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-   -   Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ] (https://www.englishforum.ch/housing-general/266215-stop-running-european-toilet-tip.html)

TheLaughingCow 09.02.2017 18:41

Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Hello all,

I wanted to give a tip to the ladies out there ( and maybe some guys ) about how to stop a European toilet that won't stop running water .

As with most household things like this, the toilet didn't start acting up until my husband left for a work trip. :p

It was acting up a few days ago, but would stop after I flushed it twice. Tonight, however, the toilet would not stop running water.

I've had experience 'fixing' running toilets in the US, but to my surprise when I opened up the toilet the mechanics were different than a US toilet. ( no bobber, no chain, no flapper )

Our toilet has some kind of main central tube that helps fill the toilet, an over flow tube that is open at the top and takes in any extra water as the toilet fills up, a lever, and a tube that connects from the wall to the central tube.

The toilet cover is made of heavy plastic and looks attached to the toilet, but it can come off. Be careful as you are taking the cover off, because it attaches to the inside of the toilet by two plastic clips and you don't want to snap those off .

After you get the toilet cover off, follow the tube that attaches from the central tube to the wall. There will be a knob of some sort . Mine is a small white knob. Turn this knob towards the wall, and the water will stop running.

I don't know that this really fixes the problem, but it will stop the toilet from running water.

A running toilet can sound annoying, waste water, and cost a lot . Hopefully, this helps someone else until their spouse/partner can have a look, or until you can schedule a plumber to come out.

HTH :)
TheLaughingCow

Phil_MCR 09.02.2017 19:00

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
You just won most random post prize for the day! :D

TheLaughingCow 09.02.2017 19:20

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Yayyy :D

This was my first nomination. Thank you . Thank you all so very much. Thank you to the Academy and to all of you on this forum.

I have to also congratulate all the other incredible nominees this year for their unbelievable posts.

TheLaughingCow

Anjela 09.02.2017 19:29

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
What, no ball cock???

Welcome to continental cisterns.

TheLaughingCow 09.02.2017 19:35

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Well, I don't know if it's a cistern as it still has a lever , and not a button on the top of the toilet cover.

In any case, it was different from what I was used to seeing.

Thanks,
TheLaughingCow

curley 09.02.2017 22:53

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLaughingCow (Post 2738487)
Hello all,

After you get the toilet cover off, follow the tube that attaches from the central tube to the wall. There will be a knob of some sort . Mine is a small white knob. Turn this knob towards the wall, and the water will stop running.

I don't know that this really fixes the problem, but it will stop the toilet from running water.

Sounds good BUT - have you used the toilet since? :msnnerd:

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 09:45

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Yes, I used it again. It will flush, but the tank will not fill back up with water for another flush.

The knob I turned off cuts off the water. So, if you find yourself in the same situation, you have to turn the knob back to 'on' to fill the tank with water again in order to flush again.

I realized what the problem is though. I found something like a float attached to one of the tubes, and this should sense when the tank is full, but it's not. Nothing looks damaged, and so I'm not sure why it's not working.

JagWaugh 10.02.2017 09:50

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Can you post a picture?

Usually when a toilet runs on like that it is the flush valve mechanism which is faulty, but sometimes the plate with the buttons gets jammed and holds the valve permanently open. It's easy to tell the difference - you take the cover off, flush once by pushing where the plate would (do each if it is a dual flush type), and if the toilet stops running then the problem is the lever/cover sticking.

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 09:53

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Yeah, I can post a photo if you want, but it looks gross (mold) .

ch2013 10.02.2017 09:57

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
If you live in a hard water region it could be calcium deposits.

You can usually scrape enough off to make the float work again, otherwise ask your local drogerie for a product to spray on and disolve it (formic acid works well).

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 10:23

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
3 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the tip. We do have very hard water .

Here are a couple of photos.
Attachment 122473

Attachment 122474

Attachment 122475

ch2013 10.02.2017 10:29

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
OK so my suggestion:

- Go get some calcium eating product from the drogerie
- Turn off the little tap to stop the water supply
- Flush the toilet to empty the cistern
- Scrape off any large calcium deposits you see
- Leave it to dry and even use some kitchen towels to dry the inside
- Spray the product over everything, you will hear a hiss as it eats into the calcium
- Leave it for an hour or so
- Give it a second blast to be sure
- Turn water back on to see if it did the job

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 10:35

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
I'll give it a go later on. I have some bathroom cleaner that dissolves calcium. Thanks :thumbup:

JagWaugh 10.02.2017 10:35

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
While the tank is empty (and the valve still off) try actuating the black lever a few times. Does the tube in the middle move up and down freely or does it bind?

