All three toilets leaking now. Is this a scam?

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dontknow

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Hi, I need some advice please. In an empty house I’m fixing up, last time I checked the toilets was a few months ago. I had found a toilet that was constantly flushing and leaking water into the bowl so I shut off the water to that one toilet. I now hired a plumber to fix it and also asked him to inspect my other toilets. So he checks them, and calls me into the bathrooms to show me water leaking between the tank and the base whenever you flush. In all three toilets in the house. He says I need to replace all the toilets. Is this a scam or a very strange coincidence? Thanks
 

Sylvan

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If it leaks by the base it is normally the wax gasket that to be replaced

If it leaks from the tank to the bowel there are repair kits

Unless the bowels are cracked or the tank I cannot think of any valid reason for replacement
 

Reach4

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Between the tank and the base only when you flush? Sounds like a scam to me.
 

dontknow

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Yes. None of the toilets were leaking water outside before the plumber got to them. Now they leak from the tank, not the base.
 

Reach4

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Yes. None of the toilets were leaking water outside before the plumber got to them. Now they leak from the tank, not the base.
Reminds me of hidden camera expose where the mechanic squirts oil from a little bottle onto the shock absorber of the out of state traveler.
 

wjcandee

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Hi, I need some advice please. In an empty house I’m fixing up, last time I checked the toilets was a few months ago. I had found a toilet that was constantly flushing and leaking water into the bowl so I shut off the water to that one toilet. I now hired a plumber to fix it and also asked him to inspect my other toilets. So he checks them, and calls me into the bathrooms to show me water leaking between the tank and the base whenever you flush. In all three toilets in the house. He says I need to replace all the toilets. Is this a scam or a very strange coincidence? Thanks

I vote for "scam". One thing you almost-certainly DO NOT need to do is replace the toilets.

The fact that you called him for the first problem was the tip off to him that you were vulnerable and didn't have knowledge. Most of the time, when the toilet is leaking from the tank into the bowl, all you need to do is replace a rubber part (called the "flapper") that costs less than $10 at the hardware store, and it's the easiest thing in your entire house to replace -- on par with changing a light bulb.

When you call a plumber to fix that, you'll either get an honest guy like our forum host Terry, who will take good care of you, or you will get someone who will take advantage.

I think there is a 90 percent chance that he is taking advantage because his "solution" is to replace all 3 toilets rather than fixing them, which in all 3 cases is something that a person can do themselves. I would wait and let the water dry and see if they are now all "leaking". You don't really know what he did, but they didn't just all break at once. Most likely, with our help (or the help of an HONEST plumber that you call for a second opinion, someone unimpeachable in your area that you get through a friend or neighbor or somebody on this forum), you can get back in business.

So, for starters, let's assume that he didn't affirmatively-damage anything and let's wait for all the water to dry. Then, just post some photos of the inside of the tank of Toilet Number 1, and we'll guide you through fixing that. Then, post a photo of each of the other toilets which he says are now leaking on the floor.

We're here to help. At a bare minimum, we can give you an idea of what needs to be done, so you can call a different plumber and knowledgeably access their help. (Or, you can get that real feeling of self-satisfaction that comes from learning, with our help, to do simple plumbing tasks yourself.)

Sorry you're going through this.

PS Just to give you an example, in the laundry room of our country house there is a toilet from 1927. No kidding. Doesn't get used much, isn't a great toilet as far as flushing goes, but it was manufactured the same year that my Dad was born, so I am sentimental about it. When it was not holding the water in the tank, and it made a lot of noise when refilling, I simply replaced the Rube Goldberg floating-ball fill-valve and the very-finicky flush-ball water control with a Korky 528 fill valve (15 minutes; less than $10) and a Korky flapper ($5, 5 minutes). That was nearly 10 years ago and I haven't had to touch it since, other than to replace the flush handle with a more-attractive one, which was also easy. The tank is just a porcelain vessel with standard holes in standard places that will accept modern plastic devices, even though it was made 94 years ago.
 
