leaking toilet after 2 flapper changes

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by nabril, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. nabril

    nabril New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    New to the forum, and I certainly appreciate your help.
    Being one of the most popular topics, I searched, but I got a lot of pages. Most of them dealing with toilets that leak at the base, so I start a new thread.

    I have a 5 year-old toilet whose tank drains slowly. I have replaced the flapper with 2 different brands, and the leaking continues. There is no water on the floor, so the leak is happening on the inside. After the 2 flapper replacements, I went to my nearby Home Depot, and they suggested a buy a flapper seal---a plastic disk that glues on to the original flapper hole to make it smooth. I felt the original flapper hole and it felt smooth; I installed it regardless, sealed it with silicon, and sure enough the tank continues to drain. When I added food coloring, however, I did not see the red fluid in the toilet bowl. Strange. Is the water leaking down into the cement (toilet is in 2nd floor), and it's not visible to me?

    What do I try next? I shut off the water line every day to avoid the waste, but I would like to fix it once and for all.
    Thank you.
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,142
    Location:
    South*East
    The refill tube is to far down into the overflow tube causing the water in the tank to siphon. The refill must be above the water level in the tank.

    John

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2012
  3. nabril

    nabril New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    thanks JOhn
    I have it clipped to the very top, and the water level is below it.. The instructions mentioned not to do that, so I took notice.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    I take it if you shut off the water, and let it set for awhile, the tank empties?

    What brand toilet is it? Is it a one-piece, or a two-piece toilet?
  5. nabril

    nabril New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    yes, if I shut off the water, the tank empties. It is Briggs 2-piece installed by the builder of this townhouse.

    I see 4 little clear streams running down the tank. I added red coloring last night, and I now see 4 red streams running down the walls of the bowl.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    Well, this is good in a way, it means that it is not likely leaking into the floor from a defect in the bowl!

    Assuming the flapper valve seat is smooth, and the flapper valves you have used are not warped or otherwise defective, and you have the chain adjusted so it is not getting caught underneath the valve or it's too tight and holding the flapper up, the only other thing is the gasket underneath the flapper valve (that I can think of, anyway). So, if that's the issue, you may need to remove the tank, and tighten the big nut on the bottom of the flapper valve assembly, and put it back. While you have it apart, you might want to consider replacing that seal.

    Or, you could replace the whole toilet with one that works better from the get-go...A Toto Drake or Drake II come to mind. I put two Drakes in my mother's house.
  7. movrshakr

    movrshakr New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    FL
    Same problem...slow 'leak.' No sound. Tank level drops. Tops off about every 1-1/2 hours. Fill tube is not below water level. New flapper did not solve. Lip of drain feels perfectly smooth. With water shut off, the tank over time empties completely.

    What are possible failure modes causing this?
    Is there a brand of flapper known to be "the best" for making good seals?
    Could there be a pinhole leak in the tube at the very bottom, allowing tank water to enter the bowl. If so, what is fix?
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,889
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    How about a picture of the inside of the tank?
    800 pixles or less can be attached.
  9. movrshakr

    movrshakr New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    FL
    Inside pic of tank attached as requested.

    Attached Files:

  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'd start by tossing that POS Fluidmaster Flapper in the trash and using a Korky Flapper...
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,481
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The other possibility is that the overflow riser is cracked where it is glued at its base. That or the flapper are the only ways for the water to leak out. It is NOT the gasket under the flush valve, or it would be leaking onto the floor, not into the toilet.
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You can check the overflow riser for cracks by applying a slight pressure at the top in different directions and see if the leakage rate changes.
  13. movrshakr

    movrshakr New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    FL
    hj, redwood. Will try the 'move tube around' thing to see if flow changes to see if can confirm it as the culprit. Flow is VERY tiny--can barely see it if put pepper onto the water.

    I think tube is the problem, 'cause I have pretty much ruled out the flapper (son bought the replacement flapper while we were on vacation). Previous one and this new one, and leak persists--and inspection shows no problems with it.

    What is involved in replacing the tube? Never done that.
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would toss that junk replacement flapper as the first step...
  15. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Pick up a new flush valve and tank to bowl kit from a plumbing supply. You will need to remove the tank from the bowl, underneath there will be a gasket, remove this then loosen the large nut to remove the valve. Replace the valve, gasket and bolts and put the tank back on.
  16. mikepl

    mikepl New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Texas
    I have almost the exact situation described here. Briggs two piece toilet, water leaks from tank into bowl. Turning off the water, the tank drains almost completely (below the flapper at least). I have replace the fill tube assembly twice along with the tank gasket between the tank and bowl. No water on the outside of the toilet or on the floor. When I remove the tank, there is water "inside" the gasket, which to me, means water is leaking from around the fill tube.

