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Need guidance RE siliconed cistern drama

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  1. #1
    Golden Member Watters's Avatar
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    Default Need guidance RE siliconed cistern drama

    My (Imperial) toilet has been topping itself up with water every hour. Something was causing the water level to drop. I couldn't see any water going into the pan/bowl.

    Anyway, I decided to remove the cistern and replace the inlet valve and the outlet flapper valve. After disconnecting the flexi water hose I removed the two wing nuts. In theory the cistern should come away free now no problem. No such luck.

    Someone had used a lot of silicone around the bottom of the flapper valve washer.
    I had to cut out the flapper valve bit by bit from inside the cistern using an open hacksaw.

    When I did finally get the cistern removed, this is what greeted me:

    https://imgur.com/umpf6bE,FktE98F

    After removing the top layers of silicone and freeing what was the external white lock nut from the silicone I discovered a black washer which had been embedded in silicone below the white lock nut (second photo at the above link refers).

    Is it normal to do this, surely not?

    I think I would like to remove all the silicone but I wonder if I should do that or not?

  2. #2
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    I've linked the image correctly...

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails umpf6be.jpg  

  3. #3
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
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    It's probably either a:
    "I can't be bothered to work out what the problem actually is, so I'll just add silicone till it stops" fix, or an
    "I'm too cheap to spend $10 on new seals, I'll spend $15 on silicone instead" fix, or maybe a
    "I don't know what I'm doing, this should fix it" fix!
    DIY electrical house wiring details suitable for Australia - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

  4. #4
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    .....is it any wonder homeowners turn to DIY? Can't be any worse than what's been done!

    How long since the 'plumber' installed the toilet? Is the house (or work) still under warranty? Only ask because he/she should come back and 'fix' it correctly although I can understand you wouldn't want that person back in your house.

    I'm no expert but would be tempted to remove all that old silicone, it can't be doing much? then see if you can find a reason for this piece of 'professionalism'.

    ;-((

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renopa View Post
    .....is it any wonder homeowners turn to DIY? Can't be any worse than what's been done!

    How long since the 'plumber' installed the toilet? Is the house (or work) still under warranty? Only ask because he/she should come back and 'fix' it correctly although I can understand you wouldn't want that person back in your house.

    I'm no expert but would be tempted to remove all that old silicone, it can't be doing much? then see if you can find a reason for this piece of 'professionalism'.

    ;-((
    First up who said it was done by a plumber, looks very much DIY.
    Second, there is a thick black washer approx. 15mm which sits between the cistern and the pan for sealing but sometimes this washer does not seal so a little silicone is used but not that much. So the op should remove all silicone and get a new sealing washer then refit the whole setup, oh, and there was no reason to cut the assembly because a little pressure would have broken the silicone seal, so now the op has to get a new flush assembly which will cost money and fuel, when all he had to do was place a finger at the back of the bowl and he would have seen the water running over his finger.I would be a very wealthy man if I had a dollar for every time someone said "There is no water running into the bowl"

  6. #6
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    Oops....sorry, I read the post quickly and thought it was a fairly new house and therefore would have been installed by a plumber. Maybe someone's had a go at it since then.

    Know what you mean about no water running into the bowl, last time we had that it was a tiny trickle that when you looked closely there was a ripple across the bowl water. The giveaway was the water pump cutting in/out to replenish the tank.

    ;-)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renopa View Post
    Oops....sorry, I read the post quickly and thought it was a fairly new house and therefore would have been installed by a plumber. Maybe someone's had a go at it since then.

    Know what you mean about no water running into the bowl, last time we had that it was a tiny trickle that when you looked closely there was a ripple across the bowl water. The giveaway was the water pump cutting in/out to replenish the tank.

    ;-)
    Would not think a plumber would have installed this. The black sealing washers do perish over time and do need replacing at times.

  8. #8
    Golden Member Watters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    First up who said it was done by a plumber, looks very much DIY.
    Second, there is a thick black washer approx. 15mm which sits between the cistern and the pan for sealing but sometimes this washer does not seal so a little silicone is used but not that much. So the op should remove all silicone and get a new sealing washer then refit the whole setup, oh, and there was no reason to cut the assembly because a little pressure would have broken the silicone seal, so now the op has to get a new flush assembly which will cost money and fuel, when all he had to do was place a finger at the back of the bowl and he would have seen the water running over his finger.I would be a very wealthy man if I had a dollar for every time someone said "There is no water running into the bowl"
    Thanks for the steps but, sorry, you are wrong about using a little pressure to break the silicone seal. The cistern was locked in "really" tight and I was worried about breaking the porcelain cistern. So I cut the flapper valve out. I was going to replace the flapper valve anyway as there were issues with the Imperial design flapper valve and I already had a flapper valve assembly on standby. If water was going down the back of the bowl wouldn't it end up on the floor tiles below and be visible?

    Okay, I will try and get a new sealing washer. Good call. I just hope my local plumber has Imperial sealing washers.... Imperial went bust a while back. If I have to can I order them online somewhere?

    Yes, I will remove all the silicone. I was stunned when I saw all the siliicone. Whoever did this must have used two tubes of silicone. I also need to get a longer water flexi hose. The one that was fitted was far too tight.

    To the posters who suggested I call whoever did this back to fix the problem, good idea but:

    1. The silicone amateur productions job was done before we bought the house. We bought the house a year and a half ago. The toilet misbehaving only happened in the last couple of weeks. Also, I wouldn't want anyone with that approach to things anywhere near the toilet.

