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Calling plumbers - fixing a leaking toilet cistern

Discussion in 'off topic' started by ToTo Man, Jul 23, 2021.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Our toilet cistern has just sprung a leak at the back right hand corner, water is spraying out from the back of the white plastic part (inlet valve?) - see video below - which is then running down the wall behind the cistern and flooding onto the floor.

    We've temporarily sorted the problem by reducing the flow of water into the cistern to a trickle, so that it takes around 5 minutes to fill instead of the usual 30 seconds.

    My dad would normally call a plumber out for something like this but given our continued caution over Covid we are trying to avoid bringing workmen into the house. If someone could advise what the problem is and the name of the part that needs replaced we would be very grateful.

    I should also note there is a split in the bag but AFAIK it’s been split for years and, as the location of the split is lower than where the water is spraying out, I assume the split bag is not the cause of the leak higher up?


    photo #1

    photo #2
  2. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    It’s hard to tell from the photos or video what th problem is but it looks as though the water is getting in behind the lead washer top right with the fixing screw.

    I’d replace the existing Torbeck filling valve with a Fluidmaster 450 pro (brass shank) you’ll get one in screw fix but to be honest I’d recommend a plumber replace it.

    Think Torbeck also do a brass shank version.

    I’m in G76 if you want to pm me.
    ToTo Man likes this.
  3. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    The water is coming out through the four square holes on the back of the inlet valve shown in the second photo. Are these holes a form of overflow protection to prevent too much water pressure inside the bag?

    My dad's just noticed something loose inside the white inlet valve, some sort of sponge?, which was near the bag end of the valve. He's moved it to the other end of the valve near the four squares holes and this seems to have helped. Now there's more water flowing through the bag and much less coming out the back of the valve unless we turn the pressure up.

    We should probably still replace the valve, because if the sponge is able to move then the problem could reoccur at any time.
  4. cj66

    cj66 pfm Member

    The bag assembly is the anti syphon gizmo and no, it should not be split.
    These type filler valves tend to be troublesome and, as @twotone already said, should be switched for a better design.

    Pictured is the bottom inlet valve type, there is also a side ( of the cistern ) entry type.
    ToTo Man likes this.
  5. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Thanks @cjarchez, the fluidmaster valves fill from the bottom of the valve.

    Most filling valves and cisterns are 1/2” or holes in the cistern are but occasionally you can have a 3/8” valve or a 3/8” hole in the bottom of the cistern that’s why I recommended a plumber replace the valve.

    It’s Usually Spanish/Turkish cisterns that are 3/8”.

    Also if the cistern has to be removed from the pan in order to replace the filling valve I would recommend replacing the flushing valve too as it’s only the additional cost of a valve your paying for the labour anyway and it only takes minutes to replace the flushing valve when the cistern has been removed from the pan
    ToTo Man likes this.
  6. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    As a short-term solution that carries the least amount of risk for a non-plumber, could I just replace the anti-syphon assembly and horizontal float arm with a like-for-like Torbeck, and leave alone the main body that's bolted to the bottom of the cistern?
  7. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    These things really make me despair.

    We've got a 1947 ball valve which has never given any trouble, we save a couple of pounds getting some cheap plastic rubbish from the other side of the world unemploying our neighbours and leading to a lifetime of aggravation.
    Colin Barron and Snufkin like this.
  8. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    You could try but I've never had much success replacing Torbeck bits especially the daiphram washer, don't suppose it's the newer two part Torbeck valve, ie you can remove the top part by undoing a nut inside the cistern on the valve stem?
  9. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Unfortunately that's the price we all pay for choice, the amount of different cistern parts these days is unreal, there used to a time not so long ago when I could carry a couple of bits in the van and repair most ball-valves and syphons but that's sadly no longer the case, I'd need an artic truck full of bits and even then there would be no guarantee of fixing anything, same with taps, showers and boilers.
  10. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    you could just try replacing the diaphragm, its a two min job and your local plumbers merchants will have them for 20p
  11. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Aye it is but that often doesn't work on Torbeck valves and indeed Fluidmaster valves, I've tried believe me, only replacement Armitage Shanks filling valve diaphragms work in my experience.

    Anyway it's just as easy to change the valve and then you know for certain the problem is sorted, the valves are buttons anyway the most expensive is about £18 some are less than a tenner.
    gavreid likes this.
  12. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I don't know the mechanics of how a cistern works but I don't think the diaphragm is the problem because the cistern level is ok, it stops where it should and isn't overflowing. The problem is water pissing out the four square holes at the back of the white plastic valve. I'll order up a new Torbeck fill valve and try replacing just the white plastic valve and arm float sections and see if that sorts the problem.

    EDIT - I've ordered this to try first.
  13. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    New bathroom time, I reckon
    Paul L and PhilofCas like this.
  14. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    It will be after a good flooding........


  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW I managed to replace both bits (the flushy bit and the refilling bit) of my cistern last year myself with no plumbing experience at all. It was at the height of covid, pre-vaccines etc, so no way in hell was I prepared to let a plumber in until after I’d flooded the house, which thankfully I didn’t at at all. It’s still working perfectly now, though will be getting binned as I’m having the whole bathroom replaced professionally in a couple of weeks (more down to a woodworm infestation than anything else, i.e. I’m getting a whole new floor put in as part of it). Not cheap!
    paulfromcamden and ToTo Man like this.
  16. timH

    timH pfm Member

    From your original post it sounds like you are able to turn off the water supply quite easily. If so it's not difficult to replace the whole thing and will save you a fortune on plumber price. I've done it a few times in our own and daughters houses
    ToTo Man likes this.
  17. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Fitted this today and it appears to have fixed the problem. There's still water coming out the 4 square holes but it's dripping out instead of squirting so is unlikely to make it over the back of the cistern and onto the floor. I'm assuming this style of diverter is supposed to let a little bit of water pass through these holes or else why would the holes be there? Not quite brave enough to crank the flow rate back up to where it was so the cistern now fills in around 70 secs instead of 30 secs but we can live with that. We actually only cranked up the flow rate up about 18 months ago as I was getting fed up by the noise levels (we discovered the cistern fills more quietly when the flow rate is higher), that's probably what busted the old diverter!
  18. Colin Barron

    Colin Barron pfm Member

    I try to fit Armitage Shanks/ ideal standard kitchen and bathroom stuff because spares are usually available direct from ideal standard.
    twotone likes this.

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