At a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I discovered water stains around a toilet that the Seller informed us were “historic.” Probing with a moisture meter, it was clear that the subfloor was clearly saturated with the possibility of underlying damage not visible without pulling the toilet and invasively inspecting. Moisture meters and infrared thermography help home inspectors determine elevated moisture conditions not visible to the naked eye.
Testing a toilet at a recent home inspection on San Juan Island, I couldn’t get it to flush. So, I removed the tank lid and attempted to open the valve to verify it actually flushed. In this video, you see the valve/stopper basically come off in my hands, but it flushed! If your toilet valve is tight or non functional, it’s a pretty easy repair. Universal toilet valve repair kits are available at most hardware stores; if you have a specialty toilet, you can check with your plumbing contractor and/or search online for replacement parts. I like Amazon.com because I can get parts quickly shipped to my door.
Toilets are complicated fixtures that may fail in numerous ways. This article describes typical toilet defects, provides information for diagnosing such defects, and offers an overview of toilet designs and functionality.
- “Sitting toilets,” while popular in Western countries, are not as common as “squat toilets” found in most of the world.
- The film “Psycho” (1960) was the first American movie to show a flushing toilet. The scene, believed by many to be indecent, lead to an outburst of complaints.
- An average person visits the toilet 2,500 times a year, about six to eight times a day. You will spend about three years of your life on the toilet.
- Most pharmaceuticals are excreted through urination, which enters sewer systems and eventually contaminates fish. A recent study by the EPA has found fish containing trace amounts of cholesterol-lowering drugs, estrogen, antibiotics, caffeine and anti-depressants.
(read full article on InterNACHI)
If you are not on a sewer system, then you are likely on a septic system. As with most things, a little maintenance can go a long way and help prevent potentially expensive (and smelly) problems. A still pertinent ten-year-old article by the National Environmental Services Center says, “Septic system maintenance is often compared to automobile maintenance because only a little effort on a regular basis can save a lot of money and significantly prolong the life of the system.” See their comprehensive Homeowners Guide to Maintaining Your Septic System.