Complaints of a bizarre, but costly problem have surfaced of consumers alleging that thousands of toilets are spontaneously cracking across the country. Some toilets made by Vortens, a company based in Mexico, are cracking and flooding homes and businesses, according to contractors, engineers, and attorneys working for the multitude of people who have been affected, reports FOX10 News.
Thousands of toilets in homes all over the United States are defective and prone to cracking. The flooding has caused thousands of dollars in damage from leaking water. “I’ve been doing this nearly 30 years, and I’ve never seen any toilet fail like this,” said general contractor Mike Teeple.
Cracked Toilet Tanks and Water Damage
In 2013, Teeple had installed two Vortens toilets in a client’s home. One of the tanks cracked a few months later, which he found to be odd. Then a second toilet in an upstairs bathroom flooded the home. “Toilets don’t fail like that,” Teeple said to consumer expert Amy Davis. “They don’t crack for no reason.”
A woman was at work when her tank cracked. People staying at her house noticed the leak, shut off the water, thereby avoiding major damage. The woman hit a roadblock, however, attempting to get her home builder or Vortens to replace the cracked toilet along with the three other Vortens toilets in her home, according to KPRC Channel 2.
Another woman’s cracked toilet caused over $20,000 in damages when it flooded her home in 2013. Vortens only agreed to pay her deductible of $4,390 after Amy Davis contacted the company, nearly two and a half years after the initial event.
When Davis asked why the company doesn’t issue a recall, there was no response. Vortens, however, has settled several lawsuits and paid damages when homeowners or their insurance companies have sued them.
Personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been affected by defective products.
Source of the Problem
As far back as 2009, reports came in from people from all over the country who experienced flooded homes and buildings caused by these defective toilets. The problem seems to begin with a crack in the porcelain tank that holds the water. The tank apparently breaks due to the water pressure inside the tank, resulting in flooding and often disastrous water damage.
“Approximately 2,000 of their toilet tanks have been under-fired in their kilns,” explained forensic engineering consultant R.J. Hill. “If they’re not fired to a high enough temperature, or kept in the kiln for a long enough period of time, then they don’t get as strong, the strength of the material won’t come out like it should. So, the end result is that they won’t hold water for a long period of time.”
A dental clinic in Nashville, Tennessee hired Hill after four of its Vortens toilet tanks cracked and flooded the clinic’s restrooms. “As soon as one of these tanks cracks, it’s going to be immediate water leakage onto the floor,” Hill said. “But if allowed to run, before it’s noticed, which means the water supply to the tank is going to be on, the water is just going to flow wherever it’s going to flow,” FOX10 News reports.
A woman described her experience with a Vortens toilet that cracked “literally from the bottom of the toilet all the way up the side, and all the water just came out. That was scary and crazy.” She asked Vortens for help, but did not get a response until FOX10 News reached out to the company, inquiring about the incident. The woman had three Vortens toilets in her home, and wanted them all to be replaced. “Basically, we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb,” she said. Vortens eventually offered to replace the toilets for her at no cost.
Vortens concedes that certain toilets manufactured in 2011 “have been affected by certain technical issues that allegedly caused fractures.” The problems are mainly concentrated on production batches from 2011. Vortens claims to have adjusted the manufacturing process to minimize the probability of potential technical issues.
To date, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has not issued a recall for these toilets. A spokeswoman told FOX10 News that the CPSC would get involved “if the potential defect would pose a significant risk of injury or death, or if it violates a safety standard.”
Dozens of lawsuits have however, been filed against Vortens. So far, FOX10 News was told that Vortens has been willing to settle every case.
Legal Information and Advice Regarding Defective Products
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm with extensive experience in product liability litigation. Parker Waichman lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).