Friday, April 2, 2010

Keeping My Options Open

image As the job market continues to decline I have decided to learn plumbing.  I figure software jobs can always get shipped off to cheaper labor markets, but it’s going to be difficult to fly cheap labor in to do your plumbing work.  Plumbing work has to be done locally. 

There was a rust spot underneath my upstairs toilet and downstairs toilet.  These rust spots are caused by the bolts that hold the tank onto the toilet bowl rusting and leaking water.  They’ll eventually corrode away and break.

This is what happened upstairs.  The downstairs toilet bolts hadn’t quite broken in two yet, but they were well on their way.

Home Depot sells brass bolt replacement kits for about $2.75.  I went and bought two of them.  One for each toilet…obviously.

The downstairs toilet went flawlessly.  Turn off the water, flush the toilet, drain the excess water, remove the tank, replace the bolts, reinstall the tank, turn on the water, flush several times until convinced it’s going to work, walk away.  As I start to shut the door, I hear the drip.  The flush valve connection had come loose.  Tightened it back up and the dripping stopped.  Wipe the sudden appearance of sweat away from the brow and head up stairs.

Turn off the water, flush the toilet, drain the excess, remove the tank, replace the bolts, reinstall the tank, turn on the water, flush several times and wonder why there is so much water on the floor.  And why is the water artificially blue in color as if someone has dropped blue food coloring in the tank.  I see a crack in the bottom right corner of the tank with a blue stain growing across it and a steady drip of water.  Apparently the previous owners had tried to epoxy the tank rather than replace it.

I look on the Internet and the survey says, “Don’t replace the tank, replace the whole toilet.”  Basically because tanks and toilet bowls aren’t “standard”.  Am I really in the mood to replace a whole toilet?  I’ve never done this kind of thing before.  I’m not a plumber.  But, I figure, what the hell?  You only live once, right?  Off to Home Depot to buy a toilet.  The selection will make your bowels howl.

They have circular toilets, oblong toilets, extended toilets, short toilets, tall toilets, black toilets, white toilets, custom order toilets, power flush toilets, low maintenance toilets, water conserving toilets, cheap toilets, expensive toilets.  Unfortunately there was no toilet that would install itself.  For $150, Home Depot would do it for you though.

You could pay $50 for a toilet and $150 for the install.  I chose a $98 toilet and decided to install it myself.  There are videos all over the Internet about how easy it is to install a toilet.  I couldn’t find one to explain what happens when you try to install the toilet and it’s too close to the wall.  I still don’t have warm fuzzies that I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and find my upstairs toilet downstairs in a pool of sewage.  But sleep I must.

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