Everyone expects their toilet to make some noise because wherever there is flowing water, there will be a sound. But, when a toilet whistles after it has been flushed, it may be a warning sign that something has broken or your toilet needs some repair.
When flushed, a toilet may whistle due to a damaged or worn fill valve gasket vibrating in the ballcock valve. As the toilet tank refills, the water moving past the vibrating gasket causes a whistling sound. Replacing or adjusting the valve usually stops the whistle.
The whistle is often irritating, especially if you are sensitive to high-pitched sounds, but it could also be a warning sign of a more serious problem that will need to be fixed. Keep reading to get all the information you need about why your toilet whistles when it is flushed and how to stop the whistling.
How Does A Faulty Valve Cause Whistling?
The water coming into a toilet tank is usually pressurized. The high pressure of the water passing through the fill valve causes parts of the mechanism to vibrate; as the water forces its way through a faulty valve, it causes a high-pitched whistling. The higher the pitch or louder the sound, the more severe the problem.
Check If It Is The Fill Valve Whistling
First, check that the whistling is coming from the fill valve and not some other part of the toilet. Do this by opening the water tank lid, then flush the toilet and locate the fill valve, often on the left-hand side of the tank.
The fill valve is the part of the toilet that lets water into the tank so wherever the water is flowing in is most likely the fill valve. Place your ear closer to the valve and check if it is that part of the toilet making the whistle.
If you are certain the whistling is coming from the fill valve, check if there is any visible debris restricting the water flow in the fill valve before removing or repairing it. Sometimes mineral deposits form over time in or near the fill valve, restricting the water flow and causing a whistle.
Wipe the whole area with a rag to move or loosen any deposits that may have formed, and check for a whistle again. If it persists, follow the guides below to fix a whistling toilet.
If the whistle is not coming from the fill valve, check that the water supply valve is not whistling. Because the water supply valve is located on the outside of the toilet tank, occasionally, the knob can be bumped or tampered with. If the knob is only partially open, it restricts water flowing into the toilet, making a whistle when it is flushed, and water flows through the supply valve.
If the water supply valve makes a whistling sound, the fix is incredibly easy: turn the knob counter clockwise as far as it will go to ensure it is fully open. Flush the toilet again, and if there is no whistle, the problem is the water supply valve.
How To Fix A Whistling Toilet
Fortunately, fixing a whistling toilet is often simple and inexpensive. There are three ways to stop a fill valve from whistling in your toilet:
- Adjust the gasket in the fill valve
- Replace the gasket in the fill valve
- Replace the whole fill valve
Options one and two are not always guaranteed to correct the problem. In some cases, if the gasket in the valve is not very damaged, it can be adjusted slightly to stop the vibrations and the whistling, but the gasket may wear more or move for some reason. This means the whistle may come back at any time. This option is free but not guaranteed.
Sometimes, no matter how you adjust the gasket, it continues to whistle. In this case, if the rest of the fill valve is still in good condition, you may be able to replace only the gasket.
Usually, this will resolve the whistling, but as the rest of the fill valve is older than the gasket (and has now had parts removed and replaced), there is a possibility that another part of the fill valve will become faulty. This may cause the whistling to come back, or even worse, a leak in the toilet.
A leaking toilet is not only a waste of water, but it also has the potential to overflow and cause water damage in your bathroom. While replacing the fill valve gasket only is the cheaper option, it still has the potential to cause other problems in the future.
The last option, to replace the whole fill valve, is the most expensive but is also often easier than dismantling the fill valve, replacing one part, and reassembling the fill valve. By replacing the whole fill valve, you are guaranteed to stop the whistling and ensure there are no leaks or problems for many years.
The other good news is that because most modern fill valves are made from plastic, they come at a reasonable price and are available at all plumbing supply stores or most hardware stores. Either take the fill valve out and show it to the sales assistant at the store or take a photograph of it to ensure you replace like-for-like.
Follow these steps to replace a fill valve:
- Shut off the water supply to the toilet tank.
- Flush the toilet to empty the tank and then dry out the remaining water with a towel.
- Unscrew the valve from the tank. Depending on the model of the fill valve, you may simply be able to unscrew it, or there may be a clip that needs to be unclipped before unscrewing. Check for a clip before unscrewing so as not to damage the screw thread.
- Turn on the water supply to the toilet tank and allow the tank to fill.
- Flush the toilet to ensure there is no longer a whistle.
Don’t Ignore A Whistling Toilet
Toilets shouldn’t whistle, as such, the whistle is an indicator that something is wrong with the toilet. The problem will often result in running water and a higher utility bill.
A toilet system is constantly under water pressure, so at other times a whistling may be a precursor to something breaking under the pressure that will lead to a leak. Either way, let the whistle be a call to you to fix it or to call a plumber to fix it!
A toilet will always make some noise when it is filling, but it shouldn’t whistle. Not only is a high-pitched whistle jarring to the senses, but should also serve as a warning whistle to you to have your toilet checked or to do so yourself. After an initial inspection to ascertain where the whistle is coming from, there are many ways you can fix a whistling toilet yourself without calling a plumber in.
Sometimes these fixes are free and only require a little adjusting here and there; other times, new parts are called for, but these are often inexpensive. Either way, when your toilet whistles, don’t delay, do an inspection and fix the problem as soon as possible!
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.