Toilet turned itself on and flooded my house

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Old 07-28-17, 01:24 PM
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Toilet turned itself on and flooded my house

I have a low-flow toilet of unknown brand, I'm assuming something cheap from Home Depot, that is about 20 years old. At least some of the working parts inside the tank were replaced with a kit from Home Depotů maybe 5 years ago?

First, there was a hissing from the tank. I assume that this means a leak? I tried holding paper all around inside the toilet bowl to spot water leaking into it, and couldn't find it, but when I lifted the ball slightly, the sound stopped, which I assume means the water was going SOMEWHERE?

My husband says that the flush valve is dodgy, whatever that means, and I don't know if that's true or not, but he suggested that I flush and then pull the handle up hard afterwards, and I did that, and the sound got so faint that I had to lift up the tank lid and get close to it to hear it.

And then the fun part: As often happens with these cheap low-flush toilets, it had plugged and failed to flush completely one day. I held the handle down to keep the water flowing in in the hope that this would make it flush, as it fairly often does. When the water approached the top of the bowl, I pulled up on the handle to stop the flow of water. I then waited to see what would happen, if it would give up and flush, or if the water would drain fast enough to make it worth waiting there and try flushing again. Neither thing happened; instead, the water started draining visibly, but slowly. Water was absolutely NOT flowing into the bowl at this point. I gave up, went to work on the computerů and at some point in the next 2-3 hours, the toilet turned itself back on, and was running nonstop, flooding a significant portion of my home before I caught it. When I splashed my way to the toilet and yanked up on the handle, the flow of water stopped and did not recur.

Since then, the water has been turned OFF to the toilet, because I did not dare risk any further problems until I was 100% sure that the affected carpet and padding had totally dried outů which it did, with no odor or sign of mold, thank God!

I'm afraid to turn the water back on to the toilet, so I don't know how it would operate at this juncture. Can anybody tell me what happened here, and what to do about it? Thanks!
 
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Old 07-28-17, 01:40 PM
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Toilets don't turn on and off. What it sounds like is you have a flapper valve which is not sealing and which is allowing water to drain from the tank into the bowl, which it does in large amount when flushing.

If this occurs when the toilet won't drain, you end up with a big mess.
 
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Old 07-28-17, 01:55 PM
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Is there a way to check and determine for sure if this is the case? Could the flapper valve have been the culprit behind the hissing noise? How can it be fixed?
 
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Old 07-28-17, 02:06 PM
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The flapper leaking caused the water to lower. The hissing sound was the valve refilling it.

The valve will hiss until the tank water gets down to a certain level and then it will open and fill normally. As the level lowers the cycle repeats.
 
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Old 07-28-17, 02:13 PM
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Thanks for the extra details! Is there any way to test and verify this? Can it be fixed, or does it just have to be replaced?
 
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Old 07-28-17, 02:21 PM
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The draining problem needs to be addressed but the flappers are usually easy to replace. Some just snap into place.

If you could prop the fill arm up or turn the water off and flush the toilet.... take a picture of the flapper and post it. We could help you further. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 07-28-17, 06:27 PM
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I passed this info along to my husband; he says that I don't have a flapper, I have a flush valve that moves up and down... does that help?
 
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Old 07-28-17, 07:12 PM
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Ok....so the flush valve needs to be replaced.
I can't see it so I can't advise you what you need to get.
 
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Old 07-29-17, 04:17 AM
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To verify that you have a flapper/flush valve leaking put some food coloring in the tank. If it's leaking in several minutes you will see the color appear in the bowl.
 
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Old 07-30-17, 09:21 AM
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If the toilet bowl gets clogged again you should stay there and unclog it with your big plunger right away or shut off the valve under the toilet tank to prevent a recurrence of your disaster.

Ordinarily you would have to do more than pull up on the handle from the outside to stop the water flow.

You would have to lift off the lid of the toilet tank and reach in and pull up the float ball or the roughly horizontal arm that holds that float (or pull up the float that goes straight up and down on the more modern fill valves. And also push the flapper down to cover the drain opening to the bowl.

Do not use force in pushing or pulling any of these parts.
 
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Old 08-03-17, 10:12 PM
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It turns out that what I have is a Mansfield sliding flush valve. The little part at the top of the valve that the fill hose goes into had crumbled; the stray chunks of this were impeding the movement of the sliding part. My husband purchased a $9 replacement flush valve at Home Depot, removed that part from the new one, attached it to the old one, and it appears to be working fine now. :-)
 
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