Spray the valves (both the plastic one with the hose attached, and the tube mechanism in the middle of the cistern) liberally with antical or such and let it work for 15 minutes, spray it again a few times, waiting for it to work in between.

Usually it is just a calc buildup. Once the flush tube in the middle can move freely again it will stop running on. Sometimes the water control valve (the plastic one with the hose connected) needs replacing, but if it is just calcium on the other bits then spraying with anti cal will solve the problem (for a while at least).

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 10:39

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Great, thank you !

Yesterday, I emptied out the tank and was fiddling with the tube and lever etc. It moves fine, and nothing is damaged. So, it may really be just some calcium build up. I'll definitely try this, and let you know.

The tank needs a good cleaning anyhow ;)

Kreeeee 10.02.2017 10:39

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
You can often rotate the central vertical pipe back and forth to scrape off a little lime scale and stop the leak.

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 10:41

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Good to know !

I'm learning so much today :msnnerd:

ch2013 10.02.2017 10:45

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Underneath the floating device is a rubber seal that stops water running into the toilet bowl.

Quite often it will be completely covered in limescale so it no longer provides a seal.

Put some of your product in a small recipient and position the recipient so the rubber seal is bathing in it.

JagWaugh 10.02.2017 10:49

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLaughingCow (Post 2738748)
I'll give it a go later on. I have some bathroom cleaner that dissolves calcium. Thanks :thumbup:

Bathroom cleaner usually isn't quite strong enough to really make a difference... it may remove just enough calc that the thing works again for a few weeks.

Use a concentrated calcium remover like antical, put it in a spray bottle, wear gloves and glasses (it isn't really all that strong an acid, but still). Just keep spraying/soaking all the parts for long enough - once it stops fizzing when you spray it then the calc is pretty much gone.

ch2013 10.02.2017 10:50

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Finally when all is clean and working properly, slobber on some paraffin wax (Vaseline) on the rubber seal and the rim of the pipe leading to the toilet bowl, this will give a longer protection against limescale build-up.

(We live in a hard water region and have 4 WCs in our house. I do all 4 in one day every 3 or 4 years or so)

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 11:09

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Four toilets in one day ? Bless. lol

Thanks all. I'll post an update later today, and let you know how it works.

Anjela 10.02.2017 11:10

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLaughingCow (Post 2738517)
Well, I don't know if it's a cistern as it still has a lever , and not a button on the top of the toilet cover.

In any case, it was different from what I was used to seeing.

Thanks,
TheLaughingCow


A cistern is simply a word a tank that contains water or other fluid.... so yes, what you've posted a photo of is a cistern... and it's the same in german; zisterne, italian; cisterna, and (almost) in french; citerne. If you have to call a plumber you'll need to know that!


As the others have said, it's probably calcaire build-up that's causing the lever to jam open. Or possibly there's a bit of grit that's got under the seal at the base somehow and is allowing a small amount of water to trickle into the bowl and the system 'thinks' it's not finished filling.

Belgianmum 10.02.2017 11:23

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anjela (Post 2738779)
A cistern is simply a word a tank that contains water or other fluid.... so yes, what you've posted a photo of is a cistern... and it's the same in german; zisterne, italian; cisterna, and (almost) in french; citerne. If you have to call a plumber you'll need to know that!


As the others have said, it's probably calcaire build-up that's causing the lever to jam open. Or possibly there's a bit of grit that's got under the seal at the base somehow and is allowing a small amount of water to trickle .

Citerne in French is usually used for much larger tanks such as for heating oil etc. They usually say chasse d'eau or reservoir de chasse d'eau for the toilet cistern.

Anjela 10.02.2017 11:33

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belgianmum (Post 2738788)
Citerne in French is usually used for much larger tanks such as for heating oil etc. They usually say chasse d'eau or reservoir de chasse d'eau for the toilet cistern.





I know, but google translate tells me that 'tank' is 'panzer' in german.... using that word might cause more problems than it solves!

ZuriRollt 10.02.2017 11:45

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLaughingCow (Post 2738778)
Four toilets in one day ? Bless. lol

Thanks all. I'll post an update later today, and let you know how it works.

Just get the angle right if not

curley 10.02.2017 11:53

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLaughingCow (Post 2738719)
Yes, I used it again. It will flush, but the tank will not fill back up with water for another flush.

The knob I turned off cuts off the water. So, if you find yourself in the same situation, you have to turn the knob back to 'on' to fill the tank with water again in order to flush again.

That's what I figured. It's logic - logic is my thing. ROFL.

