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Our toilet is leaking

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lindenlea, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We had a new bathroom fitted 18months ago and now the toilet is leaking and there a bit of water on the floor at the back of the toilet.. The leak is clean water i think and is not a lot but as always you don't know until it's built up and is in danger of causing a bigger problem. It is a back to the wall type of gtoilet and is fitted against a wooden unit and sealed in apart from a small space at the back. I think it's the water flowing from the cistern, but it's all enclosed in the vanity unit so it's very hard to identify the problem. The top of the unit is corian.

    Any ideas about where leaks might come from in such a unit and how hard it is for plumbers to take this sort of toilet apart. I am presuming they won't have to rip it all apart. There must be some easy way in. Please tell me there is.
  2. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    You can probably fix it yourself. First find the highest occurrence of water so you can trace the source....
  3. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    Is the loo close coupled? Where the cistern sits on the back of the toilet . Or is the cistern plastic and connected by a pipe to the toilet?
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    The latter. it's all sealed in the vanity unit.
  5. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    As your cistern probably has an overflow that will empty back into the loo pan or into a pipe through the exterior wall, it's probably not overflowing, and there's only a few ways it can leak.

    I'd suggest as a first step you check if the cistern's cold water feed is shutting off completely after each flush or if it's constantly burbling and hissing. If the latter, check to see if water is continuously dribbling into the back of the toilet pan or out of the overflow pipe outside. Either would suggest that the float/ball valve isn't closing off the fresh water supply properly after each flush and the overflow is operating. Sometimes the valve gets bunged up with limescale and need replacing, but, if badly fitted, they can also snag on a cable that runs from the flush button, if you have such a device fitted into the vanity unit's surface. That happened with ours.

    Next possibility, damaged pipe seal or joint - is the loo pedestal fixed firmly to the floor or can it be moved? The lazy sod who fitted ours (God bless B&Q's bathroom fitting service) didn't screw it to the floor, he just sealed it to the unit with sealant, which later gave way, so the pedestal now wobbles - that can damage the pipe seal and cause dripping.

    Another remote possibility - the fresh water is entering your cistern too quickly, the float valve is set too high, and when the cistern refills the fresh water is splashing over the top of the container. If so, you should be able to adjust the flow of water into the cistern via a tap or screw valve on the water feed pipe. It'll slow down the flow but your cistern will take longer to fill.

    Most of these things can be inspected by removing the panel behind the loo to look at the cistern - you shouldn't have to contemplate lifting any horizontal surfaces. Are you sure the vertical panel behind the loo is fixed and can't be released for inspection? Ours is on push-fit clips.
    lindenlea likes this.
  6. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Thanks for all replies.
    Msb -
    I think these are real possibilities. We've been into the bathroom shop this am and the woman who holds the fort gave me the number for their installations team and thought someone might come out. We're not holding our breath, but it's worth a phone call tomorrow. I don't want to try unclipping the front yet but I think ours just pushes on. Luckily we are a two toilet family.
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    When I had my bathroom done the plumber discovered the old overflows weren't connected to anything and had just been seeping away under the floorboards. all those folk who got into DIY in the 80s without any skill or expertise should be taken out and shot.
  8. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    Plastic cistern will be connected to the toilet pan via a large pipe, leak is prob at eithe end of this pipe. Inside the cistern there is a large plastic nut at one end of the pipe. Put your hand in the cistern and see if you can tighten this.

    At the toilet end of the same pipe is a large rubber gromit sometimes they come loose, sometimes those supplied with a new toilet are rubbish. Check here as well particularly if your toilet is not fixed down properly.

    Another check would be to turn off the water to the cistern ( there should be a valve immediately next to it) dry the floor and surrounding area, with the valve left closed if any more water appears it is 99% certain the fault is as above.
    wanet and lindenlea like this.
  9. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    A school that I worked in had the same thing done by "proffessionals". In this case they chopped them off and plastered over them. Although, I have had to correct some dodgy wiring done, I assume, by DIYers.
  10. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    It could just be condensation.

    The back unit should come apart easily enough if you can locate the fixings. Then it should be easy to find
  11. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    It always amazes me why some people like plumbing fittings sealed away so tight that it is impossible to service the things.

    Anyway if I use an exploded diagram as reference: (doesn't matter that it is a different make)
    The best way to detect a leak is to thoroughly dry each joint and then wipe a dry finger over it. This will detect even the tiniest leak.

    In the above diagram, the two most likely areas are the ones labelled 43-259 and 37-119.
    In the top one you have a plastic nut which must be sufficiently tightened to seal the rubber o-ring above it. In the lower one, this is a plastic fitting that needs to be carefully fitted.
    The vanes need to be kept spaced apart otherwise they will leak. If the fitting is just tapped home in one go (as most plumbers do) this can cause the vanes to push together and then leak. Simply making sure the vanes are separate mostly does the trick.

    In both these cases the leak will only happen when you flush the toilet. You therefore dry the joints, flush the toilet and then run a dry finger round the the join. If it comes away wet then you have found the culprit.

    Note that these hidden cisterns can cause a huge problem with condensation which can look like a leak. In this case you need to ventilate the cavity.
    lindenlea and wanet like this.
  12. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    You are all so well informed! Impressive!
  13. Alceanne

    Alceanne Occasional commenter

    We had what seemed like a 'major' problem with a leak from our toilet - damped the boxing round the pipes from the inside, and soaked the floorboards and gradually, inperceptably went down the downstairs walls. Turned out to be a teeny tiny dribbly leak in one of the exposed joints where the cistern feeds in. It had been dribbling completely undetected for months. Got a plumber in, expecting all the boxing to be ripped up, etc, and all he needed to do was to put a half turn onto the nut! Took another 6 months to dry out the flooring and walls. In consequence we are now a lot more savvy about drying all the pipes and wrapping kitchen roll round to see if anything is slowly dripping.
    lindenlea likes this.
  14. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Most plumbing is really simple. sometimes PTFE tape or Boss White solves the problem as well.

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