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Old 08-04-2009, 01:46 PM   #1
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Broken toilet fill valve


This happened to me a few months ago, causing $30,000 damage, and I wondered if it has happened to anyone else, or how likely this is to happen.

The toilet fill valve inside the tank in my upstairs bathroom, I believe it was fluidmaster, broke in half about an inch from the bottom of the tank. What broke was the plastic (pvc?) tube that comes in from the water inflow into the tank, and on which the black float rides up and down to open or close the water valve. It didn't just break a little bit, it literally cracked and broke right in two. As luck would have it, we were out of the house for a week and when we returned we had hundreds of gallons of water flowing down two stories and a basement.

Everything is fixed now, and our insurance company was very good. And since then I've put a water pressure reducer into the main, getting the pressure down from 70 (which shouldn't have been too high) to 50 psi.

Thinking back about it, this seems like a very unusual problem. Has this happened to anyone else?

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Old 08-04-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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Broken toilet fill valve


you should never have more than 40 psi comming into your house......70 psi is alot..... more than enough to break say a "sch40 pvc pipe" which is that standard

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Old 08-04-2009, 05:46 PM   #3
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Broken toilet fill valve


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Originally Posted by ropers View Post
you should never have more than 40 psi comming into your house......70 psi is alot..... more than enough to break say a "sch40 pvc pipe" which is that standard
40psi? I was told by a plumber that the code allowed up to 80, but I agree that 70 was a lot.

Anyway, my plumbing is copper, so no problem there. The problem was with the fluidmaster. Just checked the broken valve that I saved and it is a Series 400, which is probably their biggest seller. I assume it's made from PVC, but if it's only rated at 40 psi there would be a lot of these things blowing. I've probably used 10 or so over the years, never had this problem.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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Broken toilet fill valve


How about:
"DO NOT USE IN-TANK DROP-IN TOILET BOWL CLEANERS
CONTAINING BLEACH OR CHLORINE. Use of such products will:
(1) RESULT IN DAMAGE to tank components and MAY CAUSE
FLOODING and PROPERTY DAMAGE and (2) VOID
FLUIDMASTER WARRANTY. DO NOT overtighten nuts or
tank/bowl may crack."
Any chance the crack was due to this?
I would bet that the psi rating of the Fluidmaster is higher than 70 psi.
Info from their site says seal is rated from 5 to 150 psi.
Also, device is rated for 2.5 million cycles at 80 psi.
Info at:
http://support.fluidmaster.com/Profe...ies+fill+valve
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:28 PM   #5
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Broken toilet fill valve


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Originally Posted by bob22 View Post
How about:
"DO NOT USE IN-TANK DROP-IN TOILET BOWL CLEANERS
CONTAINING BLEACH OR CHLORINE.
Interesting. That may be what did it. My wife had used clorox drop-in toilet tank cleaners. That toilet was seldom used because it was in a guest bathroom, so the chlorinated water just sat there. I took a photo of the break in the fluidmaster and there does seem to be some eating away at the place where it cracked. Take a look and see what you think:

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Old 08-04-2009, 09:28 PM   #6
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Broken toilet fill valve


It has been stated that 70psi is more than enough to break sch 40 pvc pipe. Sorry, but that is not the case at all. As you can see in the attached picture, there are two scrap pieces of sch 40 pvc pipe (1-1/2" and 3") with their pressure ratings stamped. No way in hell 70 psi is going to break those pipes. Now, while the fill valve may be made of pvc it is not sch 40 pvc pipe. In addition, your standard pressure reducing valve allows you to adjust the pressure from 25psi to 75psi. Anything higher than 80psi is considered high. Yes 70psi is on the higher side, but within normal limits. My own pressure is set at 68psi and no problems at all. What exactly caused the failure of your fill valve is debatable, but seeing the corrosion you pointed out in your picture leads me in the direction of agreeing with the super chlorinated water theory.

On a side note, I had a call about low water pressure. Went out and checked the pressure which read 44psi. The owner stated that (in his words) instead of a real shower it was more like a dog urinating down your back. I bumped his PRV to 65psi and saw a family rejoice. lol
Attached Thumbnails
Broken toilet fill valve-pvc.jpg  

Last edited by JDC; 08-04-2009 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:39 PM   #7
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Broken toilet fill valve


Quote:
Originally Posted by bob22 View Post
How about:
"DO NOT USE IN-TANK DROP-IN TOILET BOWL CLEANERS
CONTAINING BLEACH OR CHLORINE. Use of such products will:
(1) RESULT IN DAMAGE to tank components and MAY CAUSE
FLOODING and PROPERTY DAMAGE and (2) VOID
FLUIDMASTER WARRANTY. DO NOT overtighten nuts or
tank/bowl may crack."
Any chance the crack was due to this?
I would bet that the psi rating of the Fluidmaster is higher than 70 psi.
Info from their site says seal is rated from 5 to 150 psi.
Also, device is rated for 2.5 million cycles at 80 psi.
Info at:
http://support.fluidmaster.com/Profe...ies+fill+valve
Great point. I'm sure alot of people never even stop to think about what bleach and chlorine can do to the plastic components inside the tank. I'm surprised I have never seen a consumer alert on the subject. A good selling point for the new products that are placed in the bowl.
I never realized the severe damage that bleach can cause until I tried to clean some PVC furniture with diluted bleach and it ate the finish off, leaving it rough and very weakened.

It does look like your fill valve suffered the affects of constant exposure to sitting there with the Chlorox eating away at it. Am glad to hear you had a good insurance company to take care of the damage.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:26 PM   #8
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Broken toilet fill valve


Yes, anything you put in the water will have an effect.

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