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I'm in the process of replacing a toilet in the condo I just bought. I have some criteria I need to meet:

  • Round (I have a really small bathroom)
  • White
  • 2 pieces
  • lined reservoir*
  • 200 - 250 CAD$ (can be more depending of the answer I am looking for)

I have been told that having a lined reservoir is important since I live in Canada. During the cold winters, the water coming in the reservoir can be very cold and make the porcelain crack if the reservoir isn't lined. I wonder if it is really an issue? The only advantages that I can see searching online for the lined reservoir is to remove the condensation. I live in the third floor, so the cold water coming from outside has the time to get a bit warmer in the pipe before going in the tank when I flush.

In the toilets I have been shopping for, I have found two models that fit most of my criteria, but they do not have a lined reservoir:

But if I want a lined one, the price goes higher:

Visually and with the criteria, the American Standard Champion seem perfect, but 320$ is a bit high for me. Also, the review of the American Standard are not very nice so far.

Does anyone have knowledge about real advantages/disadvantages of a lined tank?

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  • 1
    Potentially dumb question: What is the tank lined with?
    – FreeMan
    Aug 4, 2023 at 12:13
  • 1
    Typically foam insulation.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 4, 2023 at 12:42
  • Basic white beadboard, in my experience.
    – isherwood
    Aug 4, 2023 at 13:01
  • "I have some criteria I need to meet" - so the criteria is non-negotiable, right? Since you're in a condo and all. Imagine if your toilet does leak or crack and floods your neighbor. The condo is not responsible, YOU are. Trying to save $70 here is going to cost you way more if something goes wrong. If you're asking this question purely as an educational curiosity in thermodynamics then I guess this question is acceptable. Aside from that, regardless of answers, buy the lined tank.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 4, 2023 at 14:53

2 Answers 2

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A lined reservoir is about reducing condensation when cold water enters the tank during the summer (and perhaps during winter during a shower or bath if your bathroom is poorly ventilated.) That can make quite a puddle on the floor, and may even leak into the unit below you.

Cracking the tank (and bowl) in winter only applies if the water turns to ice, and if it does that, it won't flow through the pipes. However, if you lose heating it is a consideration, but one better solved with an emergency jug of RV antifreeze (non-toxic.)

Incoming water temperature can also be addressed by a tempering valve that mixes hot water into the toilet fill, but that's more of a hold-over from the days of wasting energy any way we could.

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  • "wasting energy any way we can" > "bowl/tank cracking causing $$$ in damage to the bathroom, room(s) below".
    – FreeMan
    Aug 4, 2023 at 12:12
  • 6
    Cracking due to cold water = bovine fertilizer. Condensing, yes, but insulation beats spending money and energy to heat flush water.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 4, 2023 at 12:41
  • 2
    So we had a toilet tank crack on the coldest day of the year. the toilet was on the 3rd floor on a shared wall with a building next door. The building was heated. The temp outside was about 10F, the water was flowing but ice cold. Not as crazy as is being asserted here. very unlikely though.
    – Yorik
    Aug 4, 2023 at 15:56
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I agree with Ecnerwal, but to answer you more concisely:

Pros

  • Less condensation
  • Maybe a bit less fill noise (minor)

Cons

  • Cost
  • Foam degrades and looks ugly over time (minor)
  • Less room for repair work (minor)

So it comes down to condensation over cost. I live in a similar climate and most toilets in the area are unlined. There may be a few weeks a year when the bowls get wet, but then the groundwater warms up and the problem goes away.

Our incoming water is probably in the high 30s F. in January (~3° C.) and I've never heard of a tank cracking. If it was a real problem tank insulation wouldn't help anyway since toilets are often flushed shortly after filling, exposing the rest of the unit to the same cold water (and more suddenly).

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  • I have had a tank crack on me, but from mechanical stress, not cold water.
    – PellMel
    Aug 4, 2023 at 20:27

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