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Thread: I think a plumber pulled a fast one on me 82 yr old mum.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member imbiggie's Avatar
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    Default I think a plumber pulled a fast one on me 82 yr old mum.

    Dear Newsgroup,
    I think a shifty plummer pulled a fast one on my 82 yr old mum.

    As soon as he left the water tank behind the toilet started acting very wonky.
    The water goes up and down...up and down.....up and down.
    Each cycle jolts the pipes throughout the house making sleep impossible.
    Then..like its on a timer or something...functions OK for a day or 2.
    Then the up and down starts in again. The black flap on the bottom of the tank is shut tight so its kinda spooky watching this.

    Any illumination would be tremendous, thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Give us a little more background.

    Was he there to work on the toilet? What was he asked to do and/or what did he say he did?

    If this just started on its own, we can help you diagnose the toilet. Post a low-resolution photo of the tank contents with the lid off, if you can, or tell us the brand and model if you know it. New toilet? Old toilet?

    These things are helpful but not essential.

    Other questions: You say the water goes up and down, but the flapper (black thing) is shut tight. If you turn off the water to the toilet at the wall there, does the tank drain on its own? If so, you probably just need a new flapper, although it might be something much-less-likely like a crack in that riser, although that would probably not cause intermittent symptoms.

    When the water is running, does it flow up over the top of the overflow riser (the vertical tube by the flush valve)? Or does it just fill to a level about an inch below that and then shut off? If the latter, then the fill valve (incoming water control) is doing what it is supposed to do.

    In terms of the water hammer effect on shutoff, some fill valves are more likely to cause that than others. Again, is there a new fill valve in there? Is this a new toilet? Or is this an old toilet that just now started doing this?

    My off-the-cuff guess is that all Mum needs is a new flapper, but give us some more detail and maybe we can focus the answer better.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 01-13-2013 at 09:07 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member imbiggie's Avatar
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    Let me get to work on this assignment. Tomorrows a new day and thanks!!

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Our pleasure. When I talk about turning off the water and seeing if the tank drains, one way to do it is to mark the water level with a pencil and then see where it is an hour or two later. If it's down, then that's what's causing it to turn on and refill.

    Sometimes, too, one cause of an intermittent problem can be that the chain between the handle and the black thing (flapper) is too tight (i.e. no slack at all) and it's holding the flapper just imperceptibly above the sealing point sometimes, and sometimes not. Or there is too much chain and it is sometimes catching under the lip of the flapper and sometimes not. Or the handle is sticky and sometimes it returns to a proper level and sometimes not. Or the bar to which the chain is connected is off-center and pulling the flapper to one side so it isn't fully-seating. So that's my list of potential little things that can be causing an intermittent problem with the flapper. Or it can just be that the flapper is old and a new one will solve the problem easily.

    I look forward to your follow-up.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member imbiggie's Avatar
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    Default I think a plumber pulled a fast one on me 82 yr old mum.

    Give us a little more background.

    Was he there to work on the toilet? What was he asked to do and/or what did he say he did?
    The toilet was wobbling like a bad table in a luncheonette. He was here to repair that.

    If this just started on its own, we can help you diagnose the toilet. Post a low-resolution photo of the tank contents with the lid off, if you can, or tell us the brand and model if you know it. New toilet? Old toilet?

    Old. Gerber 1.6 gpf 6.0 Lpf..then inside a circle you see s a

    Right now im waiting for the intermittent symptoms to start in again so I can better respond.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by imbiggie; 01-14-2013 at 02:43 PM.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Probably not the answer to this problem, but just for general information. Many of the early low flow toilets did not perform well at all. Many manufactures tried just minor changes to their existing models to make them use less water. This just flat didn't work and to this day, many people think a low flow toilet requires frequent plunging to deal with clogs. Gerber was one of this companies. As I said, this is not likely to be your immediate problem, but if/when a new toilet is needed, consider the Toto line. You can read about them by following the link "Toilet Review" at the top of this page.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I do not know WHERE the water going up and down is. Is it in the bowl or the tank? It should be in the tank if it is causing water hammer, but then we would have to know what kind of fill valve you have. Does it have an arm with a float ball on the end? Too many questions, not enough answers from your end.

    What makes you say he was "shifty". That is like I tell my wife about the TV when the crooks in a truck pull up in front of a house, "I hope they are not plumbers". But they always are. Never electricians or air conditioner people.
    Last edited by hj; 01-15-2013 at 06:27 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member imbiggie's Avatar
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    Sorry Sir,
    I tried at the beginning, on the phone, to get him to answer my question, what do u charge per hr?? No luck. He responded by giving me an estimate $300 dollars. Wound up charging over $500 and over $200 per hr by my reckoning. As soon as he finished the problem began. Never happened before. I assume if i called it to his attention before he leaves the house...Judge Judy?....Hes obligated to fix it? It was fine when he walked in the door but he made it out and now wants more $$$$

    Yes the water I describe above is in the tank. My fill valve doz NOT have an arm with a float ball. More like a black hand grenade shape thingy the slides up and down on a pole.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    We don't know what he did while he was at the house, so we cannot tell you how long it should have taken. Have you tried talking to plumber? If he worked on the toilet a few days ago and now it has a problem, he should be held responsible to fix it.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 01-15-2013 at 05:30 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member imbiggie's Avatar
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    We don't know what he did while he was at the house, so we cannot tell you how long it should have taken. Have you tried talking to plumber? If he worked on the toilet a few days ago and now it has a problem, he should be held responsible to fix it.

    I spoke to him asap. He was nasty and wanted another $150 "estimate" to come back.

  11. #11
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate that you have not been treated right.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    So, look, we may be able to help. If he fixed the rocking, great. I take it that the whole toilet was rocking, not just the tank at the back, right?

    Regardless, if that's in order, let's just check and see whether the flapper needs to be replaced.

    I would just turn off the water to the toilet, and see if the water level in the tank is lower after an hour or two. Mark it with a pencil where it is when you turn off the water, and then see where it is an hour or so later. If it's down, then let's try replacing the flapper and we'll guide you to it. The flapper costs about $5 at the hardware store, and is easy to install. We have the model now, so we can help find the right flapper for you.

    Let us know what's up. If you have a chance to post a picture of the inside of the tank, that can help, too. But it's not necessary.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; assume if i called it to his attention before he leaves the house...Judge Judy?....Hes obligated to fix it? It was fine when he walked in the door but he made it out and now wants more $$$$

    It is your assumption that something he did caused it, BUT, it could be that it was already there, but what he did made it become evident. For example. a toilet can be loosing it water, but if the tank is leaking, the problem will never be noticed, UNTIL the tank is fixed. Then the plumber gets a call, "My toilet never lost any water until you fixed it. I want you to come back and do it right". Even if the "doing it right" means the customer needs a new toilet. Your logic is like my Dad used to say when he was working in apartment complexes in Chicago. ""I can fix the boiler in the basement at the South end, and the next day a tenant on the top floor of the North end, a block away, will call and say that her toilet hasn't worked right since I left the building.

    One thing I can state for certain, in your case, is that any oscillations in the toilet BOWL, will NOT cause any noise of any kind, and definitely NOT a "banging" in the pipes. You are either describing the problem wrong, or are misdiagnosing it.
    Last edited by hj; 01-16-2013 at 07:06 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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