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January 11th, 2002

The Amazing Double-Flushing Toilet

For quite a while, our downstairs toilet had a slow leak. It didn’t cause any damage, but the sound got a bit annoying and I imagine it wasted a fair amount of water. I figured it was due to the worn-out rubber stopper inside the back bowl. So, I purchased a new stopper from Evil Incarnate and was happy to see that the seal was tight and my toilet no longer ran.

However, an interesting new problem?or “feature,” depending on your viewpoint?arose: the toilet now flushes twice every time you use it. Yup… it looks like a normal flush, until you notice the water that refills the bowl starts to swirl and go right back down. I’m not sure how much more water we’re saving versus a slow leak, but I do know that each flush is more powerful this way.

I think it’s due to the way that the stopper hangs (ahem), either a tad too loosely or a bit too tightly. Either way, it’s a pretty neat phenomenon that I think I’ll enjoy for a few more days before I decide to fix it.

Posted in Toilets

Josh August 12, 2007, 3:45 pm

The double-flushing syndrome is caused by having more water in the tank than is necessary to complete one flush. If you REALLY want to fix the double-flushing problem once and for all — without gerry-rigging your flappers with weights without slowing down the refill water (which makes your toilet hiss for a long time while its refilling, and also causes other “embarrasment issues” if more than one person needs to go one right after the other), or without any other such nonsense — here’s how you do it:

Adjust the float valve lower so that there’s less water in the tank to begin with. If its the old style, with a float ball, you can either unscrew the ball on the rod, or bend the rod down with your hands so that the ball sits lower in the tank. If your float is the more modern kind, squeeze the cinch clip and slide the float down further on its guide rod so that it sits lower in the tank, shutting off the water flow earlier in the refill cycle.

Your flapper will ALWAYS drop as soon as water is out of the tank because it is heavier than AIR, but not heavier than WATER; therefore, if you lower the water level, there will only be enough water to support one flush before the flap drops.

Its quite simple once you understand it, really.

Bruce Swink August 24, 2007, 2:12 am

Decreasing the amount of water in the tank worked great. My problem started after replacing the flapper and I know it was related to the weight of the flapper, but I agree that reducing the amount that fills the tank seems like the better fix.

Thank you

Leonard plumber October 21, 2007, 6:16 pm

As a long time construction worker and plumber ,I though I saw it all until yesterday, I ran into a double flush toilet. I brag I can fix anything.I put in a flow valve,(Which was sticking)a drain seat,weights on the seat.Lowered the main presure to the toilet,lowered the reserve level{which according to code should only be 1.6 gal.)No more double flush. BUT TODAY,———————I received a call From the client that the water turns off and on every few minutes.Thats when I looked the problem up on this webb site.I will put in a complete seal and seat(I think the seat is not sealing.) I was surprised to see the same things I did everyone else tried one item or another. Hope I have been some help

dk October 27, 2007, 2:11 am

Wow, I too now have had the wonderful experience of a double flushing toilet. Certainly a new one one me. Tried Alex’s suggestion of slowing the water supply line, seems to be working so far. Thanks for all the good input.

fc December 4, 2007, 1:01 am

After reading the above, I tried Charlie’s suggestion (even used the locknet from the old valve to add weight) but the flapper still stayed up too long. I tried assiting the flapper to go down with my finger and whoa! it was filled with air and I would have had to weighted it with a brick!! (exagerating, but only a bit.) I dug the old flapper out of the trash and found it had an air escape hole! Aha, the problem is that the air is not escaping out of the flapper quickly. I would have drilled a hole to match the old flapper, but I tried the old flapper and it worked fine so I threw the fluidmaster piece-of-junk flapper in the trash. (I actually threw it out in part because I had slit the flapper hole to make it bigger to instert the locknet as Charlie had suggested.) The old flapper works just fine thank you. (I had had an inadequate flush and so replaced both valves and flapper.) In case anyone wants to try drilling an air escape hole, I would suggest a hole about 3/8″ drilled just under the top “rim” of the flapper, center so that when the flapper is in the upright position the hole is top dead center. This is the way my old flapper is made and allows the air to escape quickly and easily and doesn’t require such an extreme amount of water on top of it to force it down. As a result the flapper closes quickly and a get a now strong flush, but only one! Thanks to to Charlie and everybody else. If anyone tried drilling a hole, I would love to hear if it works.

