Life expectancy of a toilet cistern !

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derekpara | 11:52 Tue 24th Aug 2010 | Interiors
8 Answers
My high-quality, very expensive toilet cistern has cracked and caused a minor flood. OK, it is forty years old but apart from the internal valve the ceramic unit has no moving parts so why should it crack ? I haven't stood on it or misused it in any way.
My problem is that the insurance company doesn't want to pay up for a replacement because of it's age, but I'm trying to make a case.

Do ceramic cisterns deteriorate with age ? What life expectancy can something like this have ? I've seen many Victorian cisterns, which make mine seem like a mere youngster, still in daily use performing stirling service.

Any knowledgeable plumbers out there who can offer answers, please ?.


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You know for sure that it's never been knocked or banged in anyway (even had the lid put down on it hard) for the entire of the last 40years?

Its up to you, but you may as well bang your head up a brick wall to try and claim for something that as serviced you for 40 years, wear and tear will always be their answer, and in this case rightly so. as to why yours as cracked and others have'nt you may never know. :(
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If it is fixed firmly and has been since it was installed could it be a result of the building settling, sounds a bit desperate but it could be a possibility.....
I think it will depend on the terms of your policy. They should certainly pay for the damage caused by the flood. I'd keep at them. In my experience they never agree on the first enquiry/claim, but sometimes cave if you are persistent.
It does annoy me that when they are selling you the policies, everything appears to be covered, but then when it comes to claiming, certain things suddenly are not.
I have absolutely no idea how long cisterns should last, by the way, just thought I would have a small rant about insurance companies.
if its in a room where the temperature changes, or it fills off the main, then expansion and contraction due to temperature change can eventually crack it.
Question Author
Thank you all for some really great answers and I do so agree with what ladyalex said about insurance companies. There was no damage caused by flooding as I was able to shut off the water supply etc.
The cistern tank has a hairline crack in the base running from the overflow pipe to the 'o' ring in the centre. Now I've checked things out there is a small amount of free movement between the cistern and WC bowl. My theory is that when someone, possibly me, sat on the seat, the bowl caused some leverage of the coupled system, perhaps in the area of the connecting bolts, , creating the crack. This would have the same effect that craftypig suggests - stressful movement.

Anyway, I'm left with no upstairs loo, trouble with the insurers, plumbers to deal with. All very stressful and potentially costly. I'm not flush, and will be mightily relieved when the mess is cleared up !!


Relieved in more ways than one then ;o)

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