How to Fix a Running Toilet Without a Ball Float

How to Fix a Running Toilet Without a Ball Float

Do you see water running into the toilet bowl even if you haven’t pressed the flush lever just yet?

If so, then you have a major problem right in front of you. You have a running toilet. A running toilet or a leaky toilet is a serious plumbing concern that must be addressed immediately. Otherwise, you might get into a little bit of a horrific surprise when your next water bill comes around.

But it is not always the money, right?

Wasting water is wasting precious resources. Everybody should do their share in conserving the environment. With that said, a running toilet is a big no-no. If you have that mindset, then you’re the type to fix the running toilet as soon as you can. So, you proceeded to open your Kohler toilet tank lid to fix it. But to your surprise, there is no tank ball float! What do you do now?

No need to panic. If you’re one of the many who is asking the question “how to fix a running toilet without a ball float” in your mind, you can now stop worrying. We’re here to help you out. Just read through the steps below and you will not just gain adequate knowledge on how to do this toilet repair project, but also the confidence needed to get the job done right! But before we go there, let’s learn the basics first.


What is a Toilet Ball Float and what is it for?

The main function of the toilet float is to regulate the water level inside the tank. It floats over the water inside the toilet tank, and it controls how much water the water should rise. If it is sitting too high, then high are the chances that the toilet will overflow. It is also the main reason why you have a running toilet.

On the other hand, if the ball float sits too low, it means that the water is unable to flow through the tank to fill it up. This is also a plumbing problem, but how to fix it will be discussed in a different article. If there is not enough water in the tank, there is a high chance that bacteria and mold will thrive in it. You certainly don’t what that either.

However, modern toilets have done away with these parts. Instead of the float ball, a fill valve is used instead. It works pretty much the same way, only smaller and more compact. This allows new toilets to have smaller tanks. So, if you see that your toilet tank is smaller than usual, you can rightly assume that it doesn’t have any ball float in it.

Simple Ways on How to Fix a Running Toilet Without a Ball Float

If you have a modern toilet, then you might already know that it won’t likely have a ball float. Many of today’s toilet models are doing away with the all too familiar toilet float rod mechanism. If you’re kind of familiar with how the toilet valve works with the tank ball float, then worry not. The same concept applies.

It’s not too difficult to get things up and running again even if you have one of these state-of-the-art toilets. These toilets usually have a toilet cistern and float cup assembly instead of the traditional water tank and float ball setup of older toilets. Once you get to decipher which is which, then you’re all good.

Materials Needed

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer

Step 1. Inspect the fill valve.

inspect the fill value

Always keep in mind that while new toilets have modern parts, the same toilet work processes apply. In lieu of a ball float, your toilet might have a fill valve. Technically, these two parts function in the same way. The only notable difference is that the fill valve takes up a smaller space than the toilet float, which is why it is preferable.

Study the mechanism of your toilet so you’ll see exactly where the problem lies. You might need to check where the flush valve lever is connected to get a good idea of how the toilet’s water flow works. Find out any damage sustained by the valves so you can decide whether to replace or repair them. Other parts may be damaged as well, such as the fill tube. Be sure to take note of them too.

Step 2. Turn off the water supply.

Turn off the water supply

You must turn off the water supply to the toilet before doing any toilet repair work. Look for the valve at the back of the toilet near the floor. If you can’t find any valve, better turn off the water supply to the entire house before proceeding. Then flush the water to clear the toilet tank.

This is always the first step to fixing a running toilet, regardless of what mechanism it has. If the toilet supply line or the main water supply valve is too difficult to turn using your bare hands, use an adjustable wrench instead. Make sure that you turn it counterclockwise all the way.

Step 3. Prepare to remove the fill valve.

prepare to remove the fill valve

If you have a running toilet and it doesn’t have a ball float, it is most likely caused by a broken fill valve. While there’s always that option to repair, it is always better to replace. Repair is good for a temporary fix, up until you can run to a store and get a replacement. Always make sure that you’re getting the right parts.

Plumbing service providers recommend that fill valves be replaced every five years or so. If you do replace the fill valve, be sure to include the entire assembly. This means that you will also replace the gaskets, lock nuts, and more importantly, the refill tube. The refill tube is sometimes also referred to as the toilet overflow tube or overflow pipe, which in turn, is connected to the flush valve and toilet flapper.