Tom1234 10.02.2017 16:17

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
The connection between the siphon and the tank is completely kalked up in one of ours so there isn't a good seal.

Water drips into the bowl and every few minutes, the level is low enough for the tank to top-up again.
It's not enough to measure on the water meter but the inlet was kalked up too when we moved in and got stuck just as we went on holiday so no one noticed.

The water bill was more eye-watering than the anti-kalk!

amogles 10.02.2017 17:13

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 2738973)
The connection between the siphon and the tank is completely kalked up in one of ours so there isn't a good seal.

Water drips into the bowl and every few minutes, the level is low enough for the tank to top-up again.
It's not enough to measure on the water meter but the inlet was kalked up too when we moved in and got stuck just as we went on holiday so no one noticed.

The water bill was more eye-watering than the anti-kalk!

I generally find it's a good idea to turn off the toilet water supply at the valve when leaving home for more than a couple of days. It's only a tiny thing to think of and it can potentially save a big water bill.

Tom1234 10.02.2017 17:32

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 2739016)
I generally find it's a good idea to turn off the toilet water supply at the valve when leaving home for more than a couple of days. It's only a tiny thing to think of and it can potentially save a big water bill.

I've never done that before and never had a problem. It's a tiny thing if you only have one loo.

JagWaugh 10.02.2017 17:43

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 2739027)
I've never done that before and never had a problem. It's a tiny thing if you only have one loo.

It isn't a bad idea to turn each shut-off valve off and back on every few years, same thing goes for the main valve.

On the one hand it gives you a visual check if there are any signs of leaking at the spindle, on the other, you know that the damned thing works. It's pretty frustrating when a hose bursts and you discover that the shutoff valve for that device doesn't work... even more so when you tramp down to the basement and discover that that one won't budge either. It takes a while for the waterworks people to arrive and shut the valve outside the house (been there, done that - the feed hose for the dishwasher burst, I was in the kitchen and reacted within seconds which would have been fine, if either of the the shutoffs had worked. I ended up having to replace the kitchen cabinets).

Kreeeee 10.02.2017 18:31

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JagWaugh (Post 2739038)
It isn't a bad idea to turn each shut-off valve off and back on every few years, same thing goes for the main valve.

On the one hand it gives you a visual check if there are any signs of leaking at the spindle, on the other, you know that the damned thing works. It's pretty frustrating when a hose bursts and you discover that the shutoff valve for that device doesn't work... even more so when you tramp down to the basement and discover that that one won't budge either. It takes a while for the waterworks people to arrive and shut the valve outside the house (been there, done that - the feed hose for the dishwasher burst, I was in the kitchen and reacted within seconds which would have been fine, if either of the the shutoffs had worked. I ended up having to replace the kitchen cabinets).

Just checked all my stop valves because of this. The one under the sink kitchen needs fixing!

JagWaugh 10.02.2017 18:32

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kreeeee (Post 2739079)
Just checked all my stop valves because of this. The one under the sink kitchen needs fixing!

quod erat demonstrandum

Tom1234 10.02.2017 18:46

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JagWaugh (Post 2739038)
It isn't a bad idea to turn each shut-off valve off and back on every few years, same thing goes for the main valve.

.

I do that. Additionally, when I turn them on fully, I turn them back a half-turn or so as they're easier to free that way if they get stuck.

TheLaughingCow 10.02.2017 20:16

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Eureka !! :msnnerd:

I was in elbows deep :cool: , but it's working again.

It was DEFINITELY calcium build up. I used FLUP cleaner (from Coop), left it on for 30 minutes and Voilą.

Some of the calcium was coming off in chunks and some of it needed some extra scrubbing. The floater was just covered in calcium, and I couldn't see it until I had sprayed it and pulled the floater out.

tips* FLUP will work as it contains citric acid. I normally use it to clean soap scum and calcium from my shower and bathroom. However, the Anti-Kalk is probably better .

If you use the FLUP, I'd spray it and let it sit for an hour. Thirty minutes is fine, and the calcium comes off easy enough, but I think leaving it on for an hour will help dissolve the calcium even more.

BIG BIG thank you everyone. DH will be so surprised with my handywork :p

TheLaughingCow

Anjela 11.02.2017 00:13

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 2739016)
I generally find it's a good idea to turn off the toilet water supply at the valve when leaving home for more than a couple of days. It's only a tiny thing to think of and it can potentially save a big water bill.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 2739027)
I've never done that before and never had a problem. It's a tiny thing if you only have one loo.

