insulating toilet tanks

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One of our bathroom toilet tanks 'sweats' badly at this time of year - the outside of the tank is covered in condensation and it puddles on the floor beneath. I was thinking of retro-fitting some insulation to the inside of the tank (I don't want to mess with adding a warm-water feed, and the tank's a nice old decorative one, so I'd rather not replace it with a modern one that has a double wall or built-in insulation)
Questions:
1) how thick does the insulation need to be? Is 1/4" probably enough? (that's perhaps something of a "how long is a piece of string" question; I think I'm dealing with a max temperature differential between water and air of 35 degrees)
2) What adhesive to use? Needs to be water-resistant, obviously, but also something that's suitable for styrofoam and won't destroy it...
(alternately, I could just buy a kit, I suppose - they seem to be about $30 online. Not sure if HD etc. carry them...)
cheers
Jules
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On Aug 17, 11:39 am, Jules Richardson

The toilet I have (Mansfield) has styrofoam attached with silicone. They only last a few years and start to sweat again! Next, I'm going with the Sloan system (with the internal pressure tank).
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wrote:

The toilet I have (Mansfield) has styrofoam attached with silicone. They only last a few years and start to sweat again! Next, I'm going with the Sloan system (with the internal pressure tank).
========= I had the same problem with an insulated tank in my prior home.
I've always wondered if someone made some sort of holding tank that could be installed in the basement. Big enough to hold water for 2-3 flushes. All it would need to do is "park" some water long enough for it to come closer to room temperature. Even if the basement's not as warm as the upstairs, it would usually still be warmer than the coldest groundwater.
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wrote:

I had the equivalent of that when I was on well water. A 20 gallon tank of water in the basement that, during summer, sat in a puddle for months. Unfortunately, it didn't warm the water fast enough as the toilet tank still sweated until I put central air in the house, then both the toilet and the pump pressure tank immediately stopped sweating.
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The problem is that most people want their cold water cold. To do what you suggest would require a separate feed for the toilets which would add cost. Really better to take the toilet supply from the hot side - problem solved.
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wrote:

That's a pretty absolute statement, even though it's not true in all cases. In my home (a ranch), the toilet, tub and sink each have separate supply pipes coming up from the basement. It would cost nothing extra to insert a tank in the line for the toilet.
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wrote:

from the rafters, then reduce each end to the 1/2 or 3/4 inch waterline size. The idea was to have that in the line leading to the water heater to let a few gallons of water warm to inside temp before entering the heater, reducing the amount of time and energy needed to heat it. Same idea would probably work for the feed to the toilet.
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On 8/17/2010 2:03 PM, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

It's called a "tempering tank" which is usually used to help the efficiency of a water heater by absorbing heat from the surrounding environment to warm the water supplying the heater. I've seen old water heaters with the insulation removed used for the purpose but I'm sure a plumbing supply house could supply you with a new tank that is uninsulated. You might be able to get hold of a used tank made for well pumps and use it without the bladder pressurized for a tempering tank to supply the toilets. Here's a link to a tank manufacturer:
http://www.westank.com/index.php
TDD
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wrote:

Regular well tanks don't do anything to insure that the water is forced to pass through the tank. And old hot water heater would do a better job. The idea about a section of 3 or 4" pvc is probably the best. An aquarium heater is a bad idea as they are not properly designed to be in contact with your water supply safety wise.
I would not expect the pressurized bladder toilets to solve it either. The bladder still sits against the porcelan.
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On 8/18/2010 7:11 AM, jamesgangnc wrote:

If you can find a 50' coil of 3/4" copper pipe at a good price, it can be attached to a basement ceiling or wall, perhaps near a floor drain to handle any condensation. The cold supply water flowing through such a coil should be up to room temperature after a trip through the pipe.
TDD
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wrote:

Of course, that copper pipe will sweat just like the toilet tank did, so allowances should be made to catch the drip. :-)
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wrote:

I thinkl the 4" pvc would be a better and cheaper solution. If the basement ceiling is unfinished or accesible it would be easy to run a 8' piece of it between joists. Even if you had to double back with a piece of 3/4" pvc.
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On 8/18/2010 9:12 AM, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

The reason I mentioned is because I often have to make such a heat exchanger for restaurant ice machines. A coil of 3/8" is attached to the ceiling of the walk-in cooler to chill the water supplying the ice machine to increase its efficiency. Quite often the ice machine is in a hot kitchen and the cold water lines feeding the ice machine picks up this heat and it can't produce much ice.
TDD
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wrote:

Since it is "one of our." rather than "our only," then why not just use a different toilet? The water's temperature in the tank will soon exceed the dew point of the bathroom and the condensation will stop. If the toilet is the only one that's convenient, then the tempering tank solution would probably be advisable. If the toilet is essential to your bathroom dιcor, consider removing the old tank, scrubbing it out with an acid solution to get it perfectly clean, then spraying on an insulating, closed cell, foam on the inside. This should eliminate gaps. It sounds like you have an older toilet, and the reduction in flushing water volume would probably not affect the action. However, replacing the innards with a pressurized flushing system would eliminate the issue.
Nonny
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Yeah, the trick is to use something with closed cells. There is a pinkish packing material that is somewhat denser than stryrofoam that seems to be closed cell that might work ok, but I don't now what it is called. I think anything over 1/4 inch would work, the trick is to keep water from circulating behind the material. The pressurized systems that I have seen/heard are too noisy to have to listen to in the middle of the night when someone flushes. I vaguely remember seeing toilet tank insulation kits somewhere. Have you googled on that topic???
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 15:03:55 -0400, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Yeah, that's not a bad idea, or at least a few coils as someone else suggested. I've actually got around 60' of 3/4" copper that I'll be pulling out of the house (feeds to old water-filled radiators that we no longer need) - but that's only a little over a gallon if I have my numbers right.
Sticking one of the old radiators on the outside wall of the house and diverting water via that might work (after all, it's only a problem when the weather's hot :-) but then I'd have to remember to bypass and drain the darn thing during winter.
Adding some styrofoam seems like a cheap and quick solution and one that needs no maintenance - it's just down to a question of how thick to make it, how long it'll last, and what to attach it with.
cheers
Jules
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Another potential problem with styrofoam is that is can displace just enough water to keep the toilet from functioning correctly. If the water level's already as high as it can be (based on the toilet's internals), there would be no way to compensate for the lost water volume.
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:11:26 -0400, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Yes, this one's OK I believe - the level's quite a way below the inlet. I was planning on putting a housebrick or something in the tank first as a test just to occupy space and see if everything still worked :-)
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 15:24:05 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

Just to add to the negatives on Styrofoam-- Mine started breaking down after a few year and beads kept getting caught in the flapper. After about the 10th time that happened it was a major PITA to get the rest of it out.
Jim
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wrote:

Duh. That's why there's scuba gear. Don't you know anything?
:-)
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