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Thread: Toilet bowl loses water slowly

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Skpow's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Durham nc

    Default Toilet bowl loses water slowly

    I have read the other posts about this issue, but mine seems slightly different.

    The toilet on the ground level on a slab loses water from the bowl slowly after a flush until it is empty. Also it flushes fine. The other toilet in the house on the second floor is fine. The problem bowl isn't exacerbated by flushing of the other toilet or using the washer. There are also no signs of leaking of water on the floor around the toilet and the toilet is secure to the floor.

    If it were a venting issue the second floor toilet would be effected too, correct?

    Both toilets are at least 6 years old and are gerber brand.

    The lids are down so it's not the dog. I also plunged the problem toilet and it didn't seem to help.

    Is it a vent issue or do I need to go toilet shopping?

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    New York, NY


    Okay. Let's try to help.

    Question: The toilet is six years old and this is a new development, right?
    It seems to happen "slowly" -- give us some color on how slowly. An hour? Six hours? Does it always happen now or just sometimes?
    Also, how "empty" is empty? Like basically all the way out?
    And to confirm, we are talking about the bowl not the tank, right?
    And nothing to your knowledge has changed in your plumbing system in the last year, say?

    Assuming we have a handle on the facts, my first reaction is either (a) a crack or (b) something wicking water over the weir in the area that you can't really see. You could use a mirror or the camera on a smartphone to look up the far side of the hole and see if there's anything stuck up in there that could act as a wick -- even dental floss. (Do this with the bowl empty, of course; my phone, at least, isn't waterproof.) You also might see a crack that would be letting the water run from the bowl into the trapway and thus just down the drain.

    If it's what you are calling a venting issue (i.e. another toilet siphoning the bowl), I have to think that it would tend to happen in fits and starts, not just slowly, and not consistently. But I will let the others on here comment on that.

    As to whether if it were a venting issue it would affect the other toilet, that is all going to depend on where and how each is vented, but like I say this doesn't strike me immediately as a "venting" issue.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 11-22-2012 at 04:11 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Skpow's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Durham nc

    Default More details

    The toilet is at least 6 years old, but there is a good chance the previous owners updated them when they updated the bathrooms. The structure itself is only 15 years old...so it's new.
    The water leaves the bowl slowly. Right after a flush it goes down maybe an inch and then in the morning it is almost empty. By almost empty the water level just covers the hole. This has been consistently happening for the past three days. It could have been happening for longer but it isn't my primary bathroom. I watched the water level for about 3 hours and it wasnt empty in the time. It was low when I got back from dinner, so I am guessing it drains in about 6 hours.

    And we are talking about the bowl not the tank. I replaced the tank workings a little over a year ago. Nothing else has changed about the house plumbing.

    I will get a mirror and investigate the hole today. I plunged a few times so I would think I would dislodge something that ws acting as a wick.

    Thanks for your help.

  4. #4
    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Warren, MI


    Not sure if I'm having a Black Friday or a Senior Moment? What would it prove if one could cover the toilet bowl completely with some clingy plastic like used for cooking? If it's a venting issue, wouldn't it try to pull the plastic down or concave?
    Retired Machine Repairman
    Just a DIY'r

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    It's almost never a venting problem. Most likely it is a crack or hole has opened (sometimes, they plug production or defect holes). Depending on where it is, it could easily drain down the drain and not show any leaks.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    The only way a toilet bowl can lose water other than flushing, is a leak that will let the water go into the drain. You can let a toilet sit unused for weeks with the only loss of water from evaporation. I suppose there is the slight possibility of siphoning, but that anything that was large enough to really drain the bowl would be easy to see and probably would flush out anyway. I'm with Jim on this one, you've got a defective bowl...AS???

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