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WorthFlorida

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........... So he checks them, and calls me into the bathrooms to show me water leaking between the tank and the base whenever you flush. In all three toilets in the house. He says I need to replace all the toilets. Is this a scam or a very strange coincidence? Thanks

I'm going to side with the plumber on this one, however replacing the toilets maybe over doing it since they all can be rebuilt. It was not mention the age of these toilets. If they are old 3 gallon plus units it maybe why he suggested to replace them. If they are first generation 1.6 gal toilets, they do not flush very well. Well experience plumber can tell how a toilet will perform with an empty flush.

If you look at this picture of the tank gasket it wraps around the fill tube. When the tank is on the bowl, it is nearly impossible to get to the gasket. The fill tube is through and past the tank into the bowl half and the gasket also cushions the tank as it sits on the bowl. Under the gaskets is a very large plastic nut to tighten down the fill tube.

Any old toilet these parts dry out. I've had old plastic fill tubes break off when slightly touched do to cheaply made parts. How does it leak during flush? When water is dumped into the bowl, it hits a flat horizontal part of the bowl that directs water to the rim. It is only about an inch or so deep. As the toilet ages, mineral deposits over many years slowly block the holes around the rim causing the water to back up some and may work around the tank gasket if it is dried out. There are many reason why he suggested to replace them, may not worth fixing them, staining, hard water deposits, etc.

ecodrake_tankbottom.jpg



Screen Shot 2021-01-27 at 12.35.12 AM.jpg
 
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wjcandee

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Respectfully, I have to say that it seems to me like you're making excuses for bad behavior.

The homeowner asked the plumber to FIX a problem he noticed with a toilet, which basically required a flapper replacement, revealing the homeowner's lack of knowledge.

He then asked the plumber to check the other toilets.

He was told, "LOOK, THEY'RE ALL LEAKING" all of a sudden. And that they "need to" be replaced.

That's a scam.

If a homeowner asks a plumber, "What do you recommend?" and the plumber tells him, "Well, I can change the flapper for $90 or you can replace with a whole new toilet for $250, and save some water, and these look discolored and unsightly, to me it would be worth it to put in the new ones," that's fair advice perhaps.

But to overtly BS a client that he "needs to replace" THREE toilets because they "leak" and then justify it to yourself on the basis that, "Oh, maybe they don't flush well, or maybe they use 3 gallons or maybe they have accumulation around the lip" is disgraceful, frankly, and smacks of a dark heart.

To me, the key is that the professional wasn't consulted for a fix/replace recommendation and then asked to provide prices and criteria for the recommendation. The professional was asked to repair and to inspect, and he just flat out told the homeowner, in essence, that the fixtures were broken beyond the economic cost to repair and should be replaced. That was a crock, and wasn't what he was engaged to do. So that's why I call it a "scam".

There are plenty of people out there who need real, skilled plumbing work done. To make a business out of taking advantage of people just damages the reputation of the whole profession.

PS I should hire you to replace the WHOLE TOILET for -- what -- $350 because a $5 gasket is "dried out"? That just doesn't seem right.
 
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Sarg

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Must be my imagination ......... Seems that dozens of responses have been deleted from this thread .......... Censorship is everywhere.
 

Terry

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Must be my imagination ......... Seems that dozens of responses have been deleted from this thread .......... Censorship is everywhere.

It's your imagination for the most part. I did delete one sentence that was political and it had nothing to do with the question at hand.
Nothing else has changed unless someone went back to their own post and changed something.

We're not doing politics on a plumbing forum.
 
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Terry

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Respectfully, I have to say that it seems to me like you're making excuses for bad behavior.

It seemed like a scam to me too. One toilet with a leaking flapper doesn't suddenly change to all three toilets leaking onto the floor. And if they did, they'd have parts for that on the truck. There are outfits that look to make the job as big as they can.
 
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