Flapper leak - hard to fix

Discussion in 'Toilets and Sinks' started by txjeff, May 12, 2012.

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  1. May 12, 2012 #1

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    Hi all. Got a toilet tank with a leaking flapper/valve seat. Tried a new flapper, it leaked worse. Put back original. Only thing that helps is using a rough sponge to clean the valve seat rubber, but I have to do it at least every two days or it leaks again. Here's a link for the typical setup: http://www.toilet-repairs.com/photos-diagrams/toilet-float-ball-flapper-diagram.gif

    Do I need to replace the entire tank workings? I have a second toilet where I put in a new flapper and cleaned it and it's been fine. But the first one is just not cooperating.
     
  2. May 12, 2012 #2

    johnjh2o

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    If that's the setup you have it's ancient. I haven't worked on one like that is 30 years. There are so many things that can go wrong with it. (guide arm could be loose or worn, upper or lower lift wires could be bent and there are also three different sized flush balls) Do yourself a favor and replace the flush valve with one that has ears on it. Fluid master makes a kit with every thing you will need. This is the kit you will need. It also includes a new tank to bowl gasket w/the nuts bolts and washers needed.

    http://www.fluidmaster.com/our-products/flush-valves-repair-kits/complete-2-flush-valve-kit.html

    John
     
  3. May 13, 2012 #3

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    Hi John. Thanks for replying. I may have mislead a bit using using that web search image link. The home is only 4.5 years old. I meant to simply show that it is the type of system with a float and arm to turn off the valve and a rubber type flapper that simply swings on the two hinge arms when flushed and then drops down to cover the seal with a float to hold it from dropping too fast allowing a sufficient flush time. Of course, like most modern toilets, to get a sufficient flush, you have to hold the handle for seconds to get enough power. I don't believe it had leaking issues for the first couple of years and then it starting getting worse. I thought that just cleaning the surfaces would be sufficient and/or replacing the flapper.

    Interesting that I bought a flapper from Walmart (this model with ring removed http://www.walmart.com/ip/Plumb-Craft-Adjustable-Flapper/15389033) and this fixed our toilet #2. But they only had one in stock. So I went to Lowes and got a "similar" one, but black, and it was worse than the original on toilet 1.

    I went back to Walmart yesterday and they are still out of stock of the other model. So I ordered one from Amazon. I figured if it worked on the other toilet, maybe it will work on the first since they are the same everything. I'll let you know how futile that plan is.

    What I find interesting in all the ads for this model flapper, http://www.walmart.com/ip/Plumb-Craft-Adjustable-Flapper/15389033, is that it says it's "adjustable". That seems to be untrue. It is just a molded rubber flapper with no moving dials or parts and a chain to open it. That's it. Yet if you Google this model every single ad says it's adjustable. I wrote to one seller to see if I could figure out why this is being falsely advertised everywhere. Even on Ebay.

    I did read that some experts find this type of flapper to be a frustrating type to get to seal well.

    If this doesn't work out, I will buy a kit and replace the whole assy.

    thanks.
     
  4. May 13, 2012 #4

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    PS: I got a reply from the Wayfair flapper seller on Ebay and he too is scratching his head as he is simply a reseller. He is going to check with the mf'er tomorrow and get back with me.
     
  5. May 13, 2012 #5

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    Here are some picks of tank in my house:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  6. May 14, 2012 #6

    johnjh2o

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    The reason you have to hold the handle is because the chain from the handle to the flapper is to long. There should be very little slack in it when the flapper is down. This may also be your problem of it not sealing. If the chain is to long it can get caught between the flapper and it's seat.

    John
     
  7. May 14, 2012 #7

    txjeff

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    Actually, you can't tell from the picture, but I did remove most of the slack by using a clip affair to tie up some links. So I really did try to make the slack the most efficient length along with ensuring it wouldn't snag when the lever is released. And I tested it a bunch of times. It's not so much the slack in the chain as it is simply at what water level drop allows the flapper to drop and reseal after opening. If I simply hit the lever quickly, it will drop about 2/3 and then reseal. If I hold the lever, it will mostly empty the tank allowing the most wash. I just think these lesser capacity toilets become two flushers, which mostly defeats the purpose.

    I know they make flusher kits that allow you to adjust the flush power with a setting. I have been disappointed at how often the toilets get clogged, even with holding the lever sometimes. You've seen commercial toilets that simply blast waste down. These retail units are not nearly as powerful.
     
  8. May 14, 2012 #8

    phishfood

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    That appears to be an American Standard Cadet toilet. Am I correct?

    I have seen that particular toilet give many problems. Sometimes right away as soon as it is installed, sometimes as much as 9 or 10 years later. In fact, I have one in my own home that has done OK for 5 or so years, but now is starting to refuse to flush consistently. It will be replaced in the next week or so, as I have had almost no luck getting them to flush properly once they start acting up.
     
