I've read through many of the q&a's here on the board and had already presumed my issue was a worn flapper. I ordered the replacement flapper from American Standard, adjusted as per their instructions (float placement), adjusted the chain so that there is some slack when the flapper is closed and figured I was all set. Well, not so.

The toilet is almost exactly 11 years old and this issue is a recent occurrence.

I put some beet juice in the tank (I didn't have food dye) and let it sit for half an hour. There was some tinging in the bowl. There is no sign of leakage on the outside of the tank whatsoever. I removed the new flapper, cleaned off the seat where the flapper sits and reinstalled. The issue remains.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • 2
    Might there be a crack in the overflow tube? (Or a leak at the base of the overflow tube.) That would let water leak down to the bowl while bypassing the flapper valve.
    – HABO
    Mar 6, 2021 at 15:46
  • What is the model toilet? The water level isn't near the top of the overflow, is it?
    – Rich
    Mar 6, 2021 at 15:53
  • Can you post a pic of the tank internals? Mar 6, 2021 at 16:26
  • 1
    (Brit here) I've never seen such a construction [I had to google it]. Is that the US standard method? It seems prone to eventual leakage, as opposed to a siphon structure that can never leak in that way.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 6, 2021 at 16:47
  • 2
    It is US standard and is more prone to leak than the siphon. I don't know why we standardized on the bottom flapper rather than the siphon. Mar 6, 2021 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


Hoofbeats = horses

Which is to say a common problem like this is still probably the flapper rather than some exotic unicorn of a problem.

Here is an experiment:

  1. Get bricks or something comparably heavy and inert. Put bricks on top of the flapper in the tank pressing it down. That thing will be sealed. Beet juice or food coloring or not as you see fit. If you don't get any more leaking then it is the flapper somehow.

Why might you still not get a good seal with a new flapper? Maybe the bottom of the toilet tank around the hole is uneven - hard water deposits? A good first step for stuff not working as it should is to clean it. I will testify that one need not be a mechanical genius to clean stuff and have it work better. I would start with scrubbing the bottom of the tank where the flapper sits when closed. Maybe scrub with an old toothbrush or scouring pad. See how it works then.

Without the bricks. See how it works without the bricks. Reserve those for later use.


Clean scale off the flapper and its hole. Remove the flapper and clean it under the tap with your fingernail. Use your nail also to scrape around the edge of the hole.

After cleaning off any scale build up, if the flapper looks pitted or cracked replace it.

  • I did pull the new flapper and used a toothbrush to clean around the hole. After a few hours there was a bit of colored water in the bowl. I also turned off the water supply to ensure that there was no issue with "over-pressure." This is an American Standard 2405.016 Retrospect toilet. I measured and ensured that the water level was 3/4-inch below the overflow, as specified. I don't see any cracks, etc. in the overflow tube but that would require replacing the flush valve assembly which might be discontinued. I've asked AS about a suitable replacement. I will try weighing down the flapper. Mar 6, 2021 at 23:38

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