Have you noticed a shrill, annoying, whistling sound coming from your toilet, especially while flushing? A whistling toilet is a toilet that needs repairs. As irritating as it is, it might indicate an even bigger problem that needs your attention.
The most common reason your toilet whistles after flushing is a vibrating ballcock- a type of valve in your flush tank. The ballcock vibrates as the flush tank refills due to a damaged gasket, misalignment, or a worn-out assembly leading to turbulence and vibration.
Let’s discuss the possible causes of this annoying problem and some ways to fix it. We will also see situations where it is best to take a step back and seek professional help.
Why Does the Toilet Whistle?
A toilet always makes some noise when it is operated, right? Water gushing in and out and dripping noises are all perfectly normal. But if there is an issue with the internal assembly of the intake valves of the flush tank, you might start hearing a screeching noise that is impossible to miss.
In most cases, you will start hearing these high-pitched whistling sounds right after flushing when the flush tank starts to refill. The most probable cause of this whistling is a problem with the fill valve on your flush tank.
An intake valve, also called a ballcock, is a valve with an armature with a hollow plastic ball at one end. Water starts filling in the flush, and the level rises along with the ball floating on the water. Once the fill level is reached, the valve cuts off the water supply.
The ballcock has gaskets and seals essential to shut the water supply off once the tank is filled. If the gaskets fail or there is wear and tear on the valve assembly itself, the whole system starts to vibrate as water flows in, causing the whistling sound.
Should I be worried if I Hear Whistling After I flush?
A whistling sound coming from your toilet is never a good sign. It is your toilet’s way of telling you that it needs some maintenance. In most cases, the whistling problem starts as a soft sound that is not that annoying. However, as the damage to the valve progresses, the whistling gets progressively louder and shriller.
If you are not proactive, it might result in a total failure of the ballcock. If the valve fails, it won’t be able to stop the filing of the flush tank leading to an overflow and flooding your bathroom. So, ignoring the whistling sound is not in your best interest!
What’s the Best Way to Fix a Whistling Toilet?
The way to fix a whistling toilet depends on what is causing the whistling. If you have some plumbing knowledge, you should be able to fix this problem if you intervene at the right time.
The easiest way to fix a whistling toilet is to replace the fill valve, also called the ballcock. It is easy to replace with a few tools, and you should be able to replace it by yourself. You can easily source the parts from a hardware store.
If you are not prepared to replace the valve, you have other limited options. However, keep in mind that these are temporary solutions and won’t take care of the problem permanently, but they will buy you time before you can replace the valve.
How to Clean the Gasket?
Sometimes, dirt, salt deposition, or a simple misalignment of the gasket can be the reason for the whistling sound. Cleaning the gasket can eliminate the issue in such a situation. Here is a stepwise guide to cleaning the gasket of the fill valve-
- Before you do any maintenance work on your toilet, you need to do two things. First, cut off the water supply to your flush tank, and second, flushes all the water in the tank.
- Now that there is no water in the flush tank remove the lid and place it carefully so it won’t fall or crack.
- Locate the fill valve; it is usually located on the left side of the tank.
- Grab the top cap of the float and rotate it counterclockwise to expose the seal/ gasket underneath
- Carefully remove the gasket and clean it, removing any dirt and debris.
- Place the gasket carefully back and reattach the top cap of the float.
- Restore the water supply to the flush, let it fill and flush two or three times to see if the whistling stops.
How to Replace the Fill Valve?
If you have some plumbing knowledge and know your way around a screwdriver, you should be able to replace the fill valve of your flush tank. Replacing the fill valve is the only permanent solution to fix the whistling of the toilet.
What will you need?
The requirements to replace a fill valve are simple. Here are the things that you will need-
- You can buy a compatible valve from any hardware store that sells plumbing supplies. I would recommend this Fluidmaster PerforMAX valve from Amazon.com.
- A set of screwdrivers
- A go-getter attitude!
Here is how you can replace the fill valve yourself-
- Shut off the valve supplying water to flush the tank and flush the water in the tank
- Locate the plastic screw holding the old valve in place and unscrew it
- Carefully pull out the old valve.
- Place the new valve and tighten the plastic screw with a screwdriver.
That’s all. You have just replaced the fill valve of your toilet!
When Should I Call in the Pros?
Never ignore the whistling problem of your toilet. Call a plumber if you can’t handle it on your own or don’t want to accidentally break your toilet seat or flush tank creating a mess. There is no shame in asking for help!
Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen if the whistling toilet is ignored?
You don’t want to ignore the whistling problem in your toilet. If your toilet is whistling, it’s time to get it fixed. If you hear your toilet screeching, it’s time to get it fixed.
Do I need to call professionals to fix a whistling toilet?
While it is easy to replace the fill valve yourself, it is best to seek professional help if you are in doubt.
How much does replacing the fill valve cost?
If you plan to replace the valve yourself, it should cost you $20-$30. However, if you hire a plumber, replacing the fill valve can run you between $75-$200, including parts and labor.
To Wrap Up
A whistling toilet can be annoying and ignoring it can be dangerous. So, the next time you hear your toilet whistling at you, it is not because it’s happy to see you; it needs your help! Thankfully, there is a relatively easy fix to the problem.
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.