A Running Toilet Tank

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copyright 2001 G.G. Alonzy

Dear NH,
After replacing all parts in my toilet tank, I continue to have a minor leak into the bowl. I've installed five new and different style flappers and two new flush valves without success. The water fill valve is new and seems to work fine. Moving the flappers around to possibly find a better seal has not worked. The leak is only a small drop of water. I would appreciate any suggestions you could give me on this problem.
DM from Lantana, Florida

Leaking into the bowl is typically a flapper problem, not a flush (inlet) valve problem (unless you can actually see or hear water leaking from the inlet valve). Usually but not always... there is a slight possibility that the leak is from a crack in the overflow tube or in the flapper base/seat. Can you hear the sound of dripping? If so, reach into the tank (roll up your sleeve!!) and press the flapper firmly down against the seat. Stay still and listen. Does the dripping noise stop within a minute or so? You have to give the toilet a little time to purge itself of water accumulated around the inside of the rim.

If the dripping stops, then the problem is either 1) the flapper not being perfectly compatible with the existing seat or 2) the flapper seat being warped or damaged. Some toilets can be very finicky in their preference for flappers! As a matter or fact, I have worked in homes where two toilets of the same brand installed at the same time needed different brands of flappers to work properly! Why this is I will leave to the philosophers… my job is simply to make things work!

If your "pressing" efforts fail, you will need to replace the flapper seat. There is an easy and a hard way to do this. The hard way is to completely replace the flapper seat, which is the entire assembly the flapper attaches to. This is somewhat involved since you must first disconnect the water supply from the tank and disconnect the tank from the bowl. You can get a replacement at most any good hardware store. Don't neglect to replace the tank-to-bowl seal and the mounting bolts as well.

I'm not one to do things the hard way. An easier fix (and one that saves plumber's time and customer's money) is to install a "Flush Fixer". This is a patented Fluidmaster product which replaces both the flapper and seat without any disassembly of the toilet at all! The new seat assembly, which includes a new flapper, is simply epoxied onto the old seat after the seat is thoroughly cleaned. The new flapper is replaceable so you needn't worry about having to do this repair again when the flapper wears out (and you know it will). Most hardware stores sell "Flush Fixers", and I have yet to have one fail… when installed correctly!

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