I never bothered turning off the cistern intake valves, seemed like a silly and unnecessary thing to do.... until last June when I'd been home maybe two days (after a two-week trip away to visit OH in Denmark) and noticed that the upstairs bathroom floor was rather damp. Took another two days of an increasing wet floor to realise that there was an almost invisible micro-crack in the porcelain cistern that was very slowly but steadily dripping water onto the floor. Dread to think of what damage would've happened if that crack had been just ever so slightly wider.
Trying not to be twitchy about it, but turning off the loo intakes now seems to be my equivalent of checking the gas is turned off/iron is unplugged.

venetian 11.02.2017 00:57

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anjela (Post 2738779)
A cistern is simply a word a tank that contains water or other fluid.... so yes, what you've posted a photo of is a cistern... and it's the same in german; zisterne, italian; cisterna

Almost true :) In Italy "cisterna" describes some large water reservoir, like the emergency supply for a house or a shelter; the one we are talking about is called "cassetta dell'acqua" (literally "small box for water") or simply "cassetta".

Quote:

Originally Posted by ch2013 (Post 2738758)
Underneath the floating device is a rubber seal that stops water running into the toilet bowl.

Should this not work, the seal can easily be replaced with a new one. It can probably be found in stores like Jumbo / Obi etc. The size should be standard, but remember to bring the sample just in case.

The typical effect of an incomplete seal is a small but steady flow coming down. It starts as something quite small that you don't notice, then you begin hearing it at night when there's silence, finally it becomes apparent. Apart from the waste of water, with time it might also create yellow/orange calcium deposit inside the bowl.

Two years ago it happened to me, I dedicated one Saturday morning to a complete disassembling and cleaning of the moving parts and the interior of the tank. My model had two buttons, one for partial and one for complete discharge and they are linked to two separate cylindrical mechanisms, one inside the other.

Simple machine, but quite funny to understand. And testing it once reassembled brought me back to when I used to play with water in the childhood :)

amogles 11.02.2017 22:23

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anjela (Post 2739225)
I never bothered turning off the cistern intake valves, seemed like a silly and unnecessary thing to do.... until last June when I'd been home maybe two days (after a two-week trip away to visit OH in Denmark) and noticed that the upstairs bathroom floor was rather damp. Took another two days of an increasing wet floor to realise that there was an almost invisi micro-crack in the porcelain cistern that was very slowly but steadily dripping water onto the floor. Dread to think of what damage would've happened if that crack had been just ever so slightly wider.
Trying not to be twitchy about it, but turning off the loo intakes now seems to be my equivalent of checking the gas is turned off/iron is unplugged.

I have a holiday home in Spain. About two years ago my neighbour there who has a key phoned and said the water man had been to read the meter and said we had been using way more water than normal. The two of them had been through the house together but had not found a problem. So he cut the water off at the main valve.

As the garden is irrigated from the mains and this was the middle of the summer, I could t afford to leave it without water so booked easy jet for the very next weekend. Spent 500 chf. I discovered a microscopic crack similar to yours in the toilet cistern. There wasn't a puddle as the water had been draining into the wc. The water bill was 200 chf more than usual. So in total 700 chf for not cutting off the water. I now have a separate valve to cut off the house without cutting off the garden, and a pressure reducer so that if the pipe to the garden should burst, the water won't flow off too quickly.

Tom1234 11.02.2017 22:37

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by venetian (Post 2739235)

Should this not work, the seal can easily be replaced with a new one. It can probably be found in stores like Jumbo / Obi etc. The size should be standard, but remember to bring the sample just in case.

Not in Jumbo. I asked today. Bloody useless place.

JagWaugh 11.02.2017 22:46

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom1234 (Post 2739492)
Not in Jumbo. I asked today. Bloody useless place.

Yep, and getting worse by the year.

Bauhaus has the biggest assortment, but I don't think there is one near to you.

The larger Migros and Coops have some stuff, but they are reducing the range, as far as I can tell.

Obi is sort of halfway between Migros and Bauhaus in terms of being able to walk in and get all the bits you want for your project.

As much as I dislike Box stores, I basically just go straight to the Bauhaus now.

Tom1234 11.02.2017 22:49

Re: Stop a running European toilet [ * tip ]
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JagWaugh (Post 2739493)
Yep, and getting worse by the year.

Bauhaus has the biggest assortment, but I don't think there is one near to you.

The larger Migros and Coops have some stuff, but they are reducing the range, as far as I can tell.

Obi is sort of halfway between Migros and Bauhaus in terms of being able to walk in and get all the bits you want for your project.

As much as I dislike Box stores, I basically just go straight to the Bauhaus now.

I don't like Bauhaus either particularly. I usually go to Hornbach.


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