Vortens Toilet Tanks

Last year, we announced that Vortens was having problems with their toilet tanks and as a result, home and business owners were experiencing cracking and subsequent water damage. Recently we heard from two owners who had encountered the defective tanks. A photo of a cracked tank is shown below. The fact that we heard from two owners confirms that defective tanks are still in use and consumers want to know what to do. If your property is insured, contact your carrier as soon as possible, take pictures of all damage including the failed tank pieces. If you start cleaning up, do not discard anything. It is especially important to save all of the pieces of the tank; your carrier’s adjuster or investigator will want to take possession of all evidence. Be sure to make notes of all phone calls, meetings, and happenings that take place in regard to repairing your property. The notes will come in handy if you have to go to court and testify against the manufacturer. On the other hand if you are not insured, you can try to file a claim with the manufacturer directly. If that doesn’t work, you can try and find an attorney who will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That is, the attorney will work on your case and will be paid only if you collect anything. Typically, attorneys working on a contingency fee basis will take 33% of what ever is awarded.

Cracked Vortens Toilet Tank

Cracked Vortens Toilet Tank

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Recurring Product Problems

Recently, we have been engaged to investigate failures of products that we have seen in the past. The first product that has been reencountered is the In Sink Erator water filter, model F201R. This filter is part of an In Sink Erator, under sink, hot water dispensing system. On two separate occasions, the water filter housing was found to have been cracked on the bottom. In both situations, the water filter had been in use for between 0 and 5 years. Obviously, if the resulting water leakage is not immediately stopped, there can be a substantial amount of damage to floors, cabinets, walls, carpets, and furniture. Although the water filter housing appears to have been made of some type of plastic material, the properties of the material remain unknown. As a result, an engineering analysis of the stresses involved cannot be completed. However, it also appears that that the major contributor of the stress is the water pressure to which the interior surface of the filter is subjected. The shape of the water filter is simlilar to a bell and the stress causing the failure appears aas a crack on the bottom side, approximately 2 to 3 inches long. When viewed microscopically, smaller stress cracks are visible along the main crack.

We have also recently encountered another instance where PEX piping has been used in the plumbing system of a residence and leaked. This subject was covered in earlier blog post of July 21, 2012 and January 8, 2013. PEX piping is known to fail when exposed to certain levels of chlorine and ultraviolet light. Manufactures say that the levels of chlorine in city water supplies are too low to cause the failures. However, there is no way to be sure that plumbers are taking precautions to keep the pipe out of the sunlight when traveling between jobs. Regardless of the cause, the failures are most notably occurring when the lines are installed in the hot water supply lines leading from the water heater into the home. We are also seeing failures that occur when the pipe has been in use for less than 10 years.

Earlier this past week, we received a phone call from a builder in Houston Texas about a failed Vortens toilet tank, see news entry entitled “Toilet Tank Failures” on our website http://www.rjhill.com/news/toilettankfailures.html. Apparently, a tank had failed in an upscale residence and caused significant damage. According to the builder, it was thought that the housekeeper had broken the tank and would not admit fault. Then however, the builder heard of another instance involving a plumber friend and began to question the cause. That’s when the article about the Vortens toilet tanks was found on our website. All this to say that some Vorten’s tanks are still out there and at least two were in the Houston area.

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