Perplexing Toilet Issue

Messages
430
Location
pennsylvania
I have an issue with my one toilet that is driving me crazy!!!! It will run by itself sometimes for about 4 seconds which indicated I have a leak somewhere inside. 90% of the time the flapper valve is the problem. I changed it, and made sure the chain was not caught on anything and still water gets into the bowl. I then tried a test I learned from a plumbing friend of mine: Mark the back of the tank at the water line with a pencil. Then turn the water supply off. Wait 30 minutes. If water level stays at the pencil mark, the leak is occurring at the refill valve. It the water level falls below the pencil mark, the leak is the flush valve. When I turn the water supply off, the water completely empties from the tank. Many people told me the flush valve rarely goes bad. Any suggestions??
 
Messages
2,547
Location
IL
Cracked porcelain? Check for foreign material under flapper valve. When did it start doing this?
 
Last edited:
Boy, that's what I love about BITOG; although this primarily a oil enthusiast web site, the occasional toilet/ plumbing post comes in just to shake us out of our "rut"! Don't have anything I can add to help you but I did pick up two excellent tips on how to diagnos toilet troubles! Hope we can help you to get this resolved! Good luck!
 
Messages
9,086
Location
Illinois
I've asked in the past if there could be a forum here for "home/apartment" types of issues... but unfortunately, it never happens. Everyone who visits here has to live somewhere... right?
 
Messages
2,081
Location
California
Sometimes the flush valves do go bad. If it's an older toilet that uses a normal flapper, try a black Korky flapper. In my experience, they seal better than others. Before you change the flapper, though, run your finger around the rim of the flush valve where the flapper seats. It should be perfectly smooth. If a flapper doesn't solve the problem, you may have to replace the flush valve.
 
Messages
7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
I'm with Stelth on this one. Change the whole flush valve assembly and then take it from there. (You'll have to replace the 2 brass tank mounting bolts with fresh new ones in this case) Also: adding food dye to observe leakage is a good one also. (*fluidmaster sells a full flush valve kit for cheep, just get that and be over with it*) Q.
 
Messages
362
Location
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: williestreet
Put Food coloring in the tank will confirm the flapper is leaking.
+1...this test will confirm the leak is at the flush valve. I don't see how the leak can be at the fill valve since the water supply line is always at positive pressure (typically ~30 - 60 psi) when the supply is turned on. In addition, there is no direct path to the bowl, so any leak would show up on the floor. The tube to refill the bowl is above the flush valve pipe by design to provide a siphon break. I suggest trying a Fluidmaster "Bullseye" flapper valve. It is made of higher grade red silicone rubber, not black nitrile rubber, just like a premium ADBV. This flapper has rigid black plastic frame arms that precludes warpage from chlorine, thus ensuring proper seat alignment. Be sure to get the non-adjustible Dura-flush version of the "Bullseye" flapper since it is cheaper & more reliable than the adjustible Adjust-a-flush version. http://www.homedepot.com/b/Plumbing-Plum...N-5yc1vZc69oZl3
 
Last edited:
Messages
7,117
Location
MIchigan
Sounds like the flapper isn't getting a good seal on the valve. Get a scotchbrite pad a scrub the inside and outside of the valve to remove the mineral buildup. Also if the chain is to loose it can fall on the valve before the flapper does. Leaving a gap there causing water to leak into the bowl.
 
Messages
25,814
Location
Upstate NY
I have also seen where a toilet was lifted off by the tank (I assume) and after it was put back it leaked out of the bolts used to attach the tank to the base. The leak was onto the floor. I did not notice until the ceiling below had an issue.
 

GGorman04

Thread starter
Messages
430
Location
pennsylvania
Guys thanks for the tips!! I did the food coloring test but only had pink color. It did NOT go into the bowl. That would indicate it is not the flapper correct? I already used a scotchbrite on the seat to make sure it was smooth. I am using a korky red flapper. Is the flush valve hard to install?
 
