Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Public Service Announcement - How to save your toilet from flooding the house

About a year ago, my dear friend came home from work to see water coming from her house.  She rushed inside to find water filling up her house and gushing from her bathroom.
What had happened, you say?  A little tiny plastic connector that goes from the back of the toilet to the wall broke.  Simple as that.  Every toilet has one.  This is what it looks like:
The thing that really is amazing is that EVERY house has one and they are only rated to last 5-10 years and they DO NOT make them in stainless steel like their connecting hose!

So, back to my friend.  She tells everyone she knows - "go now, learn from me and replace this simple connector before your house is flooded.  The most amazing thing; this little connector costs less than $10." 
She had tons of professional dryers going 24 hours a day trying to get the floors & walls dry.   In ruined almost every floor in her house.  All her carpets and hardwoods had to be replaced, some of the walls and some furniture.
Would you like to know how much it cost to replace all the damage done to her house?  Over $40,000

Did I rush out and buy said connector??  No!  
Why not?  I am sure there are reasons, got busy, didn't think it would happen to me, forgot, etc.  The reason doesn't matter, just that I never did.
So, fast forward 1 year.  
Fans going full blast
Chamois - I even had the 2 yo soaking up water
Shop Vac - not just for dirt!

Yep!  You got it!  It happened to me!
I do not have any pictures of the water gushing out or of the 2" of water that were in my bathroom, because I was too shocked and panicked to get a camera at that point.   The big difference between my friend's situation and mine is that I was home when it happened.
It was early on a Saturday morning and I was in my living room with all my kids asleep still.  I had gone in to tell them that it was time to start waking up and gone back to the living room.  I heard the water running about 5 minutes later.  Not just "running" . . .it was on full blast.  I thought that one of my kids had gotten up and was using the bathroom.  When the water didn't stop after about 5-8 minutes, I went to check.  The light was off in the bathroom, and as I stepped forward to push open the door and turn on the light, my foot squished in the carpet and I noticed that the sink was not gushing.  It was coming from my toilet!!
My husband had left for work about 20 minutes before.  I panicked and called him and made him turn around to help.  What followed was a morning and afternoon that I had not planned on.  Hours spent bailing water off the linoleum, sucking up the water from the carpet with the shop vac, soaking up water with towels, and chamois and trying to air dry with our fans.
Boy, were my muscles hurting that evening!
And my "flood" was nothing like my friend's.  I caught mine in under 15 minutes and it did all that damage. The water not only got into the carpet in my bathroom (why do contractors think carpet in a bathroom is a good idea anyway???), but it went under the wall, into my closet and into my hallway.

Have I scared you enough yet to make you go out and purchase this simple connector??

I hope so!  Please learn from our mistakes.  If you have not replaced your connector in more than 10 years or your house is older than 10 years - go down to your hardward supply store.  The best part - you can do this yourself.  You do not need a plummer, you only need a wrench.  I will show you how!

1 - See what kind of connector you have.  It is easier if you disconnect your current part and take it with you as there are many choices.  Mine is connected to the hose, so I had to buy this:
Stainless Steel 12" Toilet Connect with 3/8" x 7/8"  - It was under $7,  after tax
2. Turn off your water supply
It is connected to the wall behind your toilet.  Turn it until it cannot go anymore.
3. Flush the toilet, until there is no more water in the back of the tank.  (You do need to take off the led from the back of the toilet to see if it is empty.)
4. Unscrew the plastic connector from the toilet.  You should do this with a bucket underneath - just in case there is water.  You should be able to disconnect it with your hand.

5.  Unscrew the other end with a wrench.
I loosen mine with my wrench and then unscrewed the rest of the way with my hand.    Once you do that, you can remove the whole thing.
6.  Take your connector to the store and buy a new one.
7.  Reattach the connector to the water inlet, first with your hand and then tighten with your wrench.
8. Reattach the plastic connector to the back of the toilet by hand
9.  Turn the water back on.

You're done!  It really is that easy.  Now remember to that again in 5-10 years!

If you replace this simple connector, I hope that you never have to deal with a flooded house.


  1. That is crazy!!! I can't imagine having to deal with that so early in the day. Yuck. ~Kimberlee

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in Creative Busy Bee Craft Inspirations, under the Page 1 post on Oct. 02, 2012. Thanks again.


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