet tank overflow due to defective valve


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Old 12-27-08, 09:41 PM
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Toilet tank overflow;defective fill valve

The fill valve in the tank of one of the toilets in our home malfunctioned (it is probably defective or the height needs to be adjusted) and the water overflowed and flooded the bathroom in a matter of seconds and it would have flooded the entire house if we had not been home and taken immediate action! We tried to adjust the height in place, but there is not a lot of room, so to properly manipulate it, it would need to be taken out. We also attempted that, but gave up after about an hour of getting nowhere and decided that it would be best to call a plumber to replace the entire thing.

The problem is that we will not be able to do that until several weeks from now. So we would like to know if it is safe to just shut off the valve that connects to the toilet or would we be risking a flood (is that valve strong enough to keep the water off on a permanent basis or long periods of time or could it burst due to the water pressure)? Our other question is would it be better / safer to shut the main water valve to the house instead of, or in addition to the valve that connects to the toilet and would there be a special consideration in doing this given that it's winter and we live in the northeast? We appreciate your advice and hope to hear from you soon.
 

Last edited by danielle3000; 12-27-08 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12-28-08, 07:07 AM
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As long as the shut off valve under the toilet holds,(doesn't leak or pass water) you will be fine in just shutting it off.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 07:11 AM
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Assuming the valve under the toilet is in good working condition it is plenty adequate to shut off temporarily until you can fix the toilet.That said make certain the valve does completely shut off as older ones with age often do not.

If you find the valve will not completely shut off first determine if the line to it has a second inline valve located somewhere else like a crawl space,access area behind a panel in the wall etc and shut it off there.

If all else fails try to locate a 3/8 compression cap and screw it on where the toilet supply line attaches to the valve.Note that these are not that easy to find.No big box store is likely to carry it nor will employees there know what it is.Try old full line hardware stores with knowledgeable help or plumbing supply houses that sell to the public.Call ahead to see if they stock it.

I would not shut the whole house off unless there is choice.You would have to take some steps to protect the rest of the water system etc to leave it off for long periods.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 07:28 AM
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I'm wondering why it overflowed? Does this toilet not have an overflow tube right beside the flush valve?

What brand/model is it?
 
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Old 12-28-08, 01:13 PM
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Toilet tank overflow due to defective valve

The valve is a fluidmaster 400A wrc. The house is six years old (built by Khov). We would think that the valve to the toilet would be in good condition still in a six year old house, wouldn't it. Also, the fill valve appears to be working now, we flushed about three times yesterday and we just flushed three more times just a few minutes ago and the water did not overflow. We just feel somewhat uneasy given that it malfuntioned before.

To answer the question about why it overflowed, the fill valve and the overflow tube are at about the same height or actually the fill valve seems a bit lower. When the toitlet is flushed the fill valve goes down as the water level drops and as the tank fills back up with water, the fill valve goes up, but it went up over/above the height of the overflow tube when the tank overflowed. Actually, even now that it appears to be OK the fill valve is covered by the water about 1/8th of an inch after flushing. There are two other toilets in the house with the same fill valve model and in those, the water never covers the fill valve, in fact, the water level stops about 1/4th to 1/8th of an inch below the valve. Not sure why it is working now even though the water does cover it a bit after each flush. We did fix/adjust the handle/chain/flapper part which did not work properly before (after pushing the handle down to flush it would not go back up by itself; we had to pull it up and also the flush was very weak). Would the fixing of the handle/chain/flapper have anything to do with the fill valve working now? If it continues to work, would it still be advisable to have a plumber change the entire thing (handle/chain/flapper, fill valve, overflow and fill tube?

Thank you very much for all the responses so far. Hope to hear more comments in response to this latest post.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 01:29 PM
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All Fluidmaster units have a particular rubber seal within them that.when old,aged,damaged etc will cause the unit to malfunction.If yours is the original gasket then six years is time for a replacement.The black cap at the top of the unit turns approx 1/4 of the way and lifts off.Under it is the gasket.These gaskets are all the same in all Fluidmasters and can only be installed one way.There are easy to find and carried at most any hardware or big box hardware retailer for around 3 dollars.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 01:35 PM
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Well, the water level normally is about 1/2" below the top of the overflow, which should be about where the "water line" mark on the tank should be. The float (I think thats what yer calling the fill valve maybe) can be adjusted by pinching the little stainless clip and sliding it up or down on the rod.

If the water level is actually coming up over the fill valve top, you should be able to pull up on a "collar" near the bottom and rase the fill valve up a bit, then push the collar back down to lock it in place. The float would need adjusting after doing this.

If you do a search for Fluidmaster and find the makers website, they give you good instructions for adjusting.

The overflow tube has 2 purposes...to drain the tank if it starts to overflow, of course, and to let water flow from the rubber hose into the bowl to refill after a flush. I can't figure why it would ever overflow the tank unless the overflow has been replaced and not cut to the correct height if needed. The top of the overflow should be above the "fill line", but about 1/2" below the top edge of the tank.
 
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Old 12-28-08, 03:36 PM
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Hi, I just have to ask did you see the water coming out of the tank? You said the bathroom flooded in a couple of seconds. I have never seen a tank flood a bathroom but I've seen a plugged bowl flood a lot of them.
Thanks Woodbutcher
 
 

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