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Question DetailsAsked on 5/11/2016

How much water should be in the toilet bowl?

One inch of water, two inches of water? More? Why?

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1 Answer


I presume you mean at the end of the flush cycle - of course, during flushing, it should not (unless there is a blockage) rise higher than an inch or two below the bottom of the rim - commonly not more than about half height if flushing liquids only.

So it covers the entire outlet hole minimum - otherwise sewer gases can come up from the sewer lines, through the gooseneck in the toilet, and into the room - nasty smelling plus potentially explosive. Now - because movement of wind over the vent stack causes fluctuations in the water in the toilet (by putting a partial vacuum on the vent pipe as it blows over it), you should generally have about 1 inch water over the top of the outlet opening under normal conditions so a bit of wind does not immediately cause failure of the water seal - because that is what that is, a water seal just like in a trap, but done in the bowl because you do not want a trap in a sewer line.

You can't really adjust the water level - it is based on the design of the syphon in the toilet, and self-levels with the bottom of the syphon at its highest point. However, if the water is not refilling to that level after flushing is done, then you need to make sure the refill tube going from the fill valve to the overflow tube (usually about a 1/4" plastic tube going into about a 1 inch vertical tube that goes down through the back of the toilet tank) is shooting a good stream of water into the overflow tube as the tank is refilling - initially most of this water, which usually comes into the bowl under the rim as a trickle flow, goes down the drain as the tank is refilling but towards the end of the cycle it should end up covering the bowl outlet well.

If the bowl is refilling well but the water level drops (and usually gurgles) several times at the end of the flush cycle and the water in the bottom of the bowl immediately and visibly drains out to below the top of the outlet hole, then could be a problem with the vent system - might be blocked up so it is not letting air into the top of the drain lines, which then results in the water going down the drain causing a partial vacuum and pulling down the water in the trap until it pulls air, at which time it stabilizes - comonly leaving the bowl outlet hole about half exposed and possibly allowing sewer gases to pass through the syphon.

If it refills the bowl initially so it covers the outlet hole well but then slowly drains down over a period of time, remotely possible you have a crack or pinhole in the toilet casting leaking water out, but usually means there is paper or fabric draped over the top of the gooseneck inside the toilet, wicking the water out of the bowl - which requires either more flushing, plunging, or snaking to loosen it up and move it on down the line. If only toilet paper should move on with a days or less use - if fabric may have to be removed mechanically.

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Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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