Messages
3,203
Location
Southeastern, PA
I had an interesting issue with my flapper valves. The toilets are Briggs Vacuity, which take a flapper valve that seems a little different from most. At first I tried some generic flapper valves from the hardware store, but the results were not satisfactory. Then I ordered some OEM flapper valves. I was surprised when I examined the new OEM vs. the old OEM (~10 years old). The new OEM were considerably softer and more pliable than the old flapper valves. The rubber of the old flapper valves had stiffened considerably over the years and that was the problem. The new OEM flapper valves did the trick. I just made an adjustment to the chain. Every once in a great while it would flip over the flush lever and hang open. I repositioned the chain to eliminate this problem. The flapper seat does have to be good. A long time ago, my mother's toilet was running incessantly. This was on a very old toilet, probably about 60 years old at that time. I ended up having to sand and polish the flapper seat due to corrosion and pitting, and that fixed the problem. She had a lot of old appliances, but they were all well kept. smile Well, that's my toilet thoughts for the day. double vanos, yeah, I like this site too for the well rounded knowledge.
 
Messages
3,203
Location
Southeastern, PA
Originally Posted By: GGorman04
Guys thanks for the tips!! I did the food coloring test but only had pink color. It did NOT go into the bowl. That would indicate it is not the flapper correct? I already used a scotchbrite on the seat to make sure it was smooth. I am using a korky red flapper. Is the flush valve hard to install?
Nah, they're not too bad. You may want to also replace the flex line that connects to the fill valve. I seem to remember that they have an o-ring or elastometric seal at the connection.
 

GGorman04

Thread starter
Messages
430
Location
pennsylvania
Rick, I noticed that had home depot sells a korky easy fix flush valve with a silicone sealant that I may try. When I run my finger around the seat, I can feel that its not smooth to the touch. I would rather try the easiest solutions first then proceed if it does not work. Also, the toilet is a Briggs 4430. Strange because the original flapper to me looked like it was not a quality piece.
 
Messages
22,188
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted By: Quest
(*fluidmaster sells a full flush valve kit for cheep, just get that and be over with it*) Q.
I recommend people do this with ANY toilet problems. If you can't figure out whether the flapper is leaking or it's the fill valve, get a fluidmaster kit and be done with it.
 
Messages
362
Location
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: GGorman04
... It did NOT go into the bowl. That would indicate it is not the flapper correct?
You should let the dye sit in the tank (unflushed) overnight to perform the test. It takes a good bit of seepage to be visable in the bowl, even if you use a dark blue food coloring dye. As for the quick repair kit, I would not go that route. Just get the Fluidmaster kit and do it right. Note: if you replace the entire flush valve, you might have to cut down the overflow tube height to match your existing configuration. Not hard to do with a hacksaw or utility knife.
 
Messages
505
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
There's a chance the seals under the bolts that hold the tank to the bowl have gone bad. There's usually three of 'em kinda around the flapper valve. For many toilets this will cause a leak to the floor. But a few have recessed areas on the bowl that drain into the bowl so any water that gets past the seal on the bolts will not leak to the floor. The assembly the flapper valve attaches to has a gasket as well - to seal it to the bottom of the tank. It can leak and will also drain into the bowl. For many of these reasons and a few I haven't mentioned, I'd remove the tank and replace the whole insides. If you have a plumbing supply place nearby the costs can be surprisingly low - much less than a plumber's service call. You will need the big wrench to remove the large nut on the bottom of the tank. It's a big, odd looking adjustable. Yep, I've fixed too many toilets. Former handyman. Good Luck! This might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6J0QRBBmvw
 
Last edited:
Messages
5,108
Location
Columbus,Nebraska
On a Kohler one-piece toilet I had, the gasket for the plastic drain/overflow unit sealed to the toilet with a rubber gasket which developed a leak. Gasket was only sold with the plastic drain unit.
 
Messages
505
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
If you replace the fill valve, you will probably need to replace the supply line. Flexable stainless steel is the way to go here. If the original is not a straight shot you can get a longer line and loop it so there is no stress on the fittings. Take the supply pipe with you to match it as there are several types of fittings. A tip to help find leaks is to use a little bathroom tissue. You can be tricked using just your fingers, so use some tissue and you can find the smallest amount of water. Again, good luck!
 
Messages
6,614
Location
southeast US
Originally Posted By: mrsilv04
I've asked in the past if there could be a forum here for "home/apartment" types of issues... but unfortunately, it never happens. Everyone who visits here has to live somewhere... right?
This is extremely helpful forum for the DIY types. Now that I think about it, people who do their own oil changes are going to be handy at other things. It must be a genetic thing. I exposed my son to working on car and other things and he was very disinterested and had 2 left hands for that, but he cooks well and is very social (just like his mommy).
 
Top