'Charlotte' High Level Cistern / Victorian Toliet Leaking

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by verynewtothis, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I really need some help with trying to fix our Victorian toilet with high cistern that is leaking. We brought the property a few years ago now and never noticed and now it's becoming more and more an issue and unfortunately we just don't have the money to spend to get someone in so I am trying to go through all the problems in the house one by one and hopefully by the power of this forum fix them with my basic DIY skills.

    At the moment it is leaking from the top of the cistern connections, I have attached some photos as I really don't know what size or type these connections are, I can see they have seen better days and presume they should be changed for new versions if you can even buy them. Any help would be greatly appreciated and how to go about fitting them if this can be done.

    We were going to rip it the toliet out but decided to keep it to add a bit of character (and cheaper to keep!) Just not sure if it is completely worth trying to save but willing to hear any suggestions.

    Thank you for your time reading this, Sophie.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    You won't be the first to refurbish the toilet as those are polypropylene/plastic innards - the toilet is possibly a repro. Assuming that the cistern isn't cracked (can't tell from the photos), the good news is that you should be able to sort it all.
    Don't have the time to do a step by step solution at present but if you haven't had one by the time I get home tonight.....
    verynewtothis likes this.
  3. terrymac

    terrymac Well-Known Member

    Hard to tell from pic alone ,but looks like a standard 1/2 inch ,side entry ball valve. Where is the leak ? Is it around the white plastic nut ,where the " Rusty " appearance is ,or elsewhere ?
  4. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Well-Known Member

    Really nice looking loo (well, can only see cistern) so great to keep as adds character as you say (even though may not be original) ?

    Good news is everything inside cistern and leading to it can be easily replaced, not terribly expensive for parts and without doubt, getting in a tradesman would cost more in labour than for parts

    Just depends on your plumbing skills, owning a few basic tools and gaining some information

    Take a look at YouTube for plumbing tutorials as easier than members here putting process into words

    There’s an older chap on you tube called Derek (something) that has excellent videos and a younger flashy bloke under Plumber Parts .com

    Good luck
    verynewtothis likes this.
  5. andy48

    andy48 Active Member

    1. It looks from your photograph as if the nut which attaches the pipe (the one that's gone green) to the white plastic shank of the inlet valve is not on straight.
    2. There should be a 1/2 inch fibre tap connector washer inside this nut, making a waterproof connection between the tap connector and the inlet valve shank. If the nut is not straight, or this washer has deteriorated, this is the most likely cause of the leak.
    3. If you can shut off the water supply to the cistern, then:
    3a. Undo the tap connector nut.
    3b. Replace the fibre washer (e.g. Screwfix 1109J).
    3c. Do the tap connector nut up again. There is a risk that the nut has been put on cross-threaded, in which case the inlet valve shank, being plastic, will have been damaged. If so replace the inlet valve unless you can, with care, get the nut back on square again.
    verynewtothis likes this.
  6. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Well-Known Member

    This is going to sound complicated, but what I'd do is swap the plastic ball valve (the white bit with the blue float on the other end of it) for one of these:


    Then swap the tap connector (the green encrusted part that's currently attached to the plastic valve in your third photo) for a piece of copper pipe with a nut and olive on either end, to
    connect the new ball valve to your existing inlet pipe's silver elbow. The nut and olive will connect directly onto the screwthread of the new inlet valve and the pipe will go inside the end of the valve. They're pre-machined for this from the factory.

    That gets rid of pretty much all the plastic and the fibre washer, meaning you can now tighten everything up properly without fear of stripping screw threads.

    I'd also fit an isolator valve on the inlet pipe, in the vertical bit, if it hasn't already got one:


    You can pinch the nuts and olives from the spare valve in that pack to use for connecting the inlet valve (as described above).

    Hopefully these photos will make it clearer, and you'll obviously need a bit of 15mm copper pipe to do it:


    Dam0n, verynewtothis and The Teach like this.
  7. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone, so glad this looks like it can be salvaged. I have looked closer at the white plastic shank that connects to the toliet and it seems that is where the leak is coming from. I want to try to stop this completely from happening again so I will try Joe the Plumbers method to try to get around using plastic, however I was hoping there was a way to keep everything chrome the pipework will be exposed? Is there anyway around this?