    2. I know that I do a good job when I deal with things like this. I was just amazed at all the silicone and wondered what the hell was going on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watters View Post
    Thanks for the steps but, sorry, you are wrong about using a little pressure to break the silicone seal. The cistern was locked in "really" tight and I was worried about breaking the porcelain cistern. So I cut the flapper valve out. I was going to replace the flapper valve anyway as there were issues with the Imperial design flapper valve and I already had a flapper valve assembly on standby. If water was going down the back of the bowl wouldn't it end up on the floor tiles below and be visible?

    Okay, I will try and get a new sealing washer. Good call. I just hope my local plumber has Imperial sealing washers.... Imperial went bust a while back. If I have to can I order them online somewhere?

    Yes, I will remove all the silicone. I was stunned when I saw all the siliicone. Whoever did this must have used two tubes of silicone. I also need to get a longer water flexi hose. The one that was fitted was far too tight.

    To the posters who suggested I call whoever did this back to fix the problem, good idea but:

    1. The silicone amateur productions job was done before we bought the house. We bought the house a year and a half ago. The toilet misbehaving only happened in the last couple of weeks. Also, I wouldn't want anyone with that approach to things anywhere near the toilet.

    2. I know that I do a good job when I deal with things like this. I was just amazed at all the silicone and wondered what the hell was going on.

    Just to let you know, in Australia, we call a flapper valve an outlet washer. When in Rome, do what the Romans do.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by plum View Post
    Just to let you know, in Australia, we call a flapper valve an outlet washer. When in Rome, do what the Romans do.
    Okay,sorry about that.

  11. #11
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    While searching on google for where I can buy a new Imperial "doughnut" washer in case my local plumbing supply shops don't have one, I came across this YouTube video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV0o8gygaPY

    Has anyone tried making their own doughnut washer using closed-cell foam?

    Bunnings sells polyethylene on a roll. Hmmm, I wonder.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Watters;975064]Thanks for the steps but, sorry, you are wrong about using a little pressure to break the silicone seal. The cistern was locked in "really" tight and I was worried about breaking the porcelain cistern. So I cut the flapper valve out. I was going to replace the flapper valve anyway as there were issues with the Imperial design flapper valve and I already had a flapper valve assembly on standby. If water was going down the back of the bowl wouldn't it end up on the floor tiles below and be visible?

    Cisterns and pans are quite strong, which is necessary when you consider the weight they sometimes have to carry.

    By water running down the back of the pan, I meant inside the pan caused by the outlet/flush washer, so you place a finger horizontally across the back of the pan (inside) and if the flush outlet/flush washer is crook, you will see water running over your finger.

    I just replaced 2 for a friend because Richard Cranium, the Plumber who he got in 3 months ago, only replaced the inlet valve.

    These washers, dependent on water and washer quality, sometimes need replacing around 3 years or less.

    As for making your own close coupled sealing washers, depends what the foam costs. Washers are probably about $10-12.

  13. #13
    Golden Member Watters's Avatar
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    I am having trouble finding a proper Imperial doughnut washer, which is why I'm thinking about making one with closed cell foam.
    I visited 3 plumbing stores today. Two of them tried to sell me an oversize one saying that Imperial washers are no longer available because Imperial went bust. They said the oversize one would work because the vertical compression would create the sealing. The third plumbing store (begins with "R") are a bunch of mavericks and wanted to charge me $29 for a washer that also is oversize. I told "R" their attitude was why people turn to eBay etc.

    I've spotted another problem. The washers for the two bolts that hold the cistern down to the pan are deteriorating. Black stuff comes off on my fingers when I touch the bolts. Of course, it seems impossible to source the washers for these bolts. I am thinking of siliconing the top of the washers on the inside of the cistern...

  14. #14
    1K Club Member Random Username's Avatar
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    You could buy some insertion rubber from Clark Rubber (or one of the stores that actually provides a competitive price) and cut one out.
    DIY electrical house wiring details suitable for Australia - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

  15. #15
    Golden Member Watters's Avatar
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    Update

    I think I may have found out why silicone was put all over the place. It turns out that the toilet was installed a little too close to the wall.
    This made the outlet/valve protrusion out of the bottom of the cistern dangerously close to the edge of the hole in the pan.

    Anyway, I made my own homemade washer by cutting a piece from my wife's 15mm thick NBR (rubber) Yoga mat.



    There are very slight indentations in the Yoga mat material true, but, after testing against a glass cooking pot it didn't take much compression to lose the indentations. The bottom side of the Yoga mat is flat, so no indentations.

    The toilet is back together with new inlet valve/float, new outlet valve/flapper (apologies to Romans), and new washers for the cistern bolts.
    I also put in a longer flexi hose (looped), the old one was way too tight.

    I am very happy with the end result. Not only is it good to have the toilet functioning again, but there are no Imperial parts inside the cistern anymore.

    One curious thing, the cistern bolts were not equidistant in the cistern (15mm difference). Such is life.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 10homemadewasher1024.jpg  

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watters View Post
    Update

    I found out why I think all the silicone was put all over the place. It turns out that the toilet was installed a little too close to the wall.
    So, I made my own homemade washer by cutting a piece of my wife's 15mm thick NBR (rubber) Yoga mat.



    There are very slight indentations in the Yoga mat material but, after testing against a glass cooking pot it didn't take much compression to lose the indentations.

    Anyway, the toilet is back together with new inlet valve/float, new outlet valve/flapper (apologies to Romans), and new washers for the cistern bolts.
    I also put in a longer flex hose (looped), the old one was way too tight.

    I am very happy with the end result.
    You are a Legend in your own lunchtime.

  17. #17
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    Who needs yoga anyway?

  18. #18
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    Well, you can still do yoga while you are on the toilet!
    DIY electrical house wiring details suitable for Australia - http://goo.gl/9d33T (PDF file)

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