Category Archives: Home Repairs

Finding Mansfield Toilet Repair Parts

Mansfield Plumbing has been making toilets for a long time and there’s a reason why they’re still around. From classic to modern designs and everything in between, all offering quality water-efficient performance, Mansfield toilets are definitely worth keeping. So what do you do when your high performing Mansfield toilet stops performing so well? You repair it, of course!

Mansfield Magnum Toilet
Mansfield Alto Toilet
Mansfield Enso Toilet

The first step in fixing your toilet is finding out what’s actually wrong with it – and luckily for you, we’ve got a handy guide to troubleshooting your toilet. Once you’ve figured out what’s wrong, you’ll need to find the right parts to fix the problem. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it’s not so easy, but with a little investigative work and the help of your friends at PlumbingSupply.com®, hopefully it won’t be that difficult.

Start by trying to find your toilet model number. Grab a flashlight, CAREFULLY remove the tank lid (and place it somewhere safe and out of the way), and look around inside the tank for a model number. Older Mansfield toilet model numbers are typically three digits long – most of which start with a “1” for two-piece toilets or a “7” for one-piece toilets. Newer, more water-efficient toilets are generally four digits long and most begin with a “3”.

Usually the model number will be stamped onto the back wall or side of the toilet tank, along with “Mansfield” and a gpf (gallons per flush) rating. Don’t ignore the gpf rating! As toilet regulations and water-efficiency standards have changed over the years, Mansfield has taken a somewhat different approach than some other toilet manufacturers in remaining compliant with regulations. Rather than discontinuing and replacing many of their toilet designs, they have simply re-designed the way some of their existing models flush. Thus, you could have an Alto Series toilet with a 3.5gpf, 1.6gpf or 1.28gpf rating. They may look the same on the outside, but the way they work on the inside can be drastically different.

mansfield-toilet-model-number

It’s important to note at this point, that any toilet that flushes well is holistically designed – meaning the amount of water, the flush mechanism, the way the water is delivered, the trapway, etc. (essentially the entire toilet) has been designed to work as a complete unit. What this means for you, as the owner and/or fixer of the toilet, is that in order for your Mansfield toilet to continue to flush well you need to make sure you’re getting the parts that are appropriate for your toilet’s gpf rating. You simply can’t put a flush valve that delivers 1.6gpf in a 3.5gpf toilet and expect it to work well.

So once you’ve found your toilet model number and your gpf rating, what’s next? Finding parts. We have a complete Mansfield toilet repair parts listing to help you out – just find your toilet model number, click on it, and see the parts you’ll need to fix your toilet. This listing can also be helpful if for some reason you can’t find your model number. Browse the available pictures of Mansfield toilets until you find the one that looks like what you have, then again click to see your parts.

Mansfield Toilet Flush Valves

One thing that may confuse some people at this point (especially those who have some previous experience with toilet repair), is that certain Mansfield parts are highly unique. Most notably, their flush valves. While some models may use the traditional flapper valve, others use a kind of canister-style valve. These valves use the same trip levers as their flapper-using counterparts, but the entire top of the valve is lifted up and the water flows in from all sides. Usually, if you have a toilet leak with this type of valve, you simply need to replace the seal around the valve opening. So if you look into your toilet and see something that looks like this – don’t panic!

This uniqueness of parts can actually be very helpful for those who can’t find a model number for their Mansfield toilet. If you look into your toilet and see one of the unique canister flush valves but no model number, your next step is to pull out a tape measure. Since the canister flush valves only come in three types – 3.5gpf, 1.6gpf, and dual flush (which are distinctly different from the other two) – it is fairly easy to determine which style you need, then measure your existing valve or the inside of your tank to figure out what height you need. It’s the same with trip levers, just measure to determine the length you need and then compare angles to make sure it will reach the flush valve or flapper chain.

While finding replacement parts for Mansfield toilets can be somewhat easier than with other brands, we’re always happy to help if you are confused or unsure about which parts you need. Simply contact one of our customer service representatives and we’ll do everything we can to make sure you’re getting what you need to fix your Mansfield toilet!

Top 5 Culprits of Home Flooding

Home flooding sucks. There’s just no two ways about it. You may lose your home or valuable possessions, certain types of water damage may not be covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the costs for cleanup are often exorbitant and if the damage was due to a burst pipe or faulty appliance you are also liable for the water bill, and it can take months to
restore the damaged parts of your home and you may not even be able to remain in your home during cleanup or restoration if mold or other health concerns are a factor.

Before you fall into the depths of despair, though, there is good news – many of the top five causes of home flooding or home water damage are preventable! Let’s explore the main
culprits behind home floods and what you can do to help prevent or mitigate them.

1. Natural flooding

One of the most common and easily recognizable causes of home flooding is nature. Heavy rains can cause rivers to overflow, wastewater systems to become overwhelmed, and urbanized areas to fill up with water very quickly. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather phenomenon are often accompanied by heavy rains or can cause substantial damage to dams, levees, or municipal plumbing systems and wreak havoc on an entire city or region. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent water damage to your home from these causes aside from making sure your home has been built above the base flood elevation with a good foundation, ensuring you have a working pump, and taking emergency measures in the event of a storm.

