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Toiletry plumbing woes

  1. Nov 5, 2008 #1

    DaveC426913

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    My toilet has to top up every ten minutes.

    At first, I thought it was a leaky valve, so I fiddled with it but it makes no difference.

    I think it has something to do with the overflow doo hicky.

    Is this a common problem with an easy fix?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2008 #2

    Chi Meson

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    Probably the flapper is leaky. That's an easy fix. Or is that what you meant by the "valve"?

    If it is the flapper, then fiddling with it might not fix it. They do decay over time. Usually the fit is standard. Get a good replacement, one that is adjustable. That is, you can control how much water it lets into the bowl before closing.

    If it's not the flapper, then maybe there's a leak through the tank. Are your bath mats often squishy?
     
  4. Nov 5, 2008 #3
    get a flushmaster
     
  5. Nov 5, 2008 #4

    Evo

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    I agree, it's the flapper. I've had that happen a number of times. $1.50 flapper, problem solved.
     
  6. Nov 5, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

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    An easy way to test for a leaky flapper valve is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank (I'd pick blue, since people seem to like to dye their toilet water blue anyway, and yellow or red just don't seem right :uhh:). If the next time you go to use the toilet, there's blue in the bowl, you have a leaky flapper valve.

    If it's the overflow, you can try adjusting the set screw on the ballcock (I hope the forum censor doesn't hassle me on that :rolleyes:). Ideally, you want the water volume in the tank to stop about 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe.

    And, as Chi suggested, the other possibility is a leak around the gasket between the tank and the bowl. If you notice moisture between the tank and bowl, that could be the culprit. When you do your food coloring test, stick a paper towel between the tank and bowl and see if it comes up damp/dyed.

    The other place I've run into trouble are the bolts between the tank and bowl. Those also have little rubber gaskets under them that can wear out/rot over time. That would likely be an obvious drip from the bolts.

    My experience is that "guts" for toilets are pretty inexpensive, so if it's not something simple like adjusting the set screw for the overflow, then it's usually easiest to just replace all the guts in the toilet at once. Usually once one rubber part starts rotting, the others are soon to follow, so I just do the whole shebang in one fell swoop rather than one part at a time.
     
  7. Nov 5, 2008 #6

    lisab

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    Seems unanimous. You need a new one of these -

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Nov 5, 2008 #7

    Moonbear

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    Missed that part the first time around.

    Toilets are crazy simple to fix!
    Step 1: turn off the water (hopefully you have a shut-off valve right under/behind the toilet somewhere, otherwise this ends up the hardest step if you have to find the main water shut-off to the house).
    Step 2: flush the toilet until most of the water is out of the tank.
    Step 3: soak up the remaining water in the tank.
    Step 4: follow instructions on replacement parts (everything just unscrews, the instructions will tell you the order). DON'T over-tighten the bolts between the bowl and tank...you can crack the porcelain. Everything else is amazingly idiot proof once you have the water drained out.

    The only time I had trouble was trying to get the bolts loosened on a toilet tank where the parts were so old the bolts had corroded and there was hardly any clearance for a wrench (my knuckles are protesting just remembering).

    Step 5: turn the water back on, adjust the valves for a proper refill volume.
    Step 6: check for any leaks and tighten screws as necessary.
    Step 7: breathe a sigh of relief as you relieve yourself (you just KNOW the moment you get the toilet apart, nature is going to call :biggrin:)
     
  9. Nov 5, 2008 #8
    coward
     
  10. Nov 5, 2008 #9

    Moonbear

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    Trust me, I've tried it the other way. Turning off the water first is preferable! (I had a shut-off valve to the toilet that didn't actually work, so after starting to disconnect things, learned I needed to work rather quickly between changing trash cans under the water supply hose. I decided to replace that.)
     
  11. Nov 5, 2008 #10

    DaveC426913

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    This obviously was the second suspicion but no, no water. I'll check with the food colouring.

    (P.S. I'm done with fuzzy things in the bathroom. Not around the toilet, not on the toilet. Never on the toilet, not while I live and breathe. Fuzzy toilet covers were invented by a misandrist.)

    Ah! The water fills right up to the top of the overflow and a little bit over.

    Yeah. I'll confirm with the food colouring but I don't think I'm having any external leaking problems.

    In fact, I'd bet money the eater's going into the bowl - I just wasn't sure if the flapoper was the only way that could happen. Thought perhaps the overflow might be the culprit.


    Oh, I'm not worried about fixing it; I've replaced all parts of a toilet several times. It's the diagnosis I'm not sure about. No point in replacing a perfectly good working part...

    Thanks all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  12. Nov 5, 2008 #11

    lisab

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    Well there's your problem. That flapper's hungry. Careful sitting down...:eek:
     
  13. Nov 5, 2008 #12
    Sounds like you should call Joe the Plumber.
     
  14. Nov 6, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    That's your problem then. If you have a nice, simple toilet valve with the ball on a stick float, there's a screw where it attaches to the valve. Just fiddle with that a bit until you get it adjusted so the water stops filling the tank a bit below the overflow. That's an easy fix without needing to replace any parts.

    However, if adjusting the screw doesn't do the job, it could be that the valve is getting sticky and not shutting off easily. That would usually require replacing it.

    If the overflow is obviously overflowing, no point fussing with the food coloring test...water gets into the bowl from the overflow too.
     
  15. Nov 6, 2008 #14

    wolram

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    rofl.
     
  16. Nov 6, 2008 #15
    First make sure there is no water running through the overflow pipe. Any water flowing through the overflow from the tank goes into the bowl. This water will carry color and will defeat the purpose of the food coloring flapper test.

    Usually "topping off" is caused by a leaking flapper. Overflow will cause the level of water in the bowl to increase without topping off. It is possible to have both problems. :eek:
     
  17. Nov 6, 2008 #16

    DaveC426913

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    This was my first assumption. I reached in and cleaned the rim as best as I could. Then, as a test, I wrapped the flapper in saran wrap to make a better seal. It made no difference at all (which is strange. If it were going to do anything, I would have thought it would as likely make the problem worse, by interfering with the seal.)

    The fact that the overflow is not behaving as it should leaves me to believe that the culprit lies there. The tank is filling too high. I will adjust the float.
     
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