Common Toilet and Bathroom Plumbing Failures
Bathroom fixture and plumbing damages that keep toilets, sinks, showers, and more from functioning as designed can also lead to structural water damage. Determining an accurate cause of failure is crucial to identifying subrogation potential, so you need an expert familiar with the ins and outs of bathroom components. Here are two of the most common failures seen in Donan’s Component Testing Laboratory (CTL), their potential causes, and what you can do to feel confident about next steps.
Toilets are made of vitreous china, a glazing technique that gives porcelain a sleek, shiny aesthetic. This material can sometimes fracture, at which point there are a few causes of failure to consider.
One cause of toilet fractures is improper curing, a condition in which ceramic spontaneously fractures 1 to 10 years after it’s cooled and placed into service. This is a manufacturing defect that reduces the ceramic’s ability to withstand the cooler temperatures inside the tank.
An improper curing failure often presents as a single fracture near the tank corner, where residual stress from the toilet’s kiln curing is high.
Overtightening the bolts during installation or repair can also fracture ceramic. Often, manufacturers include bolt-tightening guidelines, but policyholders or contractors may overtighten in an effort to stop leaking. Overtightening failures are usually radial fractures at the bolt hole.
Finally, fractures may be the result of impact or shipping damage. Toilets are manufactured to withstand up to 1,000 pounds, so they rarely fracture due to user error while in service. However, fractures can occur during shipping if the toilet isn’t properly packaged or secured or when the toilet is moved during repair or bathroom remodeling. This damage often originates at a chipped area, indicating a point of impact, from which cracks radiate.
When assessing damage, it’s important not to confuse fractures caused during shipping with the original failure. An expert who knows the characteristics of cracks that resulted from different causes of failure is necessary to the accurate conclusions adjusters need to make decisions about subrogation.
Leaks in sink, shower, and toilet pipes are another common loss experts see at the CTL. While the source of the leak itself may be small, knowing the true cause of failure is a big part of deciding whether to subrogate, as material used, installation methods, or maintenance may have contributed to the failure.
Freeze damage often results in water loss, since it can cause pipes to burst. Several factors may lead to this condition. In freezing weather, water can pool in pipes due to an improper slope or because there is insufficient water flow. A lack of insulation protecting pipes from outside temperatures makes them vulnerable to bursting and leakage.
Burst, leaking pipes may be the result of improper installation, lack of maintenance, or manufacturing defects.
Corrosion may also occur to copper and steel pipes. In copper piping, these are often pin holes due to internal corrosion. On steel pipes, water often drips then streams from holes near connections, and extensive visible rust on the outside of the pipe accompanies the leak. If improper material or inferior design was used in the pipes’ manufacture, corrosion in supply lines beneath the sink may be the result of exposure to cleaners containing chloride stored nearby.
Leaks may also be a result of poorly prepared or missing joint compound or tape, or insufficient installation, which can degrade over time. Solvent bond issues may also occur if the weather is too hot or if the material sits for too long. An experienced expert trained to recognize the signs of improper materials or installation can help you identify subrogation opportunities that may exist surrounding a failure.
After the Failure
Getting objective answers about failed toilets and plumbing is vital to handling subrogation decisions with confidence. It starts with sending evidence to a lab for evaluation by choosing a shipping company that values the integrity of the evidence. If the evidence is further damaged in transit, a scientific evaluation will be compromised, diminishing the ability to determine an accurate cause of failure. A shipping company affiliated with the lab can protect the evidence from pickup to its arrival.
Using a reputable shipping company that takes steps to secure and document evidence ensures that experts can provide an accurate cause of failure for damaged bathroom components.
Donan’s Loss Logistics shipping services provides a single chain of custody and custom packaging. Upon reaching the Component Testing Laboratory (CTL), certified engineers assess each component that comes to the lab using the scientific method and state-of-the-art equipment. For objective, evidence-based answers to your product failure questions, submit an assignment today.