2. Drainage problems

toilet-backup

Drainage problems can be related to storms or other weather phenomenon – for example, overwhelmed
municipal water lines backing up into your home – but are more often related to poorly maintained drains in and around the home. If your main line has a clog, wastewater can back up and flood the house through toilets, sinks,
showers, and floor drains. Typically, these are smaller floods affecting only one area of the home like the bathroom or basement, but if left unchecked for a long period of time there can be substantial damage.

However, you can take steps to help prevent drainage problems in your home by making sure to keep sink, toilet, shower, gutters and other drains clear of common clog-causing substances or debris, installing backwater valves, and having your home’s drainage system regularly
inspected every few years by a licensed plumber to ensure there are no problems.

Learn more about how to prevent clogged drains

3. Appliances

waterheater-flood

Faulty appliances or their connections to your plumbing
system are notorious for causing home floods. Some basic appliances use large volumes of water and if a supply line bursts or the shut-off mechanism fails, all that water has nowhere to go but onto your floors and through your home. The most common culprits for appliance-related water damage are washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, and refrigerators.

Fortunately, appliance-related water damage is fairly easy to prevent with modern devices like FloodStops and WaterWatchers that will monitor your appliances for leaks and turn off the
water supply or device before too much damage is caused.

Learn more about choosing flood prevention devices for your home

4. Broken pipes

pipe-spraying

Depending on the size of the pipe and the size of the leak, a broken pipe has the potential to fill your home with water in minutes. As with almost everything, there are many reasons a pipe could break – frozen pipes burst, fittings spring a leak, the pipe gets damaged by homeowner activities, poor water quality wears down the material, and the list goes on.

Making sure you properly maintain your plumbing is the very best way to prevent water
damage from faulty pipes. Know where pipes are in your walls when decorating or remodeling, take care when digging in the yard, address problems with your water quality, and have your plumbing regularly inspected by a licensed plumber to make sure there are no problems.

You may still eventually have a problem, though, and it is good to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut off valve is located and how to turn it off, and keep a few temporary repair items handy in case your plumber can’t get there immediately.

Learn more about temporary emergency pipe repair

5. Poor foundation

A poor foundation will definitely cause problems during a natural flood, but it can also cause flooding problems in areas that don’t have many natural floods. The foundation of your home is a concrete (ergo non-permeable) slab resting comfortably in the ground when the soil is fairly dry. When the ground becomes over-saturated during a big storm or the spring snow melt (even if the water doesn’t rise above ground), your foundation is essentially floating on top of all that groundwater. Water doesn’t compress – it will find its way through any nook or cranny it can – and if you have cracks or other flaws in your foundation, that water will end up in your foundation and possibly in the basement or ground floor of your home.

While it can be upsetting and scary just to think about your home flooding, it is often worse if it
actually happens. We encourage you to educate yourself on natural flood risks in your area and do what you can to protect your home and valuable possessions from water damage caused by
appliances and your home’s plumbing and drainage systems.

Have you experienced a flood in your home before?
Share your story in the comments below!

The Pros and Cons of Outdoor Misting Systems

This article can now be found at thePlumber.com

Can I Use a Brick In My Toilet to Reduce Water Waste?

A lot of people are finally starting to realize the impact humans have on our clean water supply and have become more conscientious about how they use water and how much water they use. One question we see frequently asked online is – can I put a brick in my toilet tank to help conserve water?

This is a valid question for anyone wanting to save water, as the toilet uses nearly 1/3 of our indoor water consumption, and technically, yes you could…but we really don’t like to recommend that. While we here at PlumbingSupply.com truly care about water conservation and try to do our part to save water and help others to save water, putting a brick in your toilet isn’t the way to do it.

All toilets manufactured after the early 90’s use only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less, with many of the newest models using 1.28gpf. Older toilets do use significantly more water, with most being 3.5gpf, but some using up to 6gpf – that’s a lot of clean water being flushed – but it’s important to understand that these toilets were specifically designed to use that much water and they typically won’t flush properly with less. And yes, we completely understand that your toilet LOOKS just like the low flow toilets…from the outside…and that this can be confusing for many people. Trust us, the inner workings can be significantly different. An extra bend or an extra inch of height in the toilet trap can mean a lot when you’re moving waste with only water and gravity.

Same model, made in different years. Can you tell the difference?

Old Toilet

Old Toilet

New Toilet

New Toilet

For sanitary reasons, you really want all that waste to be disposed of properly and not stuck in your toilet trap or your home’s sewage line. So, it’s important that the correct amount of water is used to help that waste move along the sewage lines and help prevent clogging – which means you really shouldn’t use a brick, or anything else for that matter, to reduce the amount of water in your tank.

We’re aware that there are plenty of articles out there telling you otherwise – that it’s perfectly fine to displace the water in your toilet tank to help conserve and that your toilet will flush either way. Which is true, in most cases. Your toilet WILL flush, but it won’t be doing so effectively. And that opens up the potential for serious problems in your home or community sewage system down the road.

