Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brass vs. Steel

When it comes to plumbing, or anything related to water, you want to stick with brass. Or at least avoid steel. In the continuing adventures of #FortMax, we had a toilet begin dripping water shortly after we moved in. Thankfully the leak wasn't a major one but it was certainly inconvenient to be down a working toilet right away.

The final diagnosis on the cause of the leak was a steel bolt was used to attach the toilet tank to the toilet bowl. It was clearly an after-market repair as all toilet kits come with brass bolts for that particular connection. The steel bolt rusted over time because it is in direct contact with the water inside the tank. That rust led to a leak.

My working theory is that at some point in time the steel bolt was put in during a tank repair. Because the house was not used frequently, the rust accumulated but didn't have any movement in the tank. Once we started using it, the water coming into the tank and going out caused the rust to move, thus causing the leak to appear.

Again, we're thankful that the leak wasn't a big one and didn't have any lasting impact on the bathroom floor (or basement ceiling). But it's yet again another thing to think about when doing your household repairs. Take the time (and the money) to do it right the first time. The cost difference between a brass and a steel bolt can't be that much. Maybe pennies. But even if it was a few dollars, imagine the amount of money you would need to spend on repairing your bathroom floor and cleaning up a flooded basement. All because you used a steel bolt in the toilet.

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