Toilet Leaks When Flushed - How to get at closet bend!!
Bought an old heritage home with lapp and plaster walls/ceilings last year and had the toilets pulled to do floors, replaced wax seals, and drains snaked right away.
Last week the toilet in the second floor water closet (toilet only) leaked buckets of water when flushed. The water came out of a space in the kitchen ceiling in a cupboard right below the toilet room and from the sunshine ceiling light fixture about four feet away.
We cleaned up the mess, and called the plumber.
He pulled the toilet and replaced the wax seal. It still leaked when flushed. He then hammed down a round piece of aluminum or tin material in drain pipe. It still leaked.
He asked me to call the carpenter to expose the ‘closet bend’ and ‘connection to the soil pipe.’
Uh, where is that!!!!!
I have been checking on this leak and noticed a few things:
1. No damp plaster (we have not used this toilet since) BUT major plaster damage and evidence of old repair (s) to the plaster – but the lapp is all still in place - in the cupboard.
2. No damp plaster but a little bit of dried mildew and some plaster damage plus evidence of old plaster repair in the kitchen light fixture, which is right below the pedestal sink in the bathroom, which is right beside the toilet room.
3. Slow draining pedestal sink.
4. Corrosion/rust on the soil pipe.
All the other plumbing in the house is fine.
So where do you think I should start with the cutting away of walls? I don’t want a house full of holes at this time of year as the trades are really busy and I can’t get a plasterer out until January! I was lucky to get the plumber ...
Also, should I replace the iron soil pipe?
Pull the toilet up. Look into the drain pipe. The fitting under the flange should be the closet bend (an elbow), unless a piece of pipe was installed to make it drop down before going into the bend. By seeing what way it turns, you will know which direction you need to cut to get to where this elbow connects to the soil stack (main drain piping). Cast iron is a great sound barrier when water is running. If it is not split or broken (or very brittle) I would keep it.
Yep it drops down into a recessed space and the water closet is only about 5 feet max across .. so I can't see which way the elbow is placed it could be right below the toilet or behind it!! If below, I can get to it from the cupboard - easy. If its behind the toilet toward the wall, i have to cut into the stairwell wall ...
There is no evidence of water damage on that wall or any wall on any level next to the stack BUT there is evidence of a huge repair mess in the ceiling of that cupboard.
Would your educated guess be that the elbow has leaked there before?
Would you snake the drain before cutting any walls/ceilings as the elbow does not leak when the tub/shower/sink drain into the stack .. or is that not relevant?
Just hate to make holes in plaster!!!
I would definitely snake the drain first! If the toilet is leaking that much water and the sink drains slow as well, it may be because the pipes are not letting the water pass fast enough. I just went through this last weekend because of a clog out near the street where it meets the sewer. Unfortunately, in my case it was causing backups in all the drains.
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