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Toilet parts keep dying on me

ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
I have to assume it's something with our city water but my two toilets have needed more maintenance than anything I've experienced before.

Perhaps it's just a mix of time, chlorine and the parts I used?

So far I've had to replace flappers practically every year in both toilets, I've used only FluidMaster adjustable flappers, the ones where you turn the flapper it self to change how long it stays up. I like these because I can get them timed very good with our 1.6 toilets. However, they don't last long at all. The rubber turns a light pink color and gets stiff and hard.

I've had tank gaskets rott out on both toilets, but I'm thinking this was more just a time issue, though one of the toilets is likely only 10 years old now and already needed bolts, gaskets the works. By rott I mean where the rubber turns mushy to the point it smears on things almost like grease.


What gives!?
Does Korky make a better flapper than Fluidmaster?
Is it my water?
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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Comments

  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Were you in the house when the toilets were new? If so, did the original equipment last any longer?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    Paul48 said:

    Were you in the house when the toilets were new? If so, did the original equipment last any longer?

    No,
    Moved in back in 2011, not sure how old the toilets were then but the parts were already shot.

    I cant imagine them being more than 10 years old at the absolute most.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • MikeSpeed6030
    MikeSpeed6030 Member Posts: 69
    Check the condition of the brass seat in the flush valve - located in the bottom of the tank. Smooth it if necessary.

    Don't put those cleaning tablets in the tank.
    kcopp
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,184
    do you by chance use bleach in them?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,692
    edited May 2016
    2000 flushes/ chlorine tablets are the worst.... keep me in business though!
    jonny88
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    BobC said:

    do you by chance use bleach in them?

    Bob

    Absolutely not.
    That would explain what I'm seeing, but nope.

    :(
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    edited May 2016

    Check the condition of the brass seat in the flush valve - located in the bottom of the tank. Smooth it if necessary.

    Don't put those cleaning tablets in the tank.

    Brass seat!?
    There are toilets out there with brass seats? Both of mine are cheap plastic.


    This is our main toilet that I had enough with the plastic Fluidmaster fillvalves dying and installed a brass ballcock in. The copper float is mainly for looks, because why not.

    So far, no issues in that toilet other than still replacing flappers every year. I've got a feeling that ballcock may outlast me to be honest.

    I had one Fluidmaster crack, and 2 ended up with seal issues though looking back on it that was likely just from me replumbing the house. That ok though, no hammering with this setup.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Out West here, our municipal water district has started using chloramine as a disinfectant instead of just chlorine. Chloramine is a compound make up of chlorine and ammonia and it attacks anything made of rubber.

    Check with your water district to see if they use the new and improved compound. If so, you will need to find a chloramine resistant tank ball.


    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532

    Out West here, our municipal water district has started using chloramine as a disinfectant instead of just chlorine. Chloramine is a compound make up of chlorine and ammonia and it attacks anything made of rubber.

    Check with your water district to see if they use the new and improved compound. If so, you will need to find a chloramine resistant tank ball.


    This is from their website.






    1.jpg 59.8K
    2.JPG 106.6K
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    It's strange.

    That claims my water hardness is 10.5 to 14 grains per gallon?!
    I've never noticed any signs of hard water, dishes and glasses come out spotless, soap lathers good etc.

    I do have mineral buildup around the showerhead and bathroom faucet, but I figured that was just typical
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,531
    edited May 2016
    My hardness is 28 grains. Like lime stone coming out of the faucet.

    My issues are usually the flush arm rotting out. Everything else is fine.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,738
    Water, the universal solvent. I would have the water tested by a lab.

    Something in the water is causing the breakdown

    As for scaling, hardness is only part of it, TDS is another indicator

    Usually chemicals, taste, and odor are scrubbed our with carbon filters, softener with ion exchange probably would help lessen scaling, but not a chemical imbalance
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Gordy
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    edited May 2016
    hot rod said:

    Water, the universal solvent. I would have the water tested by a lab.



    Something in the water is causing the breakdown



    As for scaling, hardness is only part of it, TDS is another indicator



    Usually chemicals, taste, and odor are scrubbed our with carbon filters, softener with ion exchange probably would help lessen scaling, but not a chemical imbalance

    I'm definitely considering it.
    Another issue with the water is it appears to be very unfriendly with steam boilers. Mine is doing perfectly fine with a heavy dose of steamaster but the previous owner had two Burnham V8's rott out in 8 years, 3 years for one, 5 for the second. Some of that was due to leaks, but I doubt all of it.


    My question is, even after a test, what can I do to solve this if anything? Just buy flappers and gaskets in bulk? Would a quality softener do anything as far as protecting stuff in the system (toilet parts, valves etc)?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    If the problem is indeed from chloramine treatment (which is quite possible -- chloramine does attack some types of rubber)(the stuff is used, however, because it provides a much better, more stable, and longer lasting disinfection...) then the only treatment which is simple is activated carbon. That does remove chloramine. Softening or filtration won't touch it.

