How to Fix a Running Toilet Without a Ball Float? – Comprehensive Instructions

You might be familiar with traditional ballcock toilets that have been commonplace for decades. You might have some great experience in adjusting the float to avoid running.

But it doesn’t help to figure out how to fix a running toilet without a ball float, while these systems are gaining more and more popularity nowadays.

How do you stop a toilet from running without a floating ball?
The water level in a toilet tank can be adjusted by bending the arm that connects the ball float to the ballcock assembly. To lower the water level, the arm is bent downward. To raise the water level, the arm is slightly bent upward.

If you understand the basics, you will understand how a toilet tank without a float ball works. All of them have tools for adjustment, and this is how you can use them without specialized equipment or years of experience.

Guide on Fixing Running Toilet Without Ball Float

There are many flush systems for a toilet without a float ball. For example, Kohler uses flush valves with a cup-shaped float instead, which is attached differently as well.

They can be adjusted to fix the water level in just one move. You don’t need that familiar float in the toilet tank to fix it.

What is a ball float?

A ball float is the key element of the flush mechanism that grants correct refilling of the tank. The ball regulates the level of water in the tank and lets it out as you flush.

Usually, it lets the water out when raised by the flush mechanism, then lets it in until it reaches a certain level, and then, being raised by the rising water, blocks the influx. The problem appears when it either can’t hold the water in or can’t hold the water out.

Though newer types of floats (like cup floats in Kohler toilets) are more reliable, they are still vulnerable to both these issues. The engineers are aware of it, so they provide adjustment tools their customers can use on their own.

Fixing running toilet without ball float step by step

The toilet is usually running for one of the two reasons: either its float is set incorrectly, which causes overflowing, or the flapper (the flush valve) is worn-out, which causes leaking. I will examine both these causes and give instructions.

How do you tell one from another? It’s easy. If your toilet is running, you can just cut off the water supply and wait for about an hour. Then open the tank.

If it’s full of water just below the overflow tube level and doesn’t run anymore, the problem is with the level. If it got empty without the influx, the problem is with the toilet float not shutting off the water, so it keeps flowing out.

If you have a Kohler toilet with a fill valve on the overflow tube, you need to adjust the height of the float cup on it. If it’s overflowing, you need to set it a little lower so that the water does not reach the top of the overflow tube.

Kohler provides specialized instructions on how to fix a running toilet without a ball float for each model. However, they can be sorted into two groups: older- and newer-style fill valves.

double-flush system

For an older-style fill valve:

  1. Cut off the water supply and empty the tank.
  2. Squeeze the float valve adjustment clip to move the float cup.
  3. Move the float cup down about an inch.
  4. Release the adjustment clip.
  5. Turn on the water supply and check whether the water reaches the overflow tube level. If not, close the lid. If it still does, readjust the float cup.

For the newer-style fill valves:

  1. Cut off the water supply and empty the tank.
  2. Find the screw on the top of the float arm.
  3. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lower the level. You might need a screwdriver for this.
  4. Turn on the water supply and check whether the water reaches the overflow tube level. If not, close the lid. If it still does, readjust the float cup.

There are similar solutions by other vendors. For example, many Toto toilets have a flush system similar to newer-style valves by Kohler. They also have an adjustment screw that has to be turned counterclockwise to lower the level.

The toilet can be running because of a worn-out flapper. The flapper mechanism is easy to replace, and there are many instructions on it. There is no unified instruction on how to fix a running toilet without a flapper – simply because there are plenty of them. Still, there are some general recommendations on what to do.

  1. Check the drain valve. You might have to replace it or just try cleaning and reinstalling if it doesn’t appear damaged.
  2. If it’s chain-controlled, check the length of the chain. A chain too short can be the reason why the valve does not shut. Try adding a link or two or moving the hook down so that the usable length grows.
  3. Replace the gasket if you think it is the culprit.

These steps can help you to stop the drainage. Still, it doesn’t mean you may be careless about the water level and possible overflowing.

old toilet tank

FAQ About Fixing Running Toilet Without Ball Float

As we break down how to fix these mechanisms, some questions still arise. Here I address the most frequent of them.

What happens if you don’t fix a running toilet?

It sends much extra water (that is, your money) down the drain. In addition, this water сan cause further damage to your property. Last but not least, you develop a bad habit of postponing what should be done today.

Where is the toilet flapper?

The flapper is usually attached to the bottom of the overflow tube, just above the drain hole. It has a chain connected to it, so it can be lifted with the flush handle.

How long does the toilet flapper last?

It can last up to 7-10 years, but it depends on various factors, such as frequency of usage, quality of water, and harshness of the cleaners you use.

Down with the Drain!

Now you are armed with knowledge and are ready to stop these leaking sounds that accompany your money going down the drain. Reading is good, but doing is better.

As you are ready but not much experienced, take a picture of how it is supposed to be. This may help you in reassembling. After you’re done, share the impression in the comments.

You may also ask for advice if you need some; I like this type of discussion too. Still, I want you to succeed!

Also read:

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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