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toilet runs periodically

Hi, our toilet was running so we replaced the flapper. This helped but now every few hours it will run again. We put some food coloring in the bowl & it's definitely leaking at the flapper. I've cleaned the rim underneath & adjusted the chain a few times. Any other suggestions? Maybe we should keep adjusting the chain a little (there are a few holes on the arm). I also read somewhere that you can put something like a quarter on the flapper to help weigh it down. Not sure if this is a good long term solution. The new flapper looks exactly like the old one so I don't think we bought the wrong kind.

Thank you in advance for any help!

Re: toilet runs periodically

Don't blame the flapper when it could be the overflow tube (usually 1" in diameter & made of brass or plastic)---click onto item 4 "tank troubles" in the 1st site below.

The overflow tube is notorious for developing small corrosion leaks at the base of the tube that show up as "veins" of leaking water that are very hard to see or hear dripping---the leak often shows up as a slight leak in the bowl; shine a bright lite down the tube & check if you see any "veins"; replace the tube if uncertain or if it is old.

Temporarily weigh down the flapper to see if the leak stops.


Re: toilet runs periodically

If the only leak is into the bowl, it could be the flapper or the tank-to-bowl drain gasket. If you solve your problems with these two, your total will be about $10.

For folks who can't stop the leak, and who spend too much time on a project like this, including endless trips to the hardware store, I recommend this: replace the tank, you'll be ahead AND you will have a new tank. Universal tanks sell for $50 or less.

Re: toilet runs periodically

Replacing the working parts of a toilet is incredibly easy and inexpensive. For less than $20 you can get all the replacement parts, and the only tools you need are a flat screwdriver and "channel lock" pliers.

Typically, you'll find three kits, though they may be bundled:

  1. Fill (float) valve
  2. Flush (flapper) valve
  3. Tank-to-bowl bolt & gasket

Most fill valves and flush valves are universal and will fit almost any toilet. There are very few exceptions, but take the old parts in to the store to make sure you get parts that will fit. Hint: some of the models look radically different than what you have, but they'll work just as well. A few tips:

  1. You don't need to remove the bowl from the floor. That will just make the job messier and more frustrating.
  2. You may need to cut down the overflow tube. The length from the lowest part of the rim the flapper rests on to the top of the overflow tube should be the same on the new one as on the old one. (Don't just make the overall length the same; make sure the difference is the same.) Use a hacksaw or tubing cuter.
  3. On the fill valve, there will be a mark labeled "CL." This mark must be ABOVE the top of the overflow tube to prevent siphoning back into the water supply.
  4. Some toilets will have three tank-to-bowl bolts; most have two. Make sure the bolts are solid brass, not steel.
  5. There are numerous variations of the tank-to-bowl gasket. Make sure you get the right one.
  6. The instructions included with the tank-to-bowl bolts are wrong. Do not install a metal washer between the head of the bolt and the rubber washer, or between the rubber washer and the tank. The only parts inside the tank are the bolt head and the rubber washer.
  7. Tighten the tank-to-bowl nuts until the tank no longer rocks. If you can't tighten it any more and it's still rocking, the gasket may be too thick, or you may need to remove the nuts from between the tank and the bowl, only using the bottom nut under the bowl flange.
  8. When tightening plastic nuts, don't tighten more than 1/2 turn beyond hand tight.
  9. When adjusting the float, the water level is usually 1" below the top of the overflow tube. You may need to vary this for proper flushing action.
Re: toilet runs periodically

Also try cleaning the part the flapper rests against. Sometimes wee beasties move in and cause problems.

Re: toilet runs periodically

Fencepost, I like your #6 and #7 ideas- I have done both for years and find it works best. The washer under the screw does not seal between the washer and the screw. Without it there is nowhere for water to enter the joint. And if the tank-to-bowl torque is tight enough, the tank-to-screwhead connection will be too. I've encountered more that a few leaky toilets where the nuts under the tank prevented the tank-to-bowl connection to be tight enough and I've sen cracked bowls from someone trying to tighten it more or rocking the tank.

One more thing I'd add is to also use brass nuts on those brass bolts if you can. The plated steel ones are OK, but will eventually rust due to condensation drips which cannot be totally eliminated. The dissimilarity of the two metals will also induce corrosion, even if the steel is stainless and not just plated. Some of the old screws had brass bolts, and if they do I reuse those and chunk the new nuts into the trash where they belong.

If more than a flapper or fill valve is needed for a toilet, rebuild the whole tank assembly while you're in there. It's cheap, easy, and will keep you from having to go back in there for a long time to come. Use good parts from a plumbing supplier for this- the cheap stuff from the big box store will work but the better stuff is well worth the slightly higher cost. If all you have is big box stores as a source, get a "Korky" brand kit. Their fill valve is much better than the "Fluidmaster" brand- just my opinion but for good reasons and proven as based on my experience with both brands.


Re: toilet runs periodically

Nice sharing...

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