Toilets, Water Damage and Mold

toilets, water damage and moldThe toilet. It is very important to us and we all visit it often, but no one wants to really talk or think about it. Not considering it, though, could spell disaster. The truth about toilets, aside from them being necessary for all of us, is that their failures are the second leading source of residential water losses, after only plumbing supply line failures. Therefore, if we are property owners, it is in our best interest to try and prevent a toilet from failing, so that it doesn’t result in water damage and mold.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the following are the most basic ways to prevent water damage and mold caused by a failing toilet, some steps to take at the first sign of failure, and things to consider when selecting a new toilet:

Proper maintenance is the first step in preventing toilet failure:

Inspect the components inside the toilet every six months.

Remove the top of the toilet tank.

Flush the toilet and examine the operation of the internal tank components.

Is the fill valve operating properly?

Is the flush valve secure over the opening at the bottom of the tank?

Water running periodically in a toilet tank between uses is a sign that the internal tank components are beginning to fail. The most common problem is a leaking flush valve.

Periodically check the supply line connection to ensure that it is not loose.

Close and open the supply valve to the toilet twice a year. It should turn smoothly and should not have signs of rust, which could cause it to lock in position.

To quickly prevent tank overflow:

Lift off the top of the tank and lift up on the float valve.

While continuing to hold the float, shut off the supply valve. This valve is usually located on the wall or the floor near the toilet.

For a clogged toilet:

Lift off the top of the tank and make sure the flush valve is closed.

Do not continue to flush the toilet if it appears clogged. Use a toilet plunger or snake to clear the clog.

If a toilet is prone to clogging:

Consider flushing a second time once the toilet has stopped running- this can help to remove solids from the drain pipe.

More serious toilet backups or overflows may require a professional plumbing service to clear the drain line.

Inspecting for a slow leak:

Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank.

Allow the toilet to sit for a period of time without flushing it.

If you eventually notice colored water in your bowl, you have a leak.

Other indications include red streaks on the side of your bowl. These occur from mineral deposits left over from a constant stream of water.

Check the toilet base and supply line for signs of leaking.

If you have toilets on upper floors, inspect the ceiling directly below for signs of discoloration.

Consider the following features when selecting a new toilet:

A 3-inch or greater gravity flush valve, the hole at the bottom of the tank leading to the toilet bowl, instead of the standard 2-inch. Or choose one of the newer toilet flushing technologies, such as a pressure-assisted flush valve.

A 2-inch or larger diameter glazed trapway, the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, instead of the standard 1 7/8-inch diameter. This can reduce friction and the potential for clogging.

Joe Taylor Restoration is well-versed in toilets. We talk and think about them quite often, but usually only after water damage has occurred. Hopefully, the above tips will help you prevent toilet failure, but if you find yourself underwater, call Joe Taylor Restoration immediately. The sooner any water damage can be addressed, the more likely you are to avoid mold damage and further destruction. However, if you discover that toilet failure has resulted in water damage and mold, the experts at Joe Taylor Restoration will address both and restore your property to its original condition.