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American Standard Dual Flush Toilet Troubleshooting Guide

A working toilet is certainly on top of my priority list! There’s nothing worse than experiencing trouble with your toilet, especially with a big family. American Standard dual flush toilet troubleshooting becomes more necessary with time.

A new toilet will rarely encounter a problem. However, on rare occasions, it will eventually face several issues.

There are simple methods to troubleshoot your American Standard dual flush toilet.

Ready, set, flush! Let’s dive deeper into what you may encounter when owning a dual flush toilet system.

Why Own a Dual Flush Toilet?

According to a study published by Princeton (, dual flush toilets are becoming increasingly popular. Homeowners and commercial managers like the water conservation feature. It has the ability to perform a small flush for liquid waste. It also has a larger flush to dispose of solid waste.

Although they are efficient in saving water and utility costs, their design can lead to particular problems.

Some publications like The Guardian ( report that dual flush toilets may be wasting more water than they save. Despite this concept, they are here to stay!

American Standard Dual Flush Toilet

These innovative toilets are improving consistently as new models come out on the market.

I’m very hopeful about the future of toilet technology. We are seeing amazing new products and they will continue to improve!

Common Issues of a Dual Flush Toilet

The top problem people encounter with a dual flush toilet is clogging (if you find that your toilet is hard to flush, read here for more information).

Since the toilet is designed to do a small flush for liquid waste, the smaller volume of water can make the pipes stagnant. Most pipes are not made for this low-volume system. It is an even bigger problem in bathrooms that are rarely used such as a guest toilet.

To ensure pipes remain clog-free, the key is to balance the strength of the flush with water conservation.

How Can I Troubleshoot a Dual Flush Toilet?

The first step in troubleshooting issues that can occur with dual flush toilets is to identify the problem.

What is the toilet not doing properly?

Perhaps the tank runs water even when the toilet is not in use. Or, maybe the pipes seemed to be clogged. Observing the water level could lead to another clue. See if the water level is too low or too high.

Before you call a plumber, try to determine what the problem is and attempt to troubleshoot it yourself. Consider the following:

When the Toilet is Not Flushing as Usual

If you notice that the toilet is not flushing properly, take a look at its flush mechanism. It is located inside the tank. Also, check the flush valve chain to see if it has become detached. It should be attached to the flush ball or flush lever.

If you find that the lever is turned, it will not allow the toilet to flush. See if the chain is not too long and giving too much slack. There should be minimal slack so that the chain can raise the flush ball.

If you notice that the toilet has an insufficient flush, you can adjust the tank’s water level by utilizing the float.

Completely open the shut-off valve to the water supply to produce maximum pressure for the flush (if you find that there’s water pressure everywhere but your shower, read here). This also allows that tank to quickly refill. See if you notice a stronger flush from the added water pressure.

If you detect that the flushes are noisy, you’ll want to shut off the water supply valve. This will reduce the pressure that drives the flush. You may have to experiment with sample flushes. Adjust the water to the right level until the flush is satisfactory.

Sounds easy enough, right? It is if you follow instructions and know the basics of a toilet mechanism. When I first began to learn about my toilet it seemed daunting, but now is a piece of cake!

When the Toilet is Not Flushing as Usual

Issues With the Water Level and Running Water

A common problem is when you hear the water running between flushes. This can indicate a compromised seal on the flush ball. The rubber parts can encounter damage from normal wear and tear. They can crack or have other damage that doesn’t allow a proper seal.

Rust can also start to develop on certain parts. Check for rust on the flush mechanism or a damaged flush ball. If it is rusted, replace the whole mechanism with new parts.

Using the plunger will be the first step for troubleshooting toilets that overflow or don’t drain fully. You can attempt to dislodge a clog and continue to flush the toilet until you see the bowl clear up completely.

If this method is not successful, the pipe may be clogged due to waste settling into a dip or sag. At this point, seek the help of a professional plumber.

Several issues can be easily fixed on your own once you have identified the problem. If you encounter bigger issues than these or cannot fix them, hiring a licensed professional is the best solution.

We all have seen the horrors of DIY projects gone wrong. You have to know when it is time to call the plumber.

Why Are Leaks Common?

Dual flush toilets commonly encounter leaks. Why does this happen? It is their design that causes frequent leaks. The flush buttons are sometimes misused as users are not certain which one to push.

