Help with low water level in toilet bowl

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by knightowl71, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. knightowl71

    knightowl71 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    My house is quite old as is the toilet in question. I have not had any problems prior to last week. The flush lever broke and I had to replace it. The internal parts of the tank have been replaced with Fluidmaster parts but this has been a few years ago. I have not observed any external leaks and have not heard any signs of leaks such as gurgling or water draining.

    I noticed the other day that after flushing, the tank slowly loses water until it is about 1/2 the level it used to be. I have read that this could be due to the vent and/or air pressure. I have a second bathroom with a toilet and that toilet is operating fine.

    My question is why would this just start happening now? If it is a vent or pressure issue would it affect both toilets?

    I am not a plumber. I am handy around the house but not an expert. I am out of work so can not afford to call a professional at his time. This seems like it may be something I can handle on my own. I would appreciate any advice or input.

    Thank you
    Chris
  2. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,854
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Your post seems to talk about the "tank" losing water, but I'm wondering from the rest of your question whether you mean "bowl". In order to focus our answers on your actual problem, would you be kind enough to clarify?

    Also, did the problem arise right after you replaced the flush lever? If so, can you quickly review with us what steps you followed in that repair (e.g. disconnect anything, reconnect anything, etc.)
  3. knightowl71

    knightowl71 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you for your reply. I am indeed talking about the water level in the bowl. Everything seems to working correctly in the tank.

    The flush lever was not staying horizontal on its own. I took the top off of the tank and disconnected the chain from the end of the flush lever inside the tank. I loosened the plastic nut holding the flush lever onto the tank and removed the lever by pulling it out through the small hole on the front of the tank. There is a plastic square right behind the lever that fits into the hole in front of the tank. The square fits into the oval shaped hole holding the lever in place. This square was worn and rounded, causing the lever to be able to rotate. I believe that by letting the lever rotate, the other end dipped down towards the bottom of the tank and got tangled around the chain. This would explain why there were sporadic issues with flushing. I did shut the water off at the valve under the unit so the tank would not fill up while I was working in it. I put the new lever into the hole in the tank and tightened the plastic nut to hold it in place. I then attached the chain from the 'flapper?' to the end of the flush lever arm. It is attached directly above the drain as instructed.

    Everything seems to be in order. The flush operation works fine. It was only after this repair that I was double checking the results and noticed that the water level in the bowl was very low. This may have been happening before without my noticing, I just became aware of it.

    I cant imagine that my changing the lever had anything to do with this issue. I have read that air pressure and vent issues can cause this but I would think that those issues would also affect the toilet in the other bathroom as well. I have since observed both units and only this one is having the issue.

    I also read to use food coloring to check for leaks so I will do that tonight.

    Thank you
    Chris
  4. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,854
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I know you talked about the bowl "losing water" as if it fills up and then goes down.

    However, one possibility is that the bowl is no longer refilling as high as it once did.

    The most common cause of this following a repair is that the refill hose from the fill valve gets disconnected or mis-aimed. It is supposed to sit above the overflow riser (the vertical pipe that sits right next to the flapper) and shoot water down into it while the tank is refilling. No water going down the overflow riser from the refill hose, no refilling of the bowl to the proper level.

    A very-experienced DIY had this problem not too long ago. Couldn't understand why two identical toilets didn't fill the bowl to the same level. He knew everything about how it should have been set up, but simply missed it. I would check this for starters.

    If this is a sideshow, then sorry... just trying to go for the simple stuff first...

    Let us know.
  5. knightowl71

    knightowl71 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Thank you. Sometimes it is the small things that are missed. I double checked everything in the tank. It is all working properly. The refill hose is shooting water directly in the riser as it should. The tank is filing up properly and the float is working properly also.

    After a flush, the bowl always fills up to the 'correct' level. It is only after a few hours that I can notice that the level in the bowl has dropped. I have not observed any leaks from under the toilet as I can see from the basement. I did not use the food coloring test, I will do that today.

    Thank you
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    There are only a few ways a toilet bowl water level can drop: a crack or hole (this does not mean it will always leak onto the floor, it could go directly down the drain), or (and this won't make it drop too far) air pressure 'rocking' the water so that some of the overflows the outlet. It cannot be sucked dry, but it can drop. Well, there are a few other reasons: flusing something like dental floss if it gets caught, and act like a wick, or your cat or dog is drinking some. Evaporation would only occur over days, not hours, or at least enough to notice. I do notice if I'm away for a couple of weeks, the water level in the toilet bowl is down, but not in a day-to-day, or hour-to-hour basis.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,650
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I think the "dental floss wicking" is a much overhyped cause and, personally, have never seen or heard of it happening.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Most nearly every time, dental floss would flush down, and not have an end in the bowl...it would be a rare situation, if it occurred.
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