Toilet Woes

Dear NH,
The shut off valve is not working on the toilet. Is this a major repair? I need to replace the inlet valve. The tank fills as slow as a turtle! Can I do that without replacing the shut off valve?

By the way, your response to prolonging the flapper life made me laugh! Thanks for that and thanks in advance for your response!
TB from Aurora, CO

Toilet woes aren't always funny. Glad I was able to tickle your funny bone!

Yes, you can do the repair without turning off the valve. Just turn off the main water supply to the house. Flush the toilet once to relieve the pressure in the lines and sponge all the water from the tank before disconnecting the inlet valve. Be careful! Water from any pipes or fixtures above the toilet shutoff valve may drip (or flood) back through the disconnected valve. However, this is not usually a big deal since the vacuum in the pipes will keep the flow to a minor drip. Just put down a few towels, a frying pan or bucket (depending on the height and orientation of the shutoff) and work fast! Just be sure that no one in the house turns on a faucet, begins washing clothes or (gasp) flushes another toilet while you have the valve disconnected. If they do, you will be singing (and bailing) like a sailor!

You can save yourself the possible grief by planning ahead and getting a 3/8" compression cap at the hardware store (I'm assuming your shutoff valve is standard size). Wrap the threads with Teflon tape, then screw the cap onto the shutoff valve (after you disconnect the toilet supply tube, of course) and this will stop any dripping until you're ready to reconnect the inlet tube.

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