Toilet leaking, but not when flushed?

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Old 08-25-14, 01:22 PM
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Question Toilet leaking, but not when flushed?

My toilet is leaking to the ceiling below, but it seems not when flushing normally. The only time it seems to leak is if the flapper in the tank got stuck open somehow and the water is flowing continuously. I thought it was the wax ring, which I replaced a few months ago. But the flapper got stuck again this weekend (for only a few minutes at most) and it leaked again. This time I pulled the toilet the same day to check, but the wax ring was fine and the strange thing is the area around the flange was dry. So I'm at a lost as to why and where it leaks when the flapper is stuck open but not when flushing normally, even after months of use. There was no water on the bathroom floor.

I'll probably have to hire someone for this, cutting a hole in the ceiling, etc, is way beyond my abilities. But I just want to check to see what I can expect.

Thanks
 
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Old 08-25-14, 02:55 PM
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Below the flapper where the tank seals to the bowl assembly (not the wax ring) only sees water when the flap is open. During a flush cycle the exposure is very short so you might not see the leak, but when it runs for several minutes the leak is sufficient to be noticed.

There are usually bolts between the tank and the bowl and they are supposed to hold the tank tight against its seal.

Just my guess,
Bud
 
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Old 08-25-14, 07:08 PM
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I put my fancy college education to use and get down on my hands and knees with a bright flashlight and look closely at the space between the tank & bowl. If you can't get in there to see you can wipe the outside of the toilet bowl with a piece of toilet paper to feel for a telltale leak or fine stream of water. Like Bud mentioned it could be the bolts or the seal between tank and bowl but since it sounds like it happens only around the time of a flush I'd suspect the tank to bowl seal. I would also not rule out a leaking wax ring.
 
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Old 08-25-14, 09:33 PM
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That's the thing, there is no water anywhere in the bathroom or around the toilet when the flapper is stuck and it runs. The only water comes out the ceiling below, and only when the toilet runs, not when flushing.

I think I figured out why the flapper gets stuck, so hopefully it won't get stuck anymore, but I would still want to figure out how and why it was leaking.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 06:48 AM
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Then I would pull the toilet and replace the wax ring. While the toilet is up inspect the floor for damage and repair any rotten wood before re-setting the toilet.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 03:00 PM
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Did that a few hours after the leak, the wax ring looked good and did not see any visible damage/cracks anywhere. The area around the flange was dry too. The only water I saw was on top of the wax ring, so I replaced it with a thicker one, maybe the seal wasn't good.

But I still don't know where the water is leaking from/to, since the area around the flange was dry. Maybe it's something strange going on with the pipe.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 03:50 PM
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The only water I saw was on top of the wax ring
Bingo! There should never be water on top of the wax ring. The wax ring should be smashed and totally deformed as the weight of the toilet shapes it to the desired contour. The toilet should "float" initially when placing the toilet down on it. Then you add your body weight to it until the wax ring compresses and the toilet seats on the floor. Then tighten the bolts down.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 05:22 PM
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If you still can't find the source of the leak put food coloring in the tank. It should leave tell tale streaks as it leaks out.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 06:15 PM
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Hi, Just a thought. Water on top of the wax ring, you pull the toilet you see the water, with the toilet in place you can't see the water. The flapper stuck up, lots of water. The water flows on top of wax ring over the side of the wax ring down on the floor under the toilet, down the side the toilet flange to the ceiling below. You never see the water.
Woodbutcher
 
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Old 08-28-14, 12:54 PM
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Bingo! There should never be water on top of the wax ring. The wax ring should be smashed and totally deformed as the weight of the toilet shapes it to the desired contour. The toilet should "float" initially when placing the toilet down on it. Then you add your body weight to it until the wax ring compresses and the toilet seats on the floor. Then tighten the bolts down.
The first time I replaced the wax ring the toilet didn't "float", it just sat right down, but when I pulled it last week it was flattened and deformed. This time with the thicker wax ring it "floated" and I had to sit on the toilet to get it down.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 12:58 PM
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Hi, Just a thought. Water on top of the wax ring, you pull the toilet you see the water, with the toilet in place you can't see the water. The flapper stuck up, lots of water. The water flows on top of wax ring over the side of the wax ring down on the floor under the toilet, down the side the toilet flange to the ceiling below. You never see the water.
That's exactly what I was thinking, but nothing around the flange looked wet. Unless it went into a hole that I didn't see instead of all around the flange area.
 
 

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