Internal leak in a toilet?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by chessimprov, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. chessimprov

    chessimprov New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Philly
    (about) daily between 3 AM - 5 AMish, if I have not fallen asleep 100%, I can usually hear my toilet making a water dripping sound on the inside. No water is leaking to the outside from the toilet. A Home Depot rep told me I only needed to replace the flapper. Not only did I replace the flapper, but I cleaned the dirt buildup from inside the flusher's bowl. The flapper only seemed to help for a few days, then I heard the same noise again. Another Home Depot rep suggested I replace toilet fill valve with a Quiet Fill toilet fill valve. Will this truly solve the problem, or just make the problem harder to hear? Thank you very much.
  2. u.s.coins

    u.s.coins Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    ...i think the first thing i would do is to isolate the problem. put some food coloring into the tank and after a few hours check and see if the coloring shows up in the bowl. if so then you have a flapper problem and i would change it and go from there. hth
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    Just turn the shutoff valve to the toilet off overnight and see if the tank is empty in the morning. If so, it's usually one of three things: the flapper is not making a good seal (could be the seat where it seals to or the flapper itself), the hose that fills the bowl is not installed properly and is siphoning out water, or the whole flapper assembly is leaking at the base of the seal (if so, sometimes if you remove the tank and tighten up the nut holding it, that can fix it).

    There's a right way and a wrong way to install a flapper valve. If the one you had came with a big ring and your toilet uses ears to hold it, if you use both, it can distort the flapper. On those, if you have the ears, you cut out the ring first. THen, if the chain that attaches to the flush lever is not adjusted properly, it can either be holding the thing up, or if too long, get caught underneath the flapper causing it to leak.

    Most of these things can be isolated by some careful observation or elimination.
  4. chessimprov

    chessimprov New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Philly
    I used food coloring in the toilet bowl, and there did not seem to be a trace of it in the bowl the next day, or there was so little that I could not tell. It does not seem like there should be a noise that I may hear at 3 AM daily with one toilet, but not another.

    I will try to figure out this ring thing. My mother helped me figure out that the chain was not adjusted properly even before I had the flapper replaced. Thank you for all your help (so far).
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    Was all of the coloration gone from the tank, and, was the level still up to 'normal'? IF so, the leak is so fast, it might just have diluted the bowl's as it kept running. Put some food dye in the tank, turn the main supply off, see if the tank is low after awhile. Check the bowl. My guess is that the tank will be empty and the bowl will be colored. It is usually the flapper valve itself or the seat where it seals to or around the seal that holds the seat (least likely on an older toilet - happens sometimes from the factory on a new one where it isn't tight).
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,005
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Can you post a picture of the inside of the tank?
  7. chessimprov

    chessimprov New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Philly
    jadnushua, when I did the food coloring, I did put it in the bowl, and I did turn the main water supply off. (I left it off overnight, so for about 6 - 9 hours+ it was off.) All the food coloring was still in the tank as I had left it (or just about all of it). When I filled the tank , I had flushed first, then put the food coloring in so that there would be no overfill to begin with in the bowl.


    http://www.mediafire.com/?2xms63qnhnta5th
    are pictures of the toilet bowl with parts.

    Merry x-mas everyone, and thank you for reading this today!!
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,852
    Location:
    New York, NY
    This is why people shouldn't talk to The Aprons about anything to do with toilets and instead should come here. That marketing piece at HD on "How to Repair A Toilet" is useless and hideous.

    Okay. First, I can't tell from the photos for sure, but it definitely seems to me that the water level in your tank is right to the top of the overflow riser. (I'm getting this from your photos 1805 and 1806.) That's your problem.

    [The overflow riser is that white plastic tube that is sticking up with the black (in your case brown) hose running into it. It runs down next to the flapper, and any water that goes into it bypasses the flapper and goes down the flush hole into the bowl below. It serves two purposes: First, water to refill the bowl runs from the fill valve through the black hose and down the overflow riser into the bowl. During the period that the tank is refilling, and only then, water will run through the black hose, through the overflow riser, and into the bowl to refill the bowl. Second, if the tank is overfilled (i.e. the fill valve fails to shut off), instead of pouring out the top of the tank, the water ("overflow") will run down that tube and into the bowl.]

