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Friday, October 23, 2009

Failing Flange

I have a question regarding a toilet flange. The flange that holds my toilet down has rotted away and will NOT hold the bolts in place; those bolts of course being the ones that secure the toilet. I already told a service technician to fix it but he quoted me a semi-high price also saying the holding tank might need to be dropped to remove the flange. Is there an easy do-it-yourself fix or should I just bite the bullet and let him repair it? I don't feel right telling him not to after I told him to do it. However, I would like to know the process it takes to fix something like this so I can question him. It's an Aqua Magic toilet in a 1991 rig.
Chad, (Acton, ME

Chad, the modern toilet flange is typically made of ABS plastic so it’s doubtful that the flange itself has rotted away. More likely, the floor has sunk around the flange. In any event it will be necessary to remove the toilet and inspect the floor and the flange. It may not be necessary to remove the holding tank in order to remove the flange. In fact, just the opposite is true; it is absolutely necessary to remove the flange before the holding tank can be removed! It should take no longer than one hour to remove the toilet, inspect the flange and floor and make a determination as to what repairs are necessary. Toilet flanges/downpipes are either threaded into an adapter secured to the top of the holding tank or cemented using ABS cement. Others may just slip into a rubber grommet attached to the tank. The inspection mentioned above will reveal exactly how your flange is attached.

In rare instances it may be necessary to drop the holding tank to make the repair, but quite often the flange can be replaced from inside the bathroom only. The closet bolts which hold the toilet to the flange may simply be loose. I’d recommend tightening those nuts first. You may have to lift up on the toilet while tightening the bolts to keep the base of the closet bolts in place. But if the bolts indeed pull through the flange, it will have to be replaced. If the toilet fits securely to the floor after tightening, then the flange is probably okay and just the seal between the toilet and the flange needs replacing. I’ve seen wax flange gaskets soften in the summer due to excess heat. This will indeed make the toilet loose on the flange. Replace wax gaskets with a rubber flange seal. But obviously this is all speculation until the inspection. If a rotted or sunken floor exists, then more extensive repairs will be in order.


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