    A couple more photos just taken.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it.
  8. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    Home now. You've got most of the answers above. Use chrome pipe if you want to keep it chrome but you must use compression fittings not push fit - a bit of brass on the tail out of the cistern wont be unsightly and would have been traditionally what was seen - alongside some gleaming polished copper in the good old days.

    Do you know where the supply to the cistern comes from? It may be on the rising main (high pressure) or tank fed (low pressure). Depending on which it is you may require different fill valves if you choose to replace them - the instructions in the packaging should be quite clear.

    Good luck.
    verynewtothis likes this.
  9. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Thanks for the reply WillyEckerslike :)

    I'm a little confused to your comment regarding fill valves, is this something different that we have not mentioned yet?

    Regarding the feed as i'm not to clued up to how the plumbing works 100% but I know that here is no tank in the loft and there is a combi boiler in the kitchen. Would that look to you like it would be more likely to be the rising main (high pressure?)

    Thanks again.
  10. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    The fill valve is the part that Joe posted pictures of. That's one type, there are several nowadays and most are capable of handling both (high or low) without any changes but some require an insert or different nozzle depending on the supply. As I said, the instructions will make that clear.

    The quickest way to check the supply is to turn the mains water of at the stopcock whilst the cistern is refilling. If it is the rising main, it should stop filling pretty much instantaneously.
    verynewtothis likes this.
  11. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Good Morning Willy. I have just checked by turning the stopcock off, it stopped the flow of the cistern refilling so it is the rising main. Do i need anything else?

    I was also looking at the lower level of the toliet this morning, the bit thats boxed off and there looked to be a isolating valve there, i'm not exactly sure though. If so does this mean I need to buy one or should I just do that the way Joe mentioned anyway?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Looking at what i need to be ordering from screwfix so far:


    and a new Compression Equal 90° Elbow 15mm to replace my old one, I hope that is the right one as i wasn't sure.

    As for the copper pipe, I have a chrome one already on the unit so I was just going to use this if that is ok to do so.

    Not sure if there is anything else I need?
  12. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Well-Known Member

    That looks fine. You can re-use your existing chromed 15mm elbow. I didn't have one to include in my photo so used a brass one instead. Clean it up with a bit of wire wool and it will be fine (not a Brillo pad though!) And re-use your chromed pipe.

    As long as the isolator valve at the bottom works, you don't need another one.
    verynewtothis likes this.
  13. The Teach

    The Teach Well-Known Member

    verynewtothis.Does the cistern have a dedicated overflow pipe,or does the syphon incorporate an overflow.From the supplied photos the internal water level looks high or has been either historically high or splashing around inside the cistern :(.

    A new decent ball valve & float with some associated plumbing alterations in #6 is the best way forward. just ensure the ball valve is set to the marked cistern water level :p
  14. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Ok, thanks all for the help here. I am confused on one small thing though... will water come out once I start taking changing these parts? Do i just need to shut off the stopcock? What exactly is the process for the switch?
  15. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Well-Known Member

    Turn off the isolator valve at the bottom of the inlet pipe (the one in your photos in post 11, above). Press the float (the blue one) down in the cistern to make sure the isolator valve has worked (no water should enter the cistern from the ball valve) and assuming that's okay, you can get started.
    verynewtothis likes this.
  16. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Well-Known Member

    Turn the isolating valve through 90° (so that the slot is across the line of the pipe) and then flush the toilet. If you're not dismantling the flush mechanism any water spillage will be minimal - nothing that an old towel won't cope with. This is a good opportunity to learn because if it's not quite right, you can just isolate it again locally whilst you sort it out. Good luck.

    Edit: Joe was quicker than me
    verynewtothis likes this.
  17. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Well-Known Member

  18. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Thanks for the reply guys, can't wait to get started! Will keep you posted once I flood the house!
  19. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Well-Known Member

    That loo is my ultimate set up. Once you've got it sorted, you can enjoy having a much better one than most other people with their ghastly, leaky, push button, back-to-wall rubbish!
    verynewtothis likes this.
  20. verynewtothis

    verynewtothis Member

    Ok, I have an issue already! At the bottom of the original chrome pipe it has been bent to snake down into the area where it was boxed off. That is where the isolating valve is at present. On closer look the pipe (photo below) has been painted or joined, so it will still be on show. Is there anyway to avoid using this or someway to clean the pipe to show the chrome or is it no good to use? Otherwise I will need to buy another chrome pipe and try to bend it? Just want it to look the best that it can!


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