Step 4. Remove the fill valve’s base.

Reach inside the toilet tank to pull out the base of the fill valve. If this proves to be too difficult, check if the base is fixed with a screw. Remove it accordingly. If it is not screwed in but it won’t go, you might need to use a hammer to break it free without damaging the fill tube or any other parts near it. Never apply to much force when using the hammer.

 Just be very careful when you do this or you might end up with not just a running toilet, but with one with tons of other problems as well. Take extra care when removing or reinstalling the fill tube. You might also want to check the condition of the flush valve and the toilet flapper valve while you’re at it. They may need to get replaced as well.

Do note that the fill valve may still have some water inside it. Have the bucket ready as you remove the fill valve. Let the excess water drip into the bucket. Keep the bucket handy for any other water flow emergencies as you go about the toilet repair work. Throw away any excess water in the bucket so you’re always prepared.

Step 5. Try to do some repairs.

Try to do some repairs

This step is only applicable when there is no noticeable damage to the fill valve. Now that you have taken that part out, inspect it thoroughly. If there are any signs of breaks or cracks, then it must be replaced entirely. You may skip this step and proceed to step 6 now.

Otherwise, you can try to put it back, as it might not be the one causing the problem. Try to just adjust the position of the float cup valve instead until the water level is now below the overflow tube. If it still doesn’t work, then check the toilet flapper. It may be the one that needs reseating or replacing.

Like the fill valve, you must replace the toilet flapper every five years or so. The flapper is oftentimes connected to a lift chain and the flush valve or overflow tube. Sometimes, it just needs to be cleaned because there are lots of dirt and mineral deposits trapped in it. But then again, all toilet parts older than 5 years old are better replaced than repaired.

Step 6. Install the new fill valve.

install the new fill valve

If you see damage to the fill valve, then you should replace it straight away. Now that the base of the old fill valve is gone, it should be easy for you to put the new assembly back in. Before you proceed, make sure that the replacement parts you bought are the same as the ones that you’re removing. Otherwise, they won’t make a perfect fit and water may still leak.

Otherwise, it won’t work. For starters, the base should fit perfectly. All the other parts, particularly the overflow tube, should also be compatible with the flush valve assembly. Always read the packaging before buying the entire assembly. If possible, bring the old assembly to the store and have the salesclerk help you find the perfect match.

To install the new fill valve, simply push its body down the base of the toilet tank where the old assembly used to be. Then lock it in place with the use of the valve ring. Make sure that the lock is secured properly so that you’ll have no problems attaching the overflow tube. In some cases, you must screw the fill valve in.

Step 7. Test the newly installed fill valve.

test the newly installed fill valve

If you’re confident that you have correctly installed the fill valve, then give your toilet tank a test. Open the main water supply line again so that fresh water starts flowing into the toilet. Observe if the water fills up the toilet tank at the normal water pressure rate. Check if there is running water into the toilet bowl as the tank fills up. If the toilet is no longer running, your installation is looking good thus far.

Then give the toilet flush handle a good push. Wait for a while until the excess water settles down and continue observing if there will be water running into the toilet bowl. If all is good, then you have appropriately installed the new fill valve. Try to push the flush handle again just to be sure that everything is working as it should. Keep redoing the steps until every detail turns out right.

If on the other hand, you run into the same or some other problems, then you will have to reinstall the toilet fill valve. Be sure to review the packaging once more if there are any special instructions from the manufacturer that you might have missed. It’s always right to follow manufacturer’s instructions diligently!

If there is none, then just take the refill valve assembly out again and put it back into the existing base. Then check the functionality of the system by pushing the toilet handle several times. Once you finally get it right, give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve done a great job!

As you can see, it is not too difficult to fix a running toilet, even if it doesn’t have a ball float. All you really need is some basic plumbing skills and a ton of knowledge on the subject. The step-by-step instructions that we have outlined here would help you do the job fast and easy, and more importantly, all on your own!

But if any step proves to be a challenge to you, don’t hesitate to call a plumbing service provider to help you out. There will always be a good one near you, and they will eagerly fix your running toilet, whether it has a ball float or not. Just reach out and they can solve your toilet problem in no time! You can even call them up to fix your water heater or do drain cleaning if it comes down to it. It won’t hurt to make those plumbers your best friends!

Leave a Comment