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Thread: Help! - Toilet keeps draining.

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  1. #1

    Default Help! - Toilet keeps draining.

    Hiya,

    I've never fixed a toilet before, aside from the occasional opening of the back lid and wiggling the thing-a-ma-bob.

    I have a toilet that keeps draining and draining. It essentially runs all the time, with the bowl never quite fillling up. I've checked the stuff in the back, and it all *seems* ok to me, but I think there's probably something I'm missing. Any ideas?

    I apologize I don't have the model number or the brand, I forgot to check before I left. It looks 'standard' to me though, nothing I haven't seen before. (I'm in Vancouver Canada, just in case there are different standards in different countries...;-)

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Time to get this fixed, a toilet running like that can create a major hit on your water/sewer bill, or mess up a septic system fast.

    ANyway, unless it is a pressure assist toilet, they almost all have a rubber flapper that is lifted when you push the lever down to flush the thing. Sounds like this is not seating properly and letting the water leak out faster than it can be filled up. It could be other things, but that is the first place to look. Sometimes, the chain that connects it to the lever gets kinked, and the thing is just hanging there a little above the seat (the place where the flap sits). These flapper valves often get soft and spongy, and don't make good seals anymore. If it is old, it wouldn't hurt to replace it, and it may be the source of your problem. While you are looking, check the seat - it should be smooth all the way around, or the rubber flapper valve won't be able to seal when it falls after the flush. Once in awhile, one of the arms of the flapper valve gets yanked off of one of the nubs that hold it to the overflow tube. If so, just replace it over the nub (unless it split - then replace the flapper valve).

    The last thing I can think of, is that the overflow pipe might (and this is rare) have a crack or hole in it, and thus letting all of th ewater from above that point flow down into the toilet, and thus, the tank can't refill and shut off.

    If you had said that it didn't shut off at all, and the tank had reached the top and was running down the top of the overflow, then it would be the filler valve assembly - the thing is not either adjusted right, or the valve is leaking, thus even though it is being told to turn off, it keeps running - like a leaky faucet.

    The most common thing is for the flapper valve to be worn out and needing replacement.

    While many will work, if it is a low-flow toilet, it is best to replace it with the manufacurer's brand, or one that is an exact fit. Otherwise, your low-flow toilet may flush lots more water (or not) depending on the flapper valve. But, if you can't find one of those right away, any flapper valve that fits (and it it fairly common in size between most brands) will save you far more water than worrying about the exact brand if you can't find it right away.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

    Default Help! Toilet keeps draining.

    Hey, thanks for getting back to me.

    I took a look and it actually seems like the flapper is sitting pretty snug on the bottom. It looks like the chain is behaving properly too.

    It stops running immediately if I lift up the float manually. The noise stops, the water stops, everything. (I only have to lift it an inch or so, maybe less.) As soon as I drop the float again, it all starts running again.

    From the sounds of that, could it still be the flapper? Can you think of anything else it might be? (Because it stops when I lift the float, I'm assuming that the overflow pipe doesn't have a crach in it.)

    Oh yeah, FYI the water isn't rising up and over the top of the overflow, so it's not the filler valve assembly like you mentioned. (I found another website with a good diagram of a toilet, so now I know all the names...;-)

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If this is a toilet with an old valve with a metal (or plastic) float on a long arm, then it is about time to replace it. There are several new valves available: Fluidmaster or Korky should be readily available and cost less than $10. They come with instructions on the box. Basically, shut the water off, unscrew the nut on the bottom to remove the water supply line to the toilet. Then, unscrew the nut that holds the filler assembly into the toilet, and then stick the new one in (depending on the type, you can either adjust the height where it shuts off in the tank after install, or you have to do it beforehand), reconnect the water, turn it on, and you're done. Shouldn't take more than 1/2 hour, probably less.

    Still have me wondering, though. Before you do that, shut the water off to the toilet, and let it sit for awhile. See if the water runs out of the tank. If it does, then it is still the flapper valve or a leak somewhere else. You might need a new filler valve as well, but if it leaks out, it can only go under the flapper valve, through a crack or hole in the overflow pipe, or under the seat of the flapper assembly hole.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 01-06-2005 at 03:30 PM.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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