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I've got a toilet in an area that isn't used very often. How can I add a slow leak to the tank or otherwise arrange to keep the water in the bowl from drying up? I'm looking for an option that requires little to no maintenance on my part, and doesn't require any special action by someone who uses the toilet as a toilet (so, eliminating evaporation by floating a layer of oil on top isn't an option).

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    How rarely is this used? The last float valve I installed had adjustment for bowl fill rate (and therefore fill level), depending on how long your toilet goes between flushes a more full bowl might do the trick.
    – Hart CO
    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:27
  • The toilet might go a month or two without usage; in typical weather, the bowl evaporates nearly dry in about a week.
    – Mark
    Aug 7, 2017 at 4:30
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    @Harper - He could just poke a small hole in new flapper valve and save you the shipping postage.
    – Michael Karas
    Aug 7, 2017 at 5:05
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    Take the smallest drill bit you find in a drill index assortment and drill 1 hole in the stand pipe just below the standing water line in the reservoir. The water will trickle in and keep water in the bowl. You could adjust the size of the hole to suit your needs.
    – d.george
    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:14
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    @Yehuda_NYC, I went with leaving the cover off the tank. Works reasonably well.
    – Mark
    Aug 18, 2021 at 1:59

6 Answers 6

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Adjust the bowl refill tube to deliver the maximum rate to the bowl. Of course this wastes water on each flush, but this toilet isn't used very often.

Leave the cover off the tank.

Water will evaporate from the tank faster than from the bowl. When the tank evaporation triggers the float valve, the bowl will also get a big shot of water.

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  • After a few weeks of watching, it looks like leaving the cover off the tank is working fine.
    – Mark
    Sep 11, 2017 at 3:27
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Seriously I think this could use some technology. The idea would be to fix up an auto-flush mechanism that would simply flush the toilet once a week or so. If this was done the user flush mechanism could simply be an electronic push button to trigger the weekly flush now.

If this was done with a small microcontroller board (i.e. Arduino for example) connected up to a mechanism that would "flip the flapper" there could be some interesting things done.

  1. When manually tripped via the switch restart the weekly auto flush timer.
  2. Using the manual trip method during the day would sync the next auto flush a weeks time also during the day so that it does not flush when when you are sleeping at night.
  3. Manual flush is just a simple push button.
  4. Microcontroller can log the number of flushes per month and provide data on the amount if water used.
  5. You can add a moisture sensor on the floor next to the toilet to have the microcontroller alert for possible leaking.
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Pour a layer of mineral oil in the bowl between uses. The oil will float to the surface and prevent evaporation of the water.

This will also work with drains if you have any that dry our during periods of disuse.

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    I specifically rejected that option in my question, because it requires action after each period of use.
    – Mark
    Aug 7, 2017 at 20:12
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I had this problem also and (almost) solved the problem by floating a plastic bowl in the toilet bowl. The plastic bowl covers almost all of the water surface. Before doing this, the water level in the toilet dropped to really low in 10 days, so I flushed the toilet every 10 days. With the plastic bowl floating on the water, after 10 days the water level is almost unchanged. I just started doing this two weeks ago, so I do not know how often I will have to flush the toilet.

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Would it work to add a milk jug filled with water in the bowl, with tiny holes added on the bottom….so when the water started to evaporate the bowl would slowly refill from the water in the jug ?

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    Wouldn't that only extend it by a few days. Seeing that the whole bowl dries in a week? Jun 17, 2023 at 21:04
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I usually but a plastic sheet that covers the whole seat over, at the part between the toilet ring and porcelain in the toilet seat. This holds the water in the toilet seat's bottom (odor lock) for several months.

It works as a cap in the bottle in the toilet bowl and the water can't evaporate anywhere!

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    Hi! You have a couple of unregistered accounts. Please consider registering one of them, then merge them together, which will allow you to edit and comment on any of your posts and most importantly accept an answer. Thanks, and welcome to the site!
    – Niall C.
    Dec 17, 2023 at 21:27
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    Can you please edit this answer to improve readability? In particular, what are you trying to convey with the words "...but a plastic that covers..."? Dec 18, 2023 at 3:03
  • This also doesn't meet the OP's requirement of "doesn't require any special action by someone who uses the toilet as a toilet" and, frankly, sounds more like a college prank than a useful, long term solution.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 19, 2023 at 13:58

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