  9. May 14, 2012 #9

    bnut1973

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    In my opinion your better off changing all tank guts to modern ones
     
  10. May 14, 2012 #10

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    Wow. Good info. It is an American Standard. It says 6.0 LPF next to the name, if that helps. I will keep all suggestions deeply in mind. Part of my thinking though is affected by a potential job offer in another state in the near future. If that happens, I may just rent out the house for awhile, and even though the toilets are still my problem, at least they still mostly work. I'll leave the plunger behind. ;)

    I am going to consider changing out the guts if the flapper I just ordered also leaks. If I stayed here, I have to agree with phishfood, I think I would chuck the whole toilets and replace them with something better. btw, what is a good available toilet type?
     
  11. May 16, 2012 #11

    garyllantz

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    Check out the brand "Toto" toilets. I has good reviews but costs a little more. I replaced my toilet several years ago with a Toto and it works great!
     
  12. May 17, 2012 #12

    txjeff

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    Thanks for that feedback.
     
  13. May 19, 2012 #13

    bnut1973

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    A good toilet is kohler cimmeron. It's a good toilet for the price. A cheaper one for the price would be a american standard or a sterling. The kohler has a class 5 flush, which is basically a 1.6 gal flush all at once. The kohler is a little more $ but really worth it. Also sometimes when u go to flush a toilet and don't get a good swirl, the most common problem being is the rim holes are starting to get clogged. So in that case u need to take a small screwdriver and feel for the holes under the rim and clean them out. Well water will produce this problem alot quicker due to more natural chemicals in the water. Just a word of advise. Good luck everyone with your plumbing skills.
     
  14. May 19, 2012 #14

    bnut1973

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    Totos are really good toilets but are a pain in the but to install sometimes because there is a special mounting bracket for some of them. Make sure you get the regular mounting style if your not that experienced with the aspect of mounting a toilet. Good luck
     
  15. May 19, 2012 #15

    Mr_David

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    It looks like to me that the handle is pointing down into the tank to much. It should be resting above / or near the water line.
    Flappers are fickle. They cause the most call backs in toilet repairs.
    I dye test tank repairs with a few drops of food color after a new flapper is installed. If the new one leaks try a second one. IF that one leaks then it's probably a crack on the flush valve body or over flow tube. This will require pulling the tank off and replacing the flush valve.
    I personally don't like American Standard toilets. Kohler is what I normally install.
     
  16. May 19, 2012 #16

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    Thanks. As far as the handle pointing down too much, not sure what to tell you about that. The handle and rod assy simply go in one way and tighten with a nut. So how much it sags, I think, is simply part of the design. Not sure how I would affect that. From a flushing standpoint, it seems to be generally ok, and we can live with holding the handle a bit longer to let more water go through. But, regardless, it's still a weak flush. I read you when it comes to the flapper. I'll keep your suggestions in mind after I try the new flapper (yet to arrive). The leaking of the flapper is pretty obvious since you can hear it making the leaking sounds clearly. When it seats correctly, it's totally silent.
     
  17. May 19, 2012 #17

    txjeff

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    By the way, since, if I clean the female seal at the bottom of the tank with a scrungy sponge, and it seals fine for a day or two and then starts leaking again, this makes me suspicious of the water quality. In my town, there's a tendency to have allot of dissolved solids in the water. It seems to me, if those solids create enough buildup on the rubber surface, it would create and uneven seal. And then, by wiping it, it seems to have a smooth surface once again letting it seal. If that's the case, we may be in for problems regardless of the seal or flapper replacement. This is why I'm leaning toward a different type of system.

    But, to add a bit more confusion, if it was dissolved solids causing the issue then the toilet #2 in our house, after flapper replacement, would soon be leaking again too. Hmmm..
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  18. May 19, 2012 #18

    plumb247

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    I use Korky flappers they work for a wide range of toilets. Those toilets you may want to check to make sure the flapper chain isn't getting caught between flapper and flush valve. If so cut the chain a bit.
     
  19. May 19, 2012 #19

    plumb247

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    A few drops of food coloring will let you know if you have a leak from the tank. Just let it sit a bit then add drops. Let it sit. Also make sure the fill tube is not to long. If it is down in the overflow tube to far it will cause water to back siphon. Cut it off.
     
  20. May 20, 2012 #20

    txjeff

    txjeff

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    I'm positive it's the flapper and seal that begins leaking after awhile. As soon as I clean the seal and refill with water, it goes from the trickling leak sound to dead silent. And then after 10 or more hours I'd say, it starts making noise leaking a bit again and it gets somewhat more noisy to the point that the level gets low enough to trigger the valve and fill it up a bit. It is a very slow leak, but it's noisy enough that it's 10 feet from our bed so it makes you a bit nuts with water torture noise.
     

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