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"Help -- Toilet STILL leaking..." Topic

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5,368 hits since 1 Aug 2012
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Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 4:05 a.m. PST

I posted this over at a Home Improvement forum, but I thought I'd check with the Council of Really Smart Guys (that's you fellers) to see if anyone here can help me.


About a month ago a $90 USD water bill told us that we had a leak somewhere. We tracked it to an upstairs toilet that had a slow leak. I have no idea what the toilet model is -- it came with the house. (built in the 1970s). The first thing I did was change the flapper, but that didn't help.


- There is no water on the floor or between the tank and bowl.
- If you turn the water source off, the tank will empty in about 5-7 minutes.
- We put food coloring in the tank and confirmed that the water is leaking from the tank into the bowl.

Tonight I used a Fluidmaster Universal Complete repair kit to replace the Fill Valve and Flush Valve (I took the tank off and followed all instructions to replace all gaskets, washers, etc.). I have confirmed that there is no water leaking outside the tank and the brand-new flapper is snug.

But it's still leaking! ARRRRRRGH! I cannot articulate how ticked off I am right now.

I really don't want to call a plumber, but I may have to unless someone here can give me a suggestion on what to do next.

Any help you guys can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Who asked this joker01 Aug 2012 5:03 a.m. PST

Wow. Tough one. Leaks usually happen with the flapper or the wax ring that holds the toilet to the floor. You have replaced the "guts" of the toilet already. On top of that the toilet drains pretty quickly. The ring would only leak if the toilet is flushed. If no other water is visible then it still must be the flapper. Perhaps the rim where the flapper rests is cracked or something.

Cold Steel Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 5:09 a.m. PST

The tank might be cracked around the base. Did you replace the rubber gaskets around the bolts? Unfortunately, you have to remove the tank again to check either one.

If all else fails, before you call a plumber, replace the toilet yourself. They are not that expensive and pretty easy to replace. Essentially, disconnect the water supply, remove 2 bolts and the whole thing lifts right out. The folks at the big box store can show you how.

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 5:13 a.m. PST

I could also be the vertical tube-thing that acts as an overflow preventer drain. If it was cracked, or leaking at the bottom where it joins the tank you;d get the same drain-to-the-bowl effect.

The workaround is to turn the water supply valve off, and only fill the tank when you need to flush. It'll feel like you're camping, though.

galvinm Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 5:50 a.m. PST

CS has the idea. The price of a new toilet will be less than the cost of a plumber. That way, you know everything has been changed, and there should be no cracks/leaks anywhere.

Unfortunately, I've been there, done that.

Best of luck. It is aggravating. Why can't everything just work all the time?

jdpintex01 Aug 2012 6:09 a.m. PST

We had the same problem a few years back. I called a plumber and all he did was put on a different flapper, problem solved for $200. USD He smiled and told me that not all flappers work the same.

I would suggest going to Home Depot/Lowes and buy several different flappers and trying them out before calling a plumber.

korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2012 7:11 a.m. PST

This may sound silly but I had one that kept leaking once; turned out when I put the lid back on I'd not seated it right and it was holding the flush button slightly down….

Jovian1 Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 7:21 a.m. PST

For around $200 USD you could purchase a completely NEW toilet with all new fittings with the "power flush" technology.

Baring complete replacement – I would re-check to make sure that all of the fittings/seals are tight, that your water level has been checked and the float valve adjusted.

Jovian1 Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 7:26 a.m. PST

For around $200 USD you could purchase a completely NEW toilet with all new fittings with the "power flush" technology.

Baring complete replacement – I would re-check to make sure that all of the fittings/seals are tight, that your water level has been checked and the float valve adjusted.


striker801 Aug 2012 7:27 a.m. PST

Sounds like the float tower/overflow is leaking at the base where it meets the tank, you installed an incorrect flapper, or the chain to the flapper is a bit to short or the sealing surface has a build up on it. Drain the tank and check the sealing surface on the tank side of the flapper for dirt and cracks first, then check that the chain to the lever has a bit of slack, if both of those are good and it still leaks replace the guts of the toilet so you know everything is good and compatible.

