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Thread: Toilet bowl loses water slowly

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Skpow's Avatar
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    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?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Default

    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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    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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    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?
    Bill
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    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
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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    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???

  7. #7
    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    I've never mentioned or talked about toilets to family and friends.

    Not sure how normal this is but when it's windy outside the WL in both of my toilets bob up/down. I've seen this for years but one time it was going up/down like an inch. That time I talked to my neighbor, he noticed the same thing and there was a city water truck going around in the area.

    A few days ago, my new AS toilet seemed to short fill the bowl and was bobing pretty good but there was no wind. The bobing went away and it filled to its normal level from then on.

    Isn't it possible that something could cause it to pull much more water from the bowl?
    Bill
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  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Skpow's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies.
    I ruled out venting because I only have one vent, so both toilets would be acting up. Also, it really hasn't been windy and the bowl water was still while I was staring at it.

    The toilet is a Gerber.

    I will get a replacement and let you all know how it turned out.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    If you are going to replace it, consult Terry's toilet consumer reviews above. He doesn't service your area, but the advice is valid everywhere, and his prices give you an idea of what a plumbing supply store could charge as a decent price, although lower or higher prices may apply in different sources or channels. One thing to note is that many members here have reported that they found a wide variety of prices just in their local area in calling around; I mean like more than $100 wide. So there is someone near you that has, say, a Toto you may like at a good price; you just have to call around and bargain a bit.

    I have two original Toto Drakes and a Toto Carlysle II, and we think they are fabulous.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Gerber is not a highly recommended toilet on this forum. Think Toto.

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A toilet bowl is a full cup of water...rock it (or push it around with air pressure), and some will slosh over the edge (in this case, it's called the weir, or the neck of the bowl outlet which is sort of like the spout on a sprinkler can). It sloshes because of air pressure changes. It's not really being sucked out, but rocked back and forth, and some spills out.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    Retired Machine Repairman wptski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    A toilet bowl is a full cup of water...rock it (or push it around with air pressure), and some will slosh over the edge (in this case, it's called the weir, or the neck of the bowl outlet which is sort of like the spout on a sprinkler can). It sloshes because of air pressure changes. It's not really being sucked out, but rocked back and forth, and some spills out.
    How does it rock the the water without a suction action? It isn't tipping the bowl like a sprinkler can.
    Bill
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  13. #13
    In the Trades Towers Plumbing's Avatar
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    I'm going with a crack in the bowl itself, somewhere that allows it to leak directly into the drain. Usually on the inside on the trapway.

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