Loose Tank Bolts, big mess

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rmelo99, May 10, 2011.

  1. rmelo99

    rmelo99 Network Engineer

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Connecticut
    So apparently our 3rd floor bathroom toilet had a loose tank to bowl bolt/screw.
    It's been in service for 4 years w/o issue. I come home from work to discover water dripping above the 2nd floor stairs from the ceiling.

    When I got to the third floor bathroom the entire Hardwood floor was covered in water. Threw down towels to absorb the water before looking for the source. There was a drip from one of the screws under the tank. In about 8 hours it caused ridiculous amounts of damage.

    Wood floors cupped and ceiling damage in the worst place a 2 story ceiling above stairs.

    I tightened the screw about 1.25 full turns to get the tank to not wobble and sit as close to the bowl as possible.

    Thought I would share as a warning for anyone whose toilet or tank has a wobble to it, check your bolts before you have a huge mess on your hands.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,943
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    just one more reason to like the big brass bolts that the Toto tanks have, and the extra nut and washer for each one so you can snug up the rubber washer before setting the tank on the bowl. It seems like overkill, but they help.

    [​IMG]
  3. rmelo99

    rmelo99 Network Engineer

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Connecticut
    That would have helped. Mine is an American Standard. I'm always afraid to over-tighten because the way you find out you have done that on a toilet is the hard way(when you hear the crack).
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The bolts "loosened" because the center rubber gasket has deteriorated and let the tank "settle" down, which made the bolts loose. Some American Standard toilets do not have enough space between the tank and bowl to use "double" nuts, but when you can, you will NOT crack the tank by tightening them.
  5. rmelo99

    rmelo99 Network Engineer

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Thanks HJ, I didn't think about the center gasket. For a 4year old toilet do you think it is worth replacing that gasket? Is simply tightening the nuts enough?

    It was whole fiasco getting this toilet and since it is a 14" rough-in was more expensive and had to be special ordered. I have no issue pulling the tank to replace the gasket if it makes sense and gives me security against this happening again. I will say that in all my repairs of old toilets, I can't recall ever having to change one of those out. I didn't think they wore out.

    I still have the water off to this toilet, but have filled the tank. There are two buckets under each side just in case. They have been dry for 2 days now since tightening the bolts.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I learned a few lessons the hard way, sometime in a former century, and ever since then, every toilet is double nutted as shown in Terry's photo. Just makes so much sense, and many toilets come with 4 nuts, as do the tank-to-bowl bolts kits.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I will say that in all my repairs of old toilets, I can't recall ever having to change one of those out. I didn't think they wore out.

    Then you have been lucky. I ALWAYS change it when I replace the tank. In fact I did one yesterday where the tank was removed and the person reinstalled it using the old gasket and bolts, then it leaked.
  8. pipehacker

    pipehacker New Member

    Messages:
    191
    Location:
    Iowa
    If you have not already, take pictures and notify your insurance company
  9. rmelo99

    rmelo99 Network Engineer

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Thanks but I'm not going to the insurance on this one. I don't need my rates going up. I am very handy and will just suck it up and do the repairs myself. When you factor in the deductible, it just doesn't make sense to put in a claim. I will not be going anything with the hardwood floors, just sheetrock repair and paint.
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