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Hey Handyman, Why Is My Toilet Bowl Dry?


A customer was out of town for a few days and came backtoilet bowl to discover that the toilet bowl was empty. Usually there is standing water in the bowl, but it was dry. She called her favorite Las Vegas handyman to determine why.

There are only a few reasons why this would happen. The first reason turned out to be the cause. The had a crack in the trapway of the toilet, which caused the water to drain out into the drain pipe below. This wasn't obvious because the crack was centered over the drain, and therefore didn't leave any water around the base of the toilet. Since the crack was small, it took some time for it to go dry. Naturally, if the toilet is being used regularly, the bowl will get refilled after each use, and you probably wouldn't notice a slightly lower water level. However, when the toilet wasn't used for a few days, it had time to go completely dry. The fix here was to replace the toilet bowl.

Another reason a toilet bowl will be dry is due to the vent. Drains require air, and the vent provides this. If the vent is clogged then as the water goes down the drain it tends to pull air with it from any source. This creates a siphon and pulls the water left in the bowl down with it. It won't pull all of the water down with it, but if the toilet is not used for a while the small amount of remaining water may evaporate. The fix for this would be to clear the vent from the roof.

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I am a landlord and a cheap skate. I had the problen described above. After talking with some plumber friends there seemes to be three [probable] causes: 1)Blocked vent causing a siphoning effect. 2) A crack in the bowl. 3) A string from a mop that was cleaned in the toilet was wicking water out of the bowl. I bought a small round mirror and with a flashlight tried to see any mop strings or cracks. I could see neither. I went up on the roof and dropped a hose with a pressure concentrator on the end down the vent pipe until it hit bottom. Still the water left the bowl. I went to the hardware store and bought a tube of DAP 100% marine silicon and some disposable latex gloves and spread a layer of the silicon on the bottom of the bowl from the front and as far back as I could reach and let it set for 24 hours. I must have had a very fine crack in the bowl because it has been holding water ever since. I hope this helps.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:05 PM by glenn
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