    If you do consider going the activated carbon route, though, be sure to renew the cartridge often. Like... very often. Activated carbon is also an almost ideal growth medium for all sorts of nasties, and once its absorptive capacity is used up, they will grow like mad.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532

    If the problem is indeed from chloramine treatment (which is quite possible -- chloramine does attack some types of rubber)(the stuff is used, however, because it provides a much better, more stable, and longer lasting disinfection...) then the only treatment which is simple is activated carbon. That does remove chloramine. Softening or filtration won't touch it.

    If you do consider going the activated carbon route, though, be sure to renew the cartridge often. Like... very often. Activated carbon is also an almost ideal growth medium for all sorts of nasties, and once its absorptive capacity is used up, they will grow like mad.

    But, the water company says their disinfectant is Chlorine?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,738
    Only after you analyze the water can you determine the fix. Sometimes it takes multiple filters or treatments to get water where you want it.

    I feel DI or demineralized water, via. Media bed is the best first step for hydronic systems

    Clean with a conditioner the fill with low TDS water

    You may additionally add a conditioner chemical for additional protection
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    hot rod said:

    Only after you analyze the water can you determine the fix. Sometimes it takes multiple filters or treatments to get water where you want it.



    I feel DI or demineralized water, via. Media bed is the best first step for hydronic systems



    Clean with a conditioner the fill with low TDS water



    You may additionally add a conditioner chemical for additional protection

    So far the boiler's been fine with just Steamaster. I should say, very fine, as in, really no rust at all. Only rust I ever see is what comes back from the radiators.

    But what about my terlits?

    Will anything help them or is this just the way it's going to be? There's really no point in testing the water if a solution doesn't exist.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,519
    I don't think you will know if there is a solution until you test the water and understand what might be in it. Also, it sounds like whatever it is, it tends to attack rubber components. That likely will not show up as rust in your boiler but WM uses some type of rubber/composition gaskets between the sections. I'd be concerned about those. I would do the test. JMHO.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    Fred said:

    I don't think you will know if there is a solution until you test the water and understand what might be in it. Also, it sounds like whatever it is, it tends to attack rubber components. That likely will not show up as rust in your boiler but WM uses some type of rubber/composition gaskets between the sections. I'd be concerned about those. I would do the test. JMHO.

    It sounds like whatever is in the water likely gets boiled out of it so I'm not terribly concerned about the rubber gaskets.

    I'll gladly do the test, if I know there are possible solutions out there.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    ChrisJ said:



    But, the water company says their disinfectant is Chlorine?

    They would. The chloramine may be created on-site, and is often referred to as "chlorination" -- which, in a real sense, it is, since the the chloramines are formed by reacting chlorine with -- mostly -- ammonia.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    edited May 2016

    ChrisJ said:



    But, the water company says their disinfectant is Chlorine?

    They would. The chloramine may be created on-site, and is often referred to as "chlorination" -- which, in a real sense, it is, since the the chloramines are formed by reacting chlorine with -- mostly -- ammonia.


    Would a good whole house filter remove chloramines?
    Also, does boiling get rid of it similar to chlorine?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,519
    @ChrisJ :Which Do You Have?
    The most direct way to determine what is in your tap water is to call your water company and ask them what they use to treat the municipal water supply. By law they must make the composition of your water available to you. Perhaps you aren't comfortable asking your water municipality. If so, you can always test your tap water yourself. Since it's wise to test your water anyway, testing is an good route to go. There are test kits available that test for chlorine as well as chloramines. Or, you simply test your tap water for ammonia. If it tests positive for ammonia, chloramines are almost certainly present. Then you can choose the proper product to treat your tap water.

    Another option is to bypass all testing and simply treat the water with a product that neutralizes both chlorine and ammonia. That way you cover all the bases. Regardless of what you do, it's always wise to be aware of what is in your water source,
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    @Fred
    That's what I'm asking.

    What are the options for removing chloramines? Or even Chlorine for that matter?

    From what I recall, for chlorine you needed an activated carbon filter, but it took a long time so it would never work with a "whole house filter".

    It appears removing chloramines is even harder, requiring a RO system?

    Certainly doesn't sound like a wise choice to save toilet flappers and tank gaskets to me.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    So,

    No chloramines in our water, only chlorine.

    Here's a report from our water company, from another area they're using chloramines in.


    They specifically say ours is chlorine.




    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    Activated carbon is the only reasonable choice for either chlorine or chloramines, and the contact time does have to be longer for chloramines. Boiling (or aeration) will drive off most of them... but that's hardly feasible! Also, I can't see that a whole house activated carbon system is really feasible, either.

    Probably a good deal cheaper to replace the flappers... !
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJkcopp
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532

    Activated carbon is the only reasonable choice for either chlorine or chloramines, and the contact time does have to be longer for chloramines. Boiling (or aeration) will drive off most of them... but that's hardly feasible! Also, I can't see that a whole house activated carbon system is really feasible, either.

    Probably a good deal cheaper to replace the flappers... !

