Thursday, July 16, 2009

7-16-09: A Fixed Toilet

The last week or so has seen some troubling times for the toilet in my apartment's bathroom.

It had been running, ever so slightly. For a while it was roughly every 10 minutes between fill cycles. Then, after a quick flap replacement by my landlord Mark, the problem seemed to go away.

One flush later, it was back. That was Monday night.

On Tuesday night, my landlords Mark and John came over (they live right next door) and sought to fix the problem. They replaced the overflow pipe, which was the next logical thing to replace, and put some sealant around the gasket. After some trial and error (and two hours' time), the problem went away. The issue was simply that a slow trickle of water was flowing into the bowl, which lowered the tank level until it refilled.

After the (sadly temporary) fix, John lamented in frustration: "Well, that's all we can do. If this doesn't work, we'll need to buy a new toilet." They're good guys.

On my way to the gym this morning (before work), I hesitated before flushing the toilet. I had a bad, sinking feeling that it wouldn't work. And, sure enough, my premonition came true, and the leak returned. Frustrated, and running a little late, I ran out the door.

When I got home from work, I was dead set on finding the problem. I told my landlord John about the problem, and he was simply at a loss. He Googled common toilet problems, and it came down to one of two common problems: a bad flap (unlikely since Mark put in a new one on Monday) or that the tank water level came too high and went into the overlow pipe (not at all the case). So, we were, once again, stumped. And, on top of that, the frequency of refills had dropped down to once every three minutes. It was officially annoying.

After hearing it go off about an hour ago, I decide to try to find the problem with the help of the trusted Google search engine. After about three minutes of searching, I came across's help article on common toilet problems.

Here was one of the common problems - and solution - this absolute genius (no sarcasm!) described:

Dripping and Tank Filling

After the tank has filled, you hear dripping. Then several minutes later, the tank partially fills with water and the dripping starts again. Then the tank fills and so on and so forth. This problem can be a syphon problem caused by someone who installed a new tank fill valve. There is a small flexible tube that runs from the bottom of the valve to the top of the toilet overflow tube. As the tank fills, water is also sent through this tube. It is used to refill the toilet bowl since it lost its water during the flush. If this tube drops down inside the overflow tube, it can, in some instances, syphon water from the tank. New toilet fill valves often have a clip that attaches to the top of the overflow tube and points the water flow down into the tube without actually having the tube enter the tube. Pretty slick? It works too! Use the clip!

My exact problem. I then walked over to the toilet, took off the tank lid, and lifted the fill tube up. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Thank you,

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