Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Did I mention that I hate plumbing? I can jack-leg my way around most plumbing jobs, but it takes me about three times as long as the average apprentice. I do my homework and talk to experts and try to figure out what I'm doing. Our guest bathroom commode had been leaking down, drizzling a little water from the tank into the bowl, so I talked around and found out about some new devises that would help manage the water in the tank. I hied myself down to Lowe's and talked with the plumber, who showed me a device and sold it to me. Easy-peasy, a half hour job.

That commode in the guest bathroom has always rocked, just a little bit. It didn't leak, just rocked. So, this morning after Milady went to work, I got out the little device and a handful of tools and went into that bathroom to install the new device. I even read the instructions and spread everything out on the counter so I'd know what I was doing. Installation looked rather straight-forward, until we got to the point where I shut off the water and drain the tank.

Did I mention that I hate plumbing? Did I mention that the guest bath commode has always rocked a little bit? I shut off the water and drained the tank, then started the installation. I got to the point where I re-install the water supply and when I leaned over the tank, I heard something pop. Not a good pop, but a sickening pop. Then the commode fell over on its side, I picked up the commode and tried to upright it, but my shoes slipped on the wet floor and I fell, dropping the commode on myself and breaking the porcelain.

Began cursing almost immediately, a blue-streak that would make my father proud and my mother blush. I got the commode into the carport, dripping water everywhere.

Went back into the bathroom and found that the reason the commode had always rocked was because the jazzbo who originally installed it when the house was new, had failed to secure the flange and it was rocking on PVC. The damned flange wasn't screwed to the floor. The sickening pop I head was the flange turning loose.

So, I hied myself down to the plumbing supply and got some expert advise. It seems that there are these screws called Tapcon screws that are designed for just this installation. Along with carbide concrete bits to drill the hole necessary for installation. Of course, the plumbing supply doesn't sell them, but you can get everything at Fastenal, which is just down the road.

Came home, sharpened a chisel and started chiseling out the remnants of the old flange, went back to the store for some more advise and some more carbide bits, drilled holes in concrete and properly fastened the flange to the floor, cursing the whole time. Yeah, I know, I really shouldn't curse, but did I mention how much I hate plumbing? Finally got that bastard screwed to the floor, then decided to take a picture of the completed installation.

Four screws is enough, according to the guy at the plumbing supply. It takes, on average, one $5.00 carbide bit to drill one hole in concrete.

Then I started thinking while I was cleaning up my mess. I've still got to purchase and install a commode, but that's the guest bathroom. I personally wouldn't have any trouble at all, using a stainless steel industrial crapper, but Milady might like something a little nicer. I called her at work to tell her about my day and I could tell that she was suppressing a laugh. We'll go to supper when she gets off work today, then drop by Lowe's so she can pick out a new toilet. I'm guessing at this point that the new water flow device is pretty much redundant.

Have I mentioned how much I hate plumbing?


J said...

Try this plumbing problem: There's a drip in the hot water line up under this old house. It's costing me circa $50 a month in extra electricity.

The line starts at the south edge of the house, headed towards the bathroom near the north edge of the house. It starts as 3/4" galvanized pipe. It then becomes COLD water PVC. It then becomes galvanized again.

It L's up about a foot and T's off about a foot on each side. There's a hose bib on each side. Flexible air line hose connects to each hose bib. 1/4" copper gas pipe connects to the end of each air hose. The 1/4" gas pipe goes to the hot water side of the tub and the hot water side of the lavatory.

All the above is under the house. I'm old and fat and claustrophobic.

My dad, rest his soul, fixed plumbing for free or not at all.

Oldlurker said...

Hate plumbing? You sure got that right. I'll do electrical, woodwork, concrete, but no plumbing. The closest my wife & I ever came to divorce was the day I went to fix a leaky shower spray. Ended up breaking the thing inside the wall and then using most of the the same words I bet