Caroline December 21, 2007, 3:43 am

I win!! My toilet flushes THREE times! My fiance and I just bought a house and it came with this toilet that flushes 2-3 times EVERY time. Thanks for all the advice. I will definitely try to adjust the water that comes into the tank.

Lacey December 27, 2007, 2:52 pm

What caused my double flush was one of those tablets you put in the tank to keep it cleaner. Apparently it got small enough to go through the hole where the flapper is, but not small enough to go through the hole where the water flows into the toilet. It was partially blocking it and slowing the flow which caused the looooooong flush. Once I removed it, it went back to a one flush toilet.

redsquid December 27, 2008, 7:54 am

I had a slow drain snaked last week and my toilet started double flushing after the blockage was gone. Its kinda cool as the second flush clears any ‘flotsam’ left behind by the first flush (sorry, but we are discussing toilets). The fact that something happens isn’t enough for my brain, I need to know why things happen. I finally got around to googling ‘double flushing toilet’ tonight and found this site. Now I have the answer. Well done posters! This is what the net is for, thanx!

Brian Adam August 2, 2010, 10:10 pm

A double or triple flushing toilet is caused by using the wrong flapper valve for that particular toilet. This is very common after a homeowner replaces the original flapper with an after market “one size fits all” valve. The flapper valve is too buoyant for that toilet, stays open to long letting more water into the bowl than needed for a flush, resulting in double or tipple flushes.

One can use trial and error and “weigh down” the flapper or reduce the water level, thereby rigging it to work. But this will often reduce the flushing power and/or efficiency of the toilet (for maximum efficiency the water really does need to reach the fill line marked in the tank or fill tube). The permanent solution is to purchase an OEM replacement flapper for that particular model of toilet.

BTW…the 1.6 gpf rating of todays toilets refer to the amount of water used per flush…not necessarily the amount of water the take will hold.


New Orleanian in exile August 30, 2010, 5:56 am

Double flushers were made for a short time as an answer to the problems of the “1.6 gals per flush” which often required a second flush to clear bowl. Hence, 1.6 gals ‘PER FLUSH’ requirement was met and cleared bowl excellently. These double flushers are easily recognizable by their tank, which is twice the normal depth from wall to front. This provides extra volume for the ‘double’ flush. Plus you can hit the handle once more and have one ‘single’ complete strong flush without having to wait for tank to refill. Also, supply line is proper size tubing, which is 5/8″ TUBING O.D.(which is 1/2″ PIPE I.D.) and a full port ball valve 1/2″ I.D. The tank fills completely in under 1 min, 1 min 15 seconds if added single flush. Right about now you’re thinking “Yea right”…Manufacturer: VITROMEX, mfg n. 6201,6203. Lid mfg.n. 2545. Year made 1999.

Tim September 18, 2010, 4:20 pm

Thanks for the answers here. My new low water usage toilet started double flushing a while back. I thought perhaps the vent stack had a blockage because all of the drains in the house work without a problem, so I ruled out (in my mind) a problem with drain line blockage. I realized the problem began when I replaced the flapper in the tank… I’m going to do some adjustments and hope the double flush problem will be resolved. Thanks for the solution suggestions! I have confidence this will solve my problem.

Chris April 9, 2012, 4:40 pm

I had a problem with my toilet double flushing. I’ll describe what DID and DID NOT work to fix the problem. First, WHAT WORKED ( I had to do all of the following). 1. Adjusting the float, so that the tank did not fill as high as before. 2. Using a flapper that came with a separate float, attached to the chain. 3. Removing the separate float, so that the flapper buoyancy was reduced. 4. Adding weight to the flapper, by wrapping wire around the chain, just above the flapper, to further reduce the buoyancy of the float.
WHAT DID NOT WORK. 1. Using a different flapper. 2. Reducing the flow speed into the tank, by turning off the valve halfway. 3. Only adjusting the float, so that the tank did not fill as high as before.

joe December 5, 2016, 10:02 am

Woohoo I too have a triple flusher! just replaced the flapper and looks like I have to go back to the “orange store which shall not be named” to get a new one!

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