Sweaty Toilet Tank


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copyright G.G. Alonzy

Dear NH,
The toilet in our house has a lot of condensation on the bowl. It is actually leaving fairly large puddles of water on the floor. What's causing this and do you have any ideas on how to fix it?
JS from Ontario, Canada

JS,
Condensation on a toilet tank is caused by the water in the tank cooling the surface of the tank. This causes water vapor in the air to turn back to liquid water upon contact with the cool ceramic surface.

There are a few different ways to deal with this problem. The first is to increase the water temperature in the cold line. This can be done by installing a mixing valve between the hot water heater and the cold water line to the toilet. The valve will add a little hot water to bring the temperature up. I don't suggest doing this for your entire home water system, since hot water carries more mineral contaminants and is usually not recommended for drinking water.

There are some solutions right at the toilet tank. If you have a fairly new toilet, you may be able to purchase a replacement tank that is lined with plastic foam insulation. This will cut down on much of the condensation by keeping the temperature on the outside of the tank closer to room temperature. You can purchase a toilet tank liner kit at the hardware store that allows you to do the same thing to virtually any toilet. However, your installation must be scrupulous… if there are any leaks of water through the installed foam to the tank the effectiveness of the installation will be compromised!

The easiest, though least effective route, is to purchase a toilet tank drip catcher. These devices mount under the tank, catch the dripping water and direct it to a pan or jar on the floor. You might have to hunt for the right one of these, as they don't necessarily fit on all toilets.

Of course, there is the old standby put a towel on the floor under the toilet and change it regularly so it doesn't mildew! Putting a piece of plastic (such as a trash bag) under it will help keep the floor drier.
NH


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