I wouldn't replace the toilet unless there is no other option, plumbing installed before about 90 just can't handle the low flow toilets mandated by Uncle Fungo today. My dad replaced his circa 1960 toilet about 5 years ago and it takes multiple flushes and plugs up constantly due to not releasing enough water to move the waste through the old pipes.

TheStarRanger01 Aug 2012 7:56 a.m. PST

How low does the water in the tank get when you turn off the water and let it drain? That should tell you at what level the leak is.
If it gets below the level of the flapper, then the leak is in the drain seal or a crack in the tank.

enfant perdus01 Aug 2012 8:26 a.m. PST

Another vote for fiddling with your flapper. Sometimes they require a little fine tuning to get them to seat correctly.

If you go the route of replacing the whole toilet, rest assured it is pretty easy. Also, you can get chair height which (if you don't already have them) are sooooo much more comfortable.

And yes, it is insane that it's cheaper to buy a new toilet than have a plumber come out to fix a minor problem.

Brian Bronson Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 10:36 a.m. PST

I'll second enfant's recommendation for chair height. They are well worth it.

coryfromMissoula01 Aug 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

If the tank empties but there is no water on the floor or outside of the bowl replace the entire overflow tube. It requires taking the tank off of the base, but you should be able to do it for less than $25. USD

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 12:12 p.m. PST

Thanks guys. I already replaced the Overflow Tube (Flush Valve): It came with a flapper pre-installed, so that's not the issue.

There were no cracks around the bolt gaskets.

TheStarRanger: Checking the water level crossed my mind as I was reading about possible solutions last night. The leak is definitely below the flapper -- the tank is almost bone dry.

I'm thinking about drying out the tank and putting caulk around the outside of the Flush Valve/Overflow Tube assembly. I think it could work, but I don't like the idea of having to chip through that stuff if I ever have to replace it again.

Striker8: I'm with you -- the thought of those new "low flush" toilets and my old plumbing is not something I'd relish…

TheStarRanger01 Aug 2012 2:45 p.m. PST

It sounds like the seal between the fluch valve/overflow tube assembly and the tank. I did replace this same piece on an old toilet myself a week ago with I think a Fluidmaster kit too.

I do remember that I had to remove the big plastic hex nut and put on the gasket that was separate before I could put it in the tank.

Just making sure you did use that gasket and you did get that plastic hex nut tight to make a good seal. You probably did but that is where it sounds like the leak is.

Cold Steel Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

If you go the caulk route, use plumbers putty instead. It seals just as well and won't harden.

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 6:02 p.m. PST

Cold Steel: Excellent idea! I had forgotten all about Plumber's Putty. In fact, I think there was some on there in the first place.

The guy who used to own this house has a rather apt, but not nice, nickname given to him by me and my wife: The Half-Assed Handyman. Everything he did is okay, but not quite right. Shelves are not quite level. The swimming pool pump was not wired up to code, and there is putty where you don't expect it. I suspect he got an off-brand toilet that doesn't work with off-the-shelf fittings and that might be the problem.

Thanks one and all -- I will try to fix it with putty.

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Aug 2012 8:10 p.m. PST

Check the arc of the rubber fill hose in your tank. If the arc is too shallow the water will trickle through the hose down the tube--some kind of siphon effect, I guess.

Make sure the rubber fill hose has a nice high arc to it, as high as the toilet tank lid will allow.

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Aug 2012 1:53 p.m. PST

Toshach: I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean the water hose that is attached to the float? Where the water comes in when the float arm is down?

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member06 Aug 2012 6:46 a.m. PST

Sometimes,when flushing,the handle(on our loo) gets stuck resulting in the flap staying open until I work the handle a bit and the flap shuts properly.

skinkmasterreturns07 Aug 2012 1:45 p.m. PST

2 weeks ago mine was leaking,I just adjusted the float arm and it stopped(not saying thats your problem,just chiming in.)Now I have to pull the hot water faucet on my tub to replace the o rings and the seat,cause my tub keeps dripping.

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