The manufacturer of a pressure-assisted toilet flusher is recalling almost 1.5 million of the devices because they can explode, causing the toilet tank to shatter and causing injury and property damage.
The company, Flushmate, says it has received 1,453 reports in the U.S. and Canada of the units bursting, causing 23 injuries - including one that required foot surgery. Property damage from the exploding toilets is estimated to be over $700,000.
The recalled model has been identified as the Flushmate II 501-B, which was manufactured and sold for use in both homes and commercial buildings.
A company spokesperson told Consumer Reports that Flushmate discontinued the model in 2013, but many remain in use.
The pressure-assisted flushing system fits in the toilet tank and usually is sold separately. The unit is less common than the gravity-assisted flushers found in most toilets.
The recalled units are rounded oval, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic and have a date code-serial number that is 15 characters long and located on the label on top, according to Consumer Reports.
The system can burst at or near the weld seam in the middle of the unit and release enough pressure to blow off the tank lid and shatter the tank.
The toilet inserts were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, as well as by toilet distributors and plumbing contractors. They were also sold online at grainger.com, hdsupply.com, homedepot.com, and other online retailers from 1996 through 2015.
Flushmate says people should stop using the recalled Flushmate II 501-B systems, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet to release any internal pressure.
Then contact Flushmate at 1-844-621-7538 or online at flushmate.com/501B-recall to request a free Flushmate replacement unit and installation by a technician.