The small flush designed for liquid waste flushes approximately four liters. The larger flush for solid waste flushes about six liters. Pushing the wrong button can lead to trouble if continually misused.

Issues With the Flush Mechanism

Dual flush toilets are designed with a mechanical valve in the cistern that uses a rubber seal. This mechanism opens to allow the flow of water when the flush mechanism is triggered. Unfortunately, this rubber seal is quick to wear out.

Additionally, even if it doesn’t wear out, grit or porcelain debris can get caught obstructing the parts. It is a problem that causes the continuous flow of water, an urgent problem!

Compared to dual flush toilets, traditional toilets utilize a siphon system that allows water to flow upward. The water goes up the tube that is connected to the toilet bowl. When the water achieves a particular height, it readily flows filling up the bowl.

Older toilets rarely encounter leaks because the water can only overflow when it rises past the water line (see our article on the ‘Sloan Flushmate‘ if you think this installation could be causing your problems).

What Can I Do if My Toilet is Leaking?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (, a home can waste up to 180 gallons each week, often due to a leaky toilet. To see if your dual flush toilet is leaking, first, you have to check the water in the bowl.

Try to determine if you can spot a ripple at the back. If you see a small ripple, this may mean that you are wasting about 200 liters of water each day!

You can hear the leak as it makes a distinct sound you normally don’t hear. You must buy a new toilet if you encounter this problem and it continues to happen. Besides, the water waste will cost you much more in the long run.

The challenge is that most toilets on the market are now designed with a dual flush system. You will find that some models have better customer reviews as far as leaks. If you do your research well, you’ll find brands that feature valves with stronger silicone seals. These are more durable than rubber seals.

Purchasing older model toilets is not a feasible solution.

Although they are less likely to leak, older models use a staggering 13 liters of water with each flush!

What is the answer? The solution is to make the dual flush design better. Dual flush toilets have a bright future as new improved designs are coming to market. They are sustainable toilets that perform at higher standards with each new model that is manufactured.

Why is Water Trickling Into the Bowl?

If you notice that water is trickling into the bowl, this is known as a “phantom flush.” Yes, you might think there’s a ghost in your toilet!

You may hear your toilet refilling spontaneously as if it had been flushed. This means that your toilet is likely running intermittently and going on and off on its own.

What could be causing my toilet to phantom flush?

The cause is simply a slow leak that escapes from the tank into the bowl. This is due to a faulty flapper or perhaps a malfunctioning flapper seat (if your faulty flapper won’t come off, read our guide here). The best solution is to empty the bowl and tank.

If the flapper seat is intact, then you should see if the flapper is what needs replacement. The piece may just be damaged or worn out.

Are Leaks Causing My Toilet to Lag?

If your toilet is flushing slower than usual, it may mean that the bowl is also emptying slowly. This condition produces a weak flush that can lead to clogged holes under the bowl’s rim.

A simple solution could be to clear out debris that may be stuck in the curved pieces of the flush hole.

Are Leaks Causing My Toilet to Lag

You can clear out this debris by using a wire or coat hanger. Use a handheld mirror to get a good view under the rim. The wire or coat hanger will also help you clear out debris that could be blocking the siphon jet.

Be gentle as you use this method to avoid scratching the bowl.

What Can I Do About Seals that are Leaking?

Leaky seals can be common with standard dual flush toilets. They are designed with five seals, all of which have the potential to leak. You must identify which seal is leaking so that it can be replaced or tightened.

The most significant seal is the bigger one that sits between the bowl and the tank. A leak in this seal can produce a troublesome leak with every flush. This situation can cause the water to shoot out from under the tank every time you flush.

To replace this seal, you’ll have to drain and remove the tank.

Smaller seals can also be a problem even though they cause tiny leaks. You’ll have to stop all leaks when you first notice them to prevent them from becoming a bigger problem.

Even if they seem insignificant, a toilet is not meant to function properly when they are present. Therefore, tackle problems early as small as they may seem.

The great news as you navigate through your toilet challenges is that better designs are coming to market. As dual flush toilets evolve, you will see easier solutions to common problems. Plus, they are certainly going to have fewer problems in the future.

In the meantime, keep your toilet working properly by familiarizing yourself with simple troubleshooting. Performing American Standard dual flush toilet troubleshooting may be a simple task if you are well informed. So, go out there and tackle your toilet issues, you may find you know more than you think.

Cheers and happy flushing!

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