Want to know how to remove old toilet pans?

Question from Steve Webster, via e-mail.
I have a forthcoming job to renovate the toilet facilities of an old meeting hall where there are three low level WC’s that dicharge down through the floor. The WC pans are old in that their are no push on pan connectors – the WC pans have a china S-trap as part of the pan and these are cemented directly into the collar of a clay drain at floor level. The collar is obviously wider than the diameter of the clay pipe.

What’s the best way to get the old pans out without damaging the clay drain collar, and then what options do I have in terms of adaptors to connect a typical ribbed pan connector into the exposed clay drain pipe collar? I’m sure this must be a common issue for many plumbers but it’s the first one for me!

Answer from Steve Harris, technical services engineer at Wavin.
The china pipe from the pan will sit loosely in the clay collar. The china does not actually penetrate into the soil waste pipe but just sits within the collar and is sealed with cement around it.

There are two ways to remove the WC pan:

Option 1
Break the old WC pan out around the S bend at the back of the WC pan so you just have part of the collar of the china pan outlet still in situ in the drain. (Tap with a hammer at the top of the S bend until it breaks).

At this point you should be able to break the remainder of the china out from the concrete surrounding it internally with a small chisel. (Make sure you put a bag down the drain to catch any broken china bits). While doing this you may break the concrete seal but that’s ok.

Once you have removed all the broken china pieces you should be able to use a standard bent pan connector, providing the drain is the old 4”. However, if you find the drain is actually the old 3”, there are adaptors on the market to overcome this issue.

Option 2
This is the option to use if you wish to keep the WC pans and they are not cemented to the floor!

You will have to break the cement collar around the pan again with a small chisel.
Once the cement is removed, the WC pan will come freely away from the drain. You will probably find the WC pan has not been drilled to the floor but cemented on the base. If this is the case, you will have to smash the pan to remove it anyway.

Don’t worry if the collar breaks. In some cases if the floor is to be re-tiled etc the top of the collar will have to be broken away anyway, particularly if the floor is to be retiled. Just be careful not to drop debris down the drain or crack the clay drain pipe below the level of the new pan connector fitting when breaking away the china pieces.

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