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I-TEAM: Crappy situation? Homeowners flush thousands down the drain due to faulty toilets

A broken toilet could be a serious headache for homeowners. (Source: WRDW)
A broken toilet could be a serious headache for homeowners. (Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 3:35 PM EST
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Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Spontaneously cracking commodes are forcing home owners to flush thousands down the drain in repairs.

A class action lawsuit is filed against the toilet maker -- Vorten. The lawsuit alleges the manufacture knew about problems with the tank but sold it anyway.

Theodore Carson makes a living off of fixing people's crappy situations in the CSRA.

So, what kind of mess can a toilet make?

“Astronomical,” Carson said. “If there is a hairline or small crack it is possible it could leak down behind the toilet, get on the floor, get on the walls, and do astronomical damage over time."

Other times, you’re talking about the possibility of a complete rupture of the ceramic, Carson said.

Vorten tanks have done both, according to a class-action lawsuit.

"It is said the Vorten Toilet Manufacturing Company was not following a proper procedure so that the toilets can stand over time,” Carson said.

The lawsuit alleges the manufacturers were aware of the issue, but failed to warn consumers.

How do you find out if your toilet is at-risk? The model numbers are inside the tank. If you have a 3464 IR 3412 BULT 2011, then you can qualify for the class-action lawsuit.

But it’s not always a Vorten tank that breaks or gets damaged. One such toilet we saw in North Augusta caused damage in a home there.

"It can get underneath the tile, rot out the sub floor, and you don't even realize it until the floor gives way,” Carson said.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t always cover it, either.

"They cover what's called sudden breaks, but often they do not cover problems that happen over time,” Carson said. “They think it's the homeowners’ responsibility to notice it and to fix it."

No pun intended, but inspect your tank regularly.

"We want to be looking for any signs of stress or cracks,” Carson said. “One of the common areas is around the flush handle. Sometimes you will see a diagonal crack along here."

"Another thing we want to do regularly is to kind of look in the tank,” Carson said. “It’s normal for the inside of the tank to be rough like this, but you want to look for any cracks, crevices or anything like that."

Also check for rust around the bolts in the tank and signs of moisture near the floor.

"The second thing we recommend is if you are going to be away for days or weeks on end is it’s very easy to turn the water and you can turn the water off to your house or the toilet,” Carson said.

A quick inspection and a quick turn could keep you out of a crappy situation.

Homeowners could get up to $4,000 if their Vorten toilet tank ruptured. The deadline to file in the class action lawsuit is this summer.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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