    If the tank is set to refill right to the edge of that riser, you're sometimes going to get a smidge of overflow, which will go down that riser and maybe cause that kind of fill valve (ballcock) to put a teensy bit more water slowly into the toilet, and it becomes a vicious cycle. If you set the ballcock so that the thing refills to about 1/2" below the top of that overflow riser, which is where most toilet manufacturers want you to set it, I think your problem will be solved. The way to do that is to bend the metal rod with the ball on it DOWN a little bit (hold one part of it in your left hand so you don't snap it off the valve, and push down a bit at the end). You can also adjust the screw on the valve, but most people just bend the rod.

    One advantage of the Korky Quietfill valve (also called the 528) is that when it shuts off, it shuts off completely and doesn't allow water to run again until the tank level falls about 1/4". That way, little bits of water don't slowly run to refill the tank when there is just a little leak or little overflow, as with the traditional ballcock that you have. But there's no reason to mess with the fill valve unless it has suddenly failed to work properly, and you have given us no indication that it has. (On the other hand, the brown stain in the tank is about an inch below what now appears to be the waterline, so perhaps the valve is not fully shutting-off anymore...) Another advantage of the Quietfill is that once you install it, it is easy to change the water level in the tank.

    Also, the next time you replace the flapper, chuck that Fluidmaster flapper and use a Korky flapper instead. I think you'll find it easier to to replace and it should be more reliable.

    Let us know if we have found your problem, and don't be afraid to come back for more help.

    If you do decide to replace the fill valve with a Korky Quietfill, there are helpful videos at korky.com on how to do it, or come back here and we'll give you a hand. It's going to take you ten minutes to do, most of which time will be spent trying to disconnect the old fill valve.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  9. chessimprov

    chessimprov New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Philly
    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you and try your suggestions everyone. I'm not very handy as it is, and a lot of personal stuff came up.

    wjcandee and everyone else, thank you for all your great suggestions and help! I am happy to report that bending the ballcock's bar worked wonders! Before I had figured out what to bend and the advice you were giving me, the leak was starting to get worse in the last few days. It looked like the overflow riser (white tube) was randomly receiving water unnecessarily before.

    Thank you for the Korky flapper suggestion. Korky must be a good brand!

    Based on the overflow riser characteristics I saw, makes me think that the bar bend is a temp fix and that eventually I should focus on the filter replacement, but that I do not have to do it right away or for awhile.

    Also, when I turned off the water to bend the bar, not all of the water in the tub would go down the hole as the the hole seems a bit elevated from the bottom of the bowl. I don't know if that's supposed to be the case or if it's a bad design of the toilet bowl, or something else. Thank you once again!
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    It sounds like the seal in the fill valve is worn. Bending the rod down forces it to apply more pressure, which appears to be shutting the fill valve off and preventing the level from rising to drain out the overflow. It's much easier to just replace the whole fill valve with a new modern one that is easily repaired. The only tricky part is setting the water height in the tank properly on an old toilet (on the newer ones, you may also have to adjust the fill ratio between the tank and the bowl), but this really is pretty simple. Some love the Fluidmaster, I prefer the Korky Quitefill, but either are reliable. BTW, to effectively apply more pressure, you could have also unscrewed the float some, functionally, making the lever arm longer. A whole new fill valve is around $10. You should also replace the hose between the shutoff to the new valve, and that will add a few dollars to the total cost. The only time I'd consider reusing what's there, is if it is a solid metal riser.
  11. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,852
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Glad it worked out! Sounds like you are set for the moment. Unless or until it starts acting up again, consider your project a success!

    Regarding the bottom of the tank, all flush valves that I have seen do indeed have their mouth a bit above the china bottom of the tank, some more than others.

    When replacing either the fill valve or the flush valve, therefore, one will be presented with a little water in the bottom of the tank, even after flushing. Different people deal with it differently. Some sponge it up. Some use a shop vac (wet/dry vaccuum). Some use a turkey baster. Some use this piston-thing that is marketed to plumbers. And some just put a bucket under the fill valve hole, remove the fill valve, and let the water drain into the bucket.

    That was a good question!
Similar Threads: Internal leak
Forum Title Date
Toilet Forum discussions Internal water leak somewhere in toilet I think Feb 15, 2014
Toilet Forum discussions Internal (Flapper?) Leak on TWO toilets Oct 30, 2011
Toilet Forum discussions Toto ultramax II very slow internal leak Feb 15, 2010
Toilet Forum discussions **** toilet leaking internally Dec 20, 2007
Toilet Forum discussions External vs Internal Cast Iron pipe closet flange Sep 1, 2013

Share This Page