Flushmate’s Exploding Toilet Prompts Recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled millions of faulty flushing mechanisms that have caused toilets to explode, creating “laceration risks” for toilet users. There were 2,330,600 of these toilets sold in the U.S. and about 9,400 purchased in Canada.

The CPSC issued the warning about the Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted Flushing System, manufactured by Flushmate of New Hudson, Michigan, a division of Sloan Valve Company, which was sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores for about $108, as well as to toilet manufacturers; American Standard, Crane, Kohler, Eljer, Gerber, Mansfield and St. Thomas.

The Series 503 Flushmate III Pressure-Assisted flushing systems are installed inside toilet tanks. The units are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic. They were manufactured in the U.S.

The 2.3 million recalled units were manufactured from October 14, 1997 to February 29, 2008. The recalled serial numbers begin with the date of manufacturing, for example; 020207 means February 2, 2007.

The CPSC reported that there have been more than 300 complaints of exploding devices bursting, causing 14 “impact or laceration injuries.”

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court.

After a consumer purchased the water-saving power-flush toilet, marketed as green technology, she received a suspicious card in the mail strongly advising her to get a free repair kit for her toilet. Since the card was not specific, she checked the Internet and discovered that her new toilet was a potential bomb. The company sent her a free “do-it-yourself” kit.

Since the consumer said that she was “not physically able to do it,” she asked a plumber for advice.  Arnie Rodio, a plumber, explained that they are difficult to install and that it is expensive to hire a plumber. “Based on most service calls, probably between $100-150.”  He also stated, “There is tremendous and instantaneous release of pressure that blows the two pieces apart. This repair kit is not designed to fix the defect. This repair kit is a collateral damage kit. The manufacturer is saying ‘you can no longer use this product and we are requiring that you repair it and you assume the burden of the cost of that repair.’” Rodio further stated that this repair kit “is an explosion mitigation kit to me. They don’t prevent any leaking at all. If the actual tank is leaking, you can’t fix it, you have to replace it.”

So if consumers keep using the toilet without the kit, or if they install it properly, they will be responsible. “They know they have a faulty product.They should take care of it, the consumer said.

Flushmate is the company responsible for installing the faulty flusher. They said, “The affected Flushmate III Series 503 units can burst at or near the vessel weld seam releasing stored pressure. This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers and property damage.” Flushmate said that the leaks are not part of the recall.

Flushmate had no comment on the lawsuit.

Anyone who owns a toilet with this recalled system should shut off the water connection to the toilet and contact Flushmate at (800) 303-5123 to request a free repair kit. Hopefully, it is simple and will not require a professional plumber.

Do you think it should be the consumer’s responsibility to repair a faulty product? If the manufacturer is telling you that it is not safe to use their product the way it was sold, do you think they should offer a refund? No one wants to worry that they are sitting on a “time bomb!”

Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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