#68: On Girl vs. Toilet

#68: On Girl vs. Toilet

When I first moved into my townhouse and encountered my first running toilet, I called a plumber. It was my first year of living in the house and it was under a home warranty, so I figured the plumber wouldn’t be too crazy expensive.

He came and about 5 minutes and $60 later, the toilet was fixed. Immediately, I embarked on a journey to learn all I could about toilet repair, figuring whatever it took him 5 minutes to do, surely, I could do!

So over the years I have proudly replaced the innards of all three toilets in the house. Feel free to applaud!!!

At first, it was easy – basically screw an old part out, screw the new part in – after turning off the water and draining the tank. The first major challenge came when I had to replace the part that required to me to take the entire tank off. No problem – just unscrew some other screws, take the tank off, replace the parts, put the tank back on, and then screw it back into place.

Only problem was, the old screws attaching the tank to the toilet were pretty much rusted and corroded and weren’t about to come loose. For the first toilet, I enlisted the help of some friends at church – a father and son – it took both of them and some powerful tools to pry those screws loose.

The second toilet, I enlisted Randy’s help – he also needed powerful tools and major persistence. Randy is a good man.

I don’t remember what happened with the third toilet – I may have actually been able to do that one myself.

For about a year now, I have had a small leak coming from the tank, traveling down the tube that connects the water supply to the toilet. This, too, should have been an easy fix; however, rust and corrosion struck again. It was impossible to get the old one off the water-turn off valve. So, in order to keep the water from leaking out of the tank, I had to resort to an elaborate system of a) turning on the water to the toilet, b) flushing the toilet, c) turning off the water to the toilet and d) flushing again to empty the tank. By last weekend, I couldn’t take it anymore. I took myself to Home Depot and thanks to a rare encounter with a free and actually helpful employee, I learned about this wonderful spray that helps dissolve the rust. Problem solved.

But this past week I have had to admit defeat. I think the super rust dissolver loosened a few other things and the water turn-off valve needs to be replaced because now it is leaking a small amount of water. This, in and of itself, would be a simple matter, but it requires turning off the main water valve by the water meter. Even with handy dandy tools from Home Depot, I cannot get that thing shut off. Plus, the possibility of water shooting up into the bathroom scares me, so I am going to surrender and leave that to the professionals. I am actually on the phone with Mr. Plumber as I write this. They shall come tomorrow and I shall gladly pay them money to fix this.

Ahh, the joys of homeownership and the constant search for that fine line between when it’s best to do it yourself and when to call the professionals.

Amy- Bradley Hand

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