    The boiling was regarding my boiler. :)

    I'm hoping a different brand flapper will hold up better. I'm installing an actual Kohler one tonight, we'll see how it lasts. I also have a Korky I'll likely put in the other toilet when that Fluidmaster dies, which, it will.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    If it were me....I'd buy a flapper that is resistant to chloramines. To get around the adjustability, I'd go to the supply house and get an American Standard flapper($5+ -) that has the float on the chain, and put the float on the chloramine resistant flapper
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,738
    I'd also consider a filter at the drinking water taps. I don't believe any quantity of chlorine or chloramine is good for drinking, even beyond the ugly taste. Sure doesn't make good tea water.

    I believe our DI unit will also remove those, but an expensive way to make toilet water :)

    Install a rainwater collection and flush with that water, or grey water may lessen the rubber attack :) .
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    If it cheers you up any, the place I care for is on a private well -- relatively low hardness and no chlorine! -- and the only toilet valves I can get to last at all are Kohlers and the Korkys -- the more expensive ones. The other ones don't last, so it may not be just the water!

    When I took over maintenance a couple of decades ago, most of the toilets had had flapper valves installed. I've replaced most of them now with old fashioned ball float type valves on a rod... which pretty well solved the problem.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisJ
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    I've been drinking spring water for many years. Since I found out they were chlorinating the water because of fecal matter.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,184
    When I was in Korea we all went through a bit of a trial because they used night soil on the crops. The result was your lower tract took umbrage and you were tethered to the loo for a day or so. I was lucky because a SGT Mjr told us the only way to avoid that was whiskey, he marched all of the NCO's over to the NCO club and told us to imbibe heavily.

    There were about 200 of us in that repo depot and well over a 100 were pretty green about the gills but all the NCO's were fine except for a rather potent hangover.

    I got assigned to a remote radio site where we used a mountain spring for our drinking water in the warm weather and melted snow in the winter. The army actually hired porters to carry 4ea 5 gallon jerry cans of water up to the site (3-1/2 mile trail, no road) every day that we were supposed to use for drinking water. I swear they put a pint of bleach in each can, we used that to wash clothes.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    I am amazed.
    I just installed a Kohler flush handle made for this toilet and a Kohler flapper and I cannot believe, how nice they work.

    Apparently universal stuff works ok on some toilets, but barely in others.

    This toilet has never worked this nice, not even close. The universal handle I had on it had barely enough travel, the Kohler has 3 times as much, easy.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 288
    I've been installing the 3M Aqua - Pure 900 series filters to reduce the effects of chlorinated water. These filtration systems have several advantages over a standard canister filter. They have flow rates up to 20 GPM, they will process up to 100,000 gallons, and the installation and maintenance is very easy.
    I make a nice living replacing shrunken, soft, and melted toilet tank components; OEM replacement parts are usually the most reliable, however, many plastic / rubber / foam parts cannot withstand over chlorination usually due to tablets in the tank............
    ChrisJ
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,692
    Buy a water filter or BE a water filter.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532
    edited May 2016
    I took this picture this morning.

    The WB components are holding up well, the rubber washers under the brass bolts still seem perfect as does the rubber under the ballcock.

    However, the 3rd Fluidmaster flapper I've installed in there since I installed everything is already looking faded and acting weird.

    I'll be swapping in a Korky this time and we'll see how it goes.


    The one thing I do like about our water, is how clean the toilet tanks stay. Where I lived previously, you'd get a nasty brown film coating everything in the tank and the water stunk like sulfur. Of course, it seemed like toilet components lasted fine there.





    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 479
    These problems are not easy to diagnose...main reason I see is this. The customer will call a plumber to repair a leaky toilet. This usually involves new fill valve, flush valve and tank lever handle. A few months goes by and it leaks again. The customer just assumes the plumber didn't know how to fix it and tries another contractor. This thinking can go on for a few times. Without getting the same people back each one looks at it as a new problem. Always give the first contractor the benefit of a second visit and they may suggest a water test after their observations.
    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: [email protected]
    www.langansplumbing.com
    kcopp
  • I thought you installed a Kohler flapper. Those work well for me and seem to stay soft and pliable in our chloramine areas.
    I'm hooked on Fluidmaster 400A ballcocks. So easy to use and service and surprisingly, they are very quiet.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    kcopp
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,532

    I thought you installed a Kohler flapper. Those work well for me and seem to stay soft and pliable in our chloramine areas.
    I'm hooked on Fluidmaster 400A ballcocks. So easy to use and service and surprisingly, they are very quiet.

    Sorry for the confusion Alan,
    Two different toilets. The Kohler flapper is in the Kohler toilet which I didn't bother to take pictures of.

    The toilet above, is a Gerber that is one of the best toilets I've ever used, which is why it got the brass treatment a few years ago. ;)

    One thing I can say right off the bat is the Kohler blue flapper, and a Korky flapper I have are much softer out of the package than even a new Fluidmaster. If they stay that way it'll be awesome.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,407
    edited May 2016

    Ahh.........you're not supposed to pee in the tank...........

    Right- find out who's taking those "upper-deckers"...... >:)

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ChrisJ
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,215
    This is what I normally install in situations like yours. http://lancasterpump.com/res_watertreatment/x-factor-city-soft-plus-water-softenerfilter-literature/

    You'll wonder why you waited so long.
    Ramer Mechanical
    ramermechanical.com
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    MikeL_2
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