Toilet Float Sticking: Causes and 4 Quick Fixes

A toilet float sticking isn’t just highly annoying, but it can make it hard for you to properly flush your toilet, which is a huge nuisance.

Luckily, issues such as this aren’t as complex, and in most cases, you won’t have to have a professional fix it for you.

In this guide, we’re not only concerned with the most effective methods of fixing a sticky toilet float

We will also focus on the different issues that may have led to this situation, so you can successfully prevent them from happening in the future.

Why is the toilet float sticking?

A toilet float is a ball-shaped device that sits on top of the water in the toilet tank. The float rises and falls with the water level, and when it reaches a certain point, a switch is activated and turns on the water pump.

If it is not working correctly, it will affect how your toilet flushes. A sticking toilet float can cause the toilet to flush weakly or not at all. In some cases, it can also cause the toilet to overflow.

So, what are the potential issues causing your toilet float to stick? Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems

The toilet float is broken

The number one reason behind a sticky toilet float is simply a broken toilet float mechanism.  If your float is sticking, you’ll want to check for this first. 

There are a few ways to fix a broken toilet float mechanism, but the most common is simply replacing the entire float assembly.

What’s more, if the toilet float is old and worn out, this may be why it’s sticking, and once again – there is no better solution than replacing it altogether.

Blocked valve

Another reason your toilet float may stick is that something is caught in the valve

The role of the valve is to regulate the flow of water into the toilet bowl; if something is blocking it, the float will have trouble moving up and down. 

You can check for this by taking a look at the valve itself. The valve is often blocked by sediment or debris; if this is the case, you’ll need to clean it out.

The collar of the float is too close to the water tank

Another possibility is that the collar of the float is rubbing against the water tank. This happens when the float is old and starts to break down. 

The solution is to either adjust the float so that it doesn’t rub against the tank or replace the float altogether.

The flapper chain is too short

If your toilet float is sticking, it could be that the chain connected to the flapper is too short. This causes the flapper not to seal correctly, resulting in water leaks

To fix this, adjust the chain to make it longer. You may also need to replace the flapper if it is damaged or worn out.

How to fix a sticking toilet float 

Here are a few methods you can try to fix a sticky toilet float and replace the mechanism in case it is old or damaged. 

1. Replace the toilet float mechanism

If the toilet float is sticking, it may be time to replace the toilet float mechanism. These steps will tell you how to do this.

  1. Please turn off the water to the toilet by shutting off the valve behind it.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank and bowl.
  3. Remove the lid from the tank and set it aside.
  4. Locate the toilet float mechanism and unscrew it from the side of the tank.
  5. Replace the old float mechanism with a new one and screw it.
  6. Turn the water on and check the toilet for leaks.
  7. If there are no leaks, put the lid back on the tank and flush the toilet to test it.

2. Unclog the valve

If your toilet float is sticking due to a clogged valve,  you can try to clear the blockage with a plunger. To do so, remove the lid from the toilet tank and place the plunger over the hole in the bottom of the bowl. 

Pump the plunger a few times before pulling it out and checking to see if the water level has lowered. 

If it hasn’t, you may need to use a plumber’s snake to clear the blockage. Here’s how to use a plumber’s snake to remove the clog

  1. Insert the snake into the hole at the bottom of the bowl and push it through until you feel resistance.
  2. Rotate the snake handle clockwise to loosen the clog.
  3. Pull the snake out and flush the toilet to see if the water level has lowered.

3. Reposition the float

If the collar of the toilet float is rubbing against the water tank, you will need to adjust it. The float should be positioned, so the water level is about an inch below the overflow pipe.

If the float is too low, water will constantly enter the bowl and cause it to overflow. If the float is too high, the toilet will not flush properly.

Here’s how you can adjust the collar of the toilet float

  1. Turn off the water supply to the toilet.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Disconnect the water supply line from the fill valve.
  4. Remove the fill valve from the tank.
  5. Adjust the collar of the float so that it is positioned correctly.

If your toilet float is sticking, it could be because the ball cock is not set correctly

The ballcock is what controls the flow of water into the toilet tank. If it is not positioned correctly, it can cause the float to stick.

To reposition the ball cock of the toilet float, you need to unscrew the ballcock nut holding it in place. This can usually be found under the toilet tank. 

Once you have unscrewed the nut, you can then adjust the position of the ball cock so that it is no longer sticking.

4. Replace the flapper chain

Another reason why the toilet float is sticking is that the flapper chain is too short. To fix this issue, you’ll need to adjust the chain length.

Here’s how you can replace the flapper chain

  1. Turn off the water to the toilet at the shut-off valve.
  2. Flush the toilet to empty the tank.
  3. Disconnect the old flapper chain from the flush lever arm.
  4. Cut a new piece of flapper chain that is long enough to reach from the flush lever arm to the flapper.
  5. Attach the new flapper chain to the flush lever arm.
  6. Turn on the water to the toilet at the shut-off valve.
  7. Test the flapper chain by flushing the toilet. The flapper should open and close properly.

FAQ

Can you lubricate a toilet float?

Yes, you can lubricate a toilet float. You’ll need to remove the float from the tank and clean it thoroughly first. 

Once clean, you can apply a silicone-based lubricant to the float. This will help it move more smoothly and prevent it from sticking.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent solution, and in case the toilet float is damaged or malfunctioning, it is much better to replace it. 

Can you spray WD40 on the toilet float?

Yes, you can use WD40 to try and fix a sticking toilet float. Be sure to turn off the water to the toilet before beginning any repairs. 

Once the water is turned off, remove the lid from the tank and locate the float. If the float is stuck in “up,” spray some WD40 on it and move the float up and down to loosen it.

If the float is stuck in “down,” you may need to use a plunger to try and dislodge it. Be sure to put the lid back on the tank before turning the water on.

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