My toilet leaks, but only when my mother-in-law uses it.

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by BrettS, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. BrettS

    BrettS New Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    OK, so I have kind of an odd problem. For two years now, as long as we've owned this house, one of the toilets leaks whenever my mother-in-law uses it. Luckily she lives in another state, so she only visits a couple of times a year, but whenever she is over a small puddle of water forms under the toilet whenever she uses it. After she leaves it stays dry until she comes back.

    It took me two years to figure out what was going on, but I was leaning on the toilet to reach for something the other day and I discovered that if you push back on the tank then water will leak out between the tank and the bowl. Apparently my mother-in-law must lean back whenever she uses the toilet.

    The tank doesn't seem terribly loose and it only leaks if there is some pressure pushing it back, so I was thinking I may just need to tighten the screws holding the tank on, but I didn't want to overtighten them and crack anything. Are there any guidelines for tightening the screws so I can make sure not to get them too tight?

    Otherwise, should I try to take the tank off and replace the seal? The house and the toilet are only 2 years old, so I can't imagine the seal is starting to degrade or anything yet, but I suppose it could have been defective or seated incorrectly.

  2. PlumbPowerHouse

    PlumbPowerHouse Plumber

    Dec 10, 2009
    South Carolina
    I would try tightening the tank. Tighten each side evenly, each side a couple turns at a time so that the tank doesn't lean. Tighten it until u can't push it back and have leaks. Your toilet shouldn't be able to do that.
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    An aid that may help you is to put a piece of paper between the tank and the bowl on each side. Tighten it until you start to get friction when you try to pull it out. You may not want to turn more than 1/2-turn at a time once you get close. Porcelain is strong, but is NOT springy...if you get it tight, you'll probably crack it, so it's best to avoid hard contact - a piece of paper is only a few thousandths thick.
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Oct 7, 2005
    I'd get a new mother out law. ;)
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