If you’re concerned about water conservation and have an older toilet with a higher flush rate, we strongly recommend you replace the toilet with a newer, water-saving model. That is the most effective method of saving water when it comes to toilets. Also, regardless of whether your toilet is new or old, making sure you check periodically for leaks and repair them quickly can also save significant amounts of water.

However, IF you choose not to replace your older toilet and you choose to use the “brick method”, it is a better idea to take a plastic water bottle and fill it up with sand or small pebbles and place that in the tank instead of a brick. Even a brick wrapped in plastic can break down in the tank, especially if you get a hole or loose seal in the plastic wrap.

Want more water-saving ideas? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products for tips to help you conserve!

 

10 Tips for Preventing Toilet Troubles

This article can now be found at thePlumber.com

How to Buy a Laundry Sink

Whenever you’re thinking about adding a new plumbing fixture to your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework first and purchasing a laundry sink is no exception. If you’re replacing an existing sink, you probably have a few more limitations than someone installing a sink fresh, but you should still be asking yourself the same types of questions.

 

What am I going to use the sink for?

What are you going to use your laundry sink for? This is probably the most important question you should ask yourself as it will influence all of your other sink-buying decisions. If you’re a single lady who only wants a handy place to rinse delicates and scrub stains, chances are you don’t need the same kind of laundry sink a family with 10 school-aged boys all on various sports teams needs. Ask yourself what you do in the laundry room already and what you would *like to do in the laundry room – and try to be realistic. A utility sink is really more of a convenience, and it helps to be specific about how this purchase is going to help you. For instance, will it save you having to run upstairs/downstairs just to rinse a quick stain, does it solve a practical problem like providing drainage for your washing machine, or is it going to keep your house cleaner or more organized by offering a designated place for wet towels, muddy soccer uniforms, handwash only items, etc.?

You should also ask yourself if there are any not-so-frequent laundry tasks you need to be equipped for. Some families dye hand-me-down clothes to hide old stains and give them a new look before they’re passed on to younger siblings, others use the laundry sink as a place to rinse cloth diapers before washing, and still more rinse mops, paint brushes, and gardening tools in their laundry sinks. Consider how frequently you really will use the sink and for what kinds of jobs before you begin shopping – it will definitely save you a lot of time and keep you from making an impulse purchase you might regret later.

 

Which size sink do I need?

laundrysink-stainless

This will directly depend on your answers to the first question. If you’re only doing small jobs in the laundry room, a small sink is just fine. If you need to soak a whole soccer team’s grass-stained uniforms, you might need something bigger. Also, take into consideration the space you actually have available, especially if you’re buying a larger sink. This might require some prioritization on your part – for example, can another element of the laundry room be moved or eliminated to make room for a big sink? Or could the sink be relocated to another area close by like the garage?

 

Do I want a freestanding, wall mounted, or counter mounted sink?

Many people like the traditional freestanding laundry tub, and this can be a good option for areas where you have enough space for a big sink, but not enough and/or you don’t want to add a cabinet. Most wall mounted models also let you put a big sink in a small space, but keep in mind that you’ll need an available wall area sturdy enough to hold a tub full of water. On a side note, you can store things underneath both of these types of sinks, but it won’t be terribly aesthetic.

If you don’t need a large sink, your money and space might be better utilized with a counter mounted model. Counter mounted sinks definitely offer you the most versatility in style and construction materials since you can use pretty much any sink you want (kitchen, lavatory, or one designed specifically for utility/laundry rooms), but you will have to also install a cabinet for them to rest in – which can serve as extra hidden storage for supplies.

 

What kind of construction material am I looking for? And what can I afford?

laundrysink-stainless-2

Our customers tend to favor stainless steel or Veritek™ (a compressed molded material) laundry tubs over the other options we offer. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t great utility tubs available in other materials, but we find that our customers are generally satisfied with these sinks and they’re great at standing up to the abuse of typical residential use – stainless steel is preferred for commercial applications due to its strength and heat-resistance.

A stainless steel laundry sink is going to be a lot pricier than Veritek™, but at the same time it will most likely last you longer. The biggest thing to consider when purchasing stainless steel is what gauge you’re buying. The lower the number, the thicker the steel – we suggest anywhere from 20 to 16 gauge. Why? Well, 22 gauge stainless steel is builder quality and super cheap, but it’s also very thin and isn’t going to wear well. On the other hand, 14 gauge stainless steel will last a single family home a very long time, but you really don’t need a sink that heavy-duty or that costly for typical family use or even for use by a small to mid-sized apartment complex.

laundrysink-veritek-2

If you’re not super committed to stainless steel, it won’t fit into your laundry room design, or you just don’t have the budget for stainless steel, Veritek™ could be the option for you. Veritek™ has two main things going for it – it is incredibly affordable and it is super easy to maintain. The way this material is made, a solid color runs throughout the material so it won’t fade, and it is non-porous so it is easy to clean and resists mold and mildew. Generally, it only comes in white or beige, and it isn’t the prettiest sink you ever saw, but it will serve the purpose of a reliable utility sink at an affordable price.

 

And there you have it. Now, we’re sure there are other considerations for choosing a quality laundry sink, but hopefully the tips discussed here will help you get started on the right track. Happy folding!