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Old 02-27-2014, 09:29 PM   #1
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toilet leak issue: need advice


Hi there!

I need a professional advise with my situations.

I have my toilet clogged (first time in 9 months), and I flooded my neighbors downstairs. They called the condo management company hotline. 2 plumbers came to my apartment, then they tried to plunge it and spent there about 2.5 hours. here is what they wrote in the bill#1:

"7pm to 11pm 2-20-2014" upon arrival we found it raining in 4xx master bedroom. When we gained access to 5xx we found there toilet was blocked and leaking at the wax ring. We pulled the toilet and rodded the line, we pulled out 3' of dental floss and tampons all tangled up. We preinstalled the toilet and everything is working fine at this time. Job complete.
Emergency Service Call and repair to Toilet 1,040.00
Total materials 30.00
Emergency Trip Charge 50.00
Total amount: $1,120.00

In 4 days the toilet got clogged again. It flooded my neighbors again, this time I called this hotline myself and the same 2 guys came over. They spent about an hour this time, here is what they wrote in the bill#2:

"Upon arrival we found the toilet was blocked up again in 5xx and the water was leaking to 4xx. We pulled the toilet and found the line was blocked due to offset collar. The piping needs to be replaced by cutting open the drywall in the ceiling of 4xx and moving the toilet line back towards the wall by at least 6". Job complete.
Emergency call 520.00
Emergency trip charge 50.00
Total amount $560.00

Now I invited another plumber (which looks to me much more professional) He explained to me that there is a defect in the way how the toilet installed so it gets clogged. here is what he suggested to do:

"Replace offset cast iron flange (toilet) with regular 4 inch cast iron toilet flange. The flange that is on there should not be offset and it is broken. $1,300 to replace".

My home insurance, said it's not covered. The building management company said that they cannot cover this because these "are not common elements".

I am totally devastated with all these - I need to pay $2980 which I don't have plus floor/tiles repair.

Can anyone recommend me how to handle this? is there any way to make the building management company/condo association or insurance involved into this?

Thank you
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:30 PM   #2
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The plumber also offered to fix/restore the existing flange which is less expensive $360. The problem is that this offset flange creates some angle which makes it more probable to clog. If to install a regular flange - then there will be a straight vertical connection which less likely to clog. $360 would be much better than $1300 for me but I don't want to flood my neighbors again. Is it possible to insulate it so even if it's clogged, it will not leak downstairs?
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:38 PM   #3
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I was always under the impression that if you own a condo that you don't actually own anything beyond the drywall/subfloor. I'd like to know more about what the building management means by "are not common elements".


The problem is that if they used an offset flange on a 2nd floor there's usually a reason for it. I've seen them used a lot in concrete slabs where the rough in was missed by 2" or so, but never on a 2nd floor.


This makes me wonder what is in the ceiling that is preventing that pipe from dropping completely vertical.
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Last edited by Alan; 02-27-2014 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:24 PM   #4
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Here is how it looked after emergency plumbers left.

I had to call different (normal) plumbers who replaced the flange and sealed the holes.

The emergency plumbers left holes not sealed (see the photo), so when it got clogged 2 time the water leaked downstairs again.

Can I negotiate the bill with the emergency plumbers because they didn't seal the holes so I flooded my neighbors again?

Thank you
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Old 06-29-2015, 09:11 AM   #5
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no advice to help with this situation but for the future there are a few products you can attach to your toilet that will monitor it and shut the water off if too much water is being fed in or the toilet is about to overflow for any reason. in our experience the best one has been Tri-Flo Toilet Guard. I believe they have a website
found the website: triflotoilet.com

Last edited by HoustonRepair; 06-29-2015 at 09:12 AM. Reason: adding website
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:18 PM   #6
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I can't give you any advice, legal or plumbing, but you might want to look at this online article having to do with California law. Your state may be different. Especially see the following quote:

Quote:
In the Newport Beach case discussed in the above example, the Court of Appeal held that a piece of a system of interconnected sewer piping is, literally, physically connected to every other piece of the system. Every unit's sewer pipes are a “fixture” of every other unit's sewer pipes, and thus the sewer pipe was not the duty of the Homeowner to repair or replace or maintain, since it was part of the HOA’s Common Area. Dover Village Assn. v. Jennison (2010) 191 Cal. App. 4th 123, 129.
Your mileage may differ from Dover Village for a number of reasons that I cannot get into. Are they saying someone using your toilet caused the problem by flushing tampons, because if that is true why did it fail again a couple of days after the first repair? Just food for thought and I do not mean to suggest an anwer.

Last edited by Klawman; 07-01-2015 at 08:24 PM.
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