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Plumbing question
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: December 28, 2018 11:48AM
Son's toilet is leaking - again. This seems to be an ongoing issue. In the 4 years he has lived there, the sponge gasket has been replaced twice, and the tank bolts/washers seem to last 12-18 months. This is only on one toilet (the one in the master bath), the other has had no issues and is still on the washers it had when they moved in..

If the problem was both toilets, I would blame over chlorination of the water. But with just one, that doesn't make sense. They do not use in-tank cleaning tablets. The bolts are tight, the washers look okay. We replaced the entire flush mechanism just out of frustration last time, but he just called that it is leaking again.

I have to be missing something. Any ideas?



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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Microman
Date: December 28, 2018 11:52AM
Your speaking of the rubber gasket that goes between water tank, and the bottom toilet?

Not the floor seal, obviously?, right?

And it leaks between the top and bottom where they're suppose to seal with the rubber mount?
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: PeterW
Date: December 28, 2018 11:53AM
Okay, what is a sponge gasket - the gasket between the tank and bowl, the gasket between the tank and flush mechanism or the wax ring between the bowl and the floor flange?
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 28, 2018 11:57AM
Any chance that there's someone that leans on the tank like it's the back of a chair? That would put stress on the gasket and bolts.

Last time did you attempt an autopsy on the removed parts to see how they're failing?
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 28, 2018 12:03PM
Quote
GGD
Any chance that there's someone that leans on the tank like it's the back of a chair? That would put stress on the gasket and bolts.
This, and I'll add that a weak toilet mounting flange or flooring can make the whole assembly 'flex' and cause failures as well.

I actually took the step of gluing a closed foam pad to the back of one toilet to keep the kids from pushing it back and forth as they relaxed on the throne.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Fritz
Date: December 28, 2018 12:04PM
is it an American Standard throne?



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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: December 28, 2018 12:16PM
A quick search seems to give the push to sponge gasket as being tank-to-bowl gaskets.

If that's this case, I'd think it unlikely that leaning on the tank would cause a problem if the gasket were properly installed in the first place.

A close inspection of the bottom of the tank and corresponding part of bowl are in order. Maybe some RTV or other silicone sealer on the gasket?

Is there such a thing as a specifically chlorine resistant gasket?




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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: December 28, 2018 12:55PM
exactly where is the leak?





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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: December 28, 2018 12:55PM
Sponge Gasket - the large gasket between the tank and bowl for flushing

Leaning is not an issue

and yes, it is an American Standard Pilot (3 inch flush, which is another fun headache to find parts)

I've told him to put some food coloring in it and check it every 15 minutes to see where it is leaking from this time. Right now my working hypothesis is water is heavily chlorinated and it is eating the rubber washers (but why only one of the toilets? that is what gives me pause for that diagnosis)



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2018 12:57PM by Ombligo.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 28, 2018 01:24PM
Quote
Ombligo
Right now my working hypothesis is water is heavily chlorinated and it is eating the rubber washers (but why only one of the toilets? that is what gives me pause for that diagnosis)

Are both toilets identical and using the same rubber parts?

Besides Chlorine, a plumber was telling me about Chloramine another water supply additive that can be corrosive on plumbing. I have seen some replacement parts now marked "Chloramine resistant"
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: December 28, 2018 01:25PM
....that's just.....plumb.....crazy........



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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: wurm
Date: December 28, 2018 01:26PM
Besides the large sponge gasket between the tank and bowl, don't forget about the integrity of the washers on the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: December 28, 2018 01:43PM
Quote
wurm
Besides the large sponge gasket between the tank and bowl, don't forget about the integrity of the washers on the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl.

That is where I'm betting the problem resides.

But why do they continue to fail after just a year?



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Cary
Date: December 28, 2018 01:45PM
If it were me, I'd get rid of the American Standard toilet and buy a Toto. Great flushing action, standard parts, highly rated.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 28, 2018 01:46PM
Quote
MrNoBody
exactly where is the leak?


Interesting diagram, with all of the things they carefully label, they skip over the areas that we're discussing. They're drawn, but not given names for us to refer to in a consistent way.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: December 28, 2018 02:25PM
the tank bolts/washers seem to last 12-18 months...

That is where I'm betting the problem resides.

But why do they continue to fail after just a year?