    I'm not using any putty inside the tank under the fill tube (because replacement kits don't call for it). Should I be using putty to ensure the seal?
  17. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,816
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Shouldn't need putty to ensure the seal; if it is leaking around the intersection between the flush valve and the china tank, I'm surprised you're not seeing even a little water on the underside of the tank or on the china below or the floor. Any leakage around the interface between the flush valve and the china tank shouldn't be able easily to get into the bowl; it's hard to imagine how an entire tank of water could squeeze between the flush valve and the tank-to-bowl gasket and into the bowl without a drop ending up on the floor.

    When you say it's going below the flapper, do you mean that the water literally drops to a point below any portion of the rubber flapper, that if you opened the flapper not a drop would pass into the flush valve? When you changed what you call the fill tube assembly, does that mean you changed out the entire flush valve and flapper, i.e. removing the tank, removing the tank-to-bowl gasket, undoing the nut, and removing and replacing the whole valve? If so, my only thoughts would be: (1) when you run your finger over the hole where the flush valve goes, is the surface nice and even and smooth and there are no rough spots or cracks in the porcelain? I have seen the Loves suggest a light sanding of the bolt holes, so perhaps a light sanding of this area would be prudent before trying your third flush valve assembly; (2) if you get another flush valve, I have had great success with the Korky 4030PK flush valve kit with tank-to-bowl gasket and hardware. You get their nifty valve with extra-large, twist and slide to right height overflow riser [no cutting necessary], a Korky plus flapper, and decent hardware. They also give you enough hardware to double-nut the tank-to-bowl connection (i.e. mount bolt and rubber washer on inside of tank and hex nut and metal washer on outside, then insert that bolt into bowl and put another rubber washer, another metal washer and another hex nut on the underside of the bowl, which is the superior way of mounting the tank on the bowl). If you center that valve in the hole, it has a big thick-ish gasket that puffs when compressed and sealed up nicely in the (now 3) toilets in which I have used it. I know this may seem elementary, but just be sure that you actually read the instructions and make sure that the right hardware goes on the correct side (i.e. inside or outside) of the tank.

    If the water is actually going into the bowl, and it is not siphoning because the refill hose is stuck down into the overflow riser, and it isn't escaping around the flapper and it the chain isn't caught under the flapper, and the flush valve assembly isn't cracked and the china isn't cracked, then I don't see how the water is getting into the bowl.

    For what it's worth, the Korky instructions are so clear and provide such a good illustrated anatomy lesson for the toilet and its operation, it's worth reviewing them and mentally checking against what you have done in your past installations... Korky Flush Valve Kit Installation Instructions PS Step 9 in those instructions is a little outdated; Korky will currently give you a clip that stands the refill hose above the lip of the overflow riser, to ensure there is no siphon created by the refill tube dropping below the water line inside the overflow riser (a very common cause of water flowing from the tank to bowl); it is properly shown in the diagram at the top of the instructions.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    I'd check the big nut on the bottom of the tank that holds the overflow/flapper valve assembly to the tank. It can leak there, and often, it can just go into the bowl without showing a leak onto the floor. If there is any bumps or dips in the porcelain or the valve seat assembly, and the nut isn't tight enough, that can lead to leaks. If the water actually gets below the lip of the flapper valve seat, then it has to be leaking out either underneath that assembly, or the fill valve, but if it was the fill valve, it would be leaking onto the floor as well.
  19. Joshua Mackinlay

    Joshua Mackinlay New Member

    Much appreciated ! You may also take help form professional, for that visit at http://www.andersonplumbingheatingandair.com/
  20. Robert Kosta

    Robert Kosta New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Washington
    Ok, I have the same issue. Two flappers replaced, tried nice Korky. Still the tank empties halfway and I get ghost flushes. There is no siphon problem since the hose is barely in the overflow tube.
    I noticed there is black color that comes off when I rub at the seal beneath the flapper seal (where it meet the tank, not the flapper), like ink. No leakage onto the floor. Chain is not getting caught. How is the water getting into the bowl?
    Photos:

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    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
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