Chicken and egg?

Either the gasket fails causing a leak with also attacks the washer and bolts, which exasperates the issue. Or the bolts loosen allowing a leak which attacks the bolts, washers, and gasket.

Maybe get a high quality gasket along with stainless steel hardware. It may rust as well, but it will last longer than generic steel. And throw in some lock washers along with the flat washers. Or use nylon stop nuts (with washers of course).

And again, inspect the porcelain for any flaws that might be beyond the scope of the gasket and hardware.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* Sigs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Carm
Date: December 28, 2018 03:22PM
I once had a toilet issue where it was leaking from the rubber gasket/washer around the bolt, after closer inspection, I found that the original installer failed to install the bottom washer and nut to lock that rubber gasket washer to the tank to hold a seal. Only the nut and washer holding it to the bottom porcelain bowl seating area where installed. So anytime there was movement of the tank, the toilet bolts would leak down the side to the floor.

I’ve only had one of the foam rubber gaskets fail, it was at my MIL house, someone decided to install it improperly and over tighten it. It failed after two years.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: Fritz
Date: December 28, 2018 05:00PM
I agree with what Cary said.
Though I find Kohler an acceptable alternative of well built bath fixtures.

Am Stand. I'll never buy anything of their many brands again.
They actually discontinued a toilet we have because it "didn't work properly".
Are ya kidding? The S trap was invented in the mid 1800's.
Some 5h1t doesn't need improvement.
[en.wikipedia.org]



!#$@@$#!

all I need to know I learnt from Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings.

Television is a medium because it is neither rare nor well done.
>>>Ernie Kovacs>>>
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: iamrfixit
Date: December 28, 2018 06:06PM
Many of the american standard models have mounting ribs cast into the bowl front and rear of the flush valve seal. When the tank is tightened it should be pulled down far enough that the tank actually comes down and contacts against those ribs. The tank should not be able to rock on the seal at all. It is difficult to tighten it far enough with the tool they send with the toilet.

I've got a couple American standard champion models in my own house and have installed dozens more, the only time I've seen problems with leaking was when the tank was not tightened quite far enough.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: December 29, 2018 08:49AM
American Standard may not be up to everybody's standards, but barring some kind of irreparable damage, there should be no rush to replace it.


When the tank is tightened it should be pulled down far enough that the tank actually comes down and contacts against those ribs.

Very helpful bit, that.


I found that the original installer failed to install the bottom washer and nut to lock that rubber gasket washer to the tank to hold a seal.

Huh. I've never had occasion to do anything more than replace the fill valve. I wouldn't have guessed there was separate hardware needed for the gasket and the tank.

Also very helpful.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* Sigs. It's Glocks I hate.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: JoeH
Date: December 29, 2018 03:19PM
Quote
RAMd®d
American Standard may not be up to everybody's standards, but barring some kind of irreparable damage, there should be no rush to replace it.


When the tank is tightened it should be pulled down far enough that the tank actually comes down and contacts against those ribs.

Very helpful bit, that.


I found that the original installer failed to install the bottom washer and nut to lock that rubber gasket washer to the tank to hold a seal.

Huh. I've never had occasion to do anything more than replace the fill valve. I wouldn't have guessed there was separate hardware needed for the gasket and the tank.

Also very helpful.

Yeah the tank bolts are often overlooked. Most people never have a reason to deal with them, the toilet is assembled by the plumber on installation. If done properly they won't need anything done to them for decades.

The usual setup has the tank bolt either having a wide head or a metal washer. That goes through the rubber washer inside the tank, on the outside there will be another washer and nut that is tightened enough to make a seal. Then the completed assembly is placed on the bowl and washers and nuts are used to secure the two together. Different brands and models may have changes in the details.

I went through changing the tank bolts on a toilet in my house a few years ago, they had rotted out. The reason was that they were just brass coated steel. Where the bolts had expanded due to rust in the holes made them a pain to remove without chipping the porcelain of the tank. Use bolts that are all brass or a good grade of stainless steel.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2018 03:20PM by JoeH.
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Re: Plumbing question
Posted by: deckeda
Date: December 30, 2018 09:22AM
Had this issue once with a different brand. Couldn’t stop the leak until I found the exact parts for it at a plumbing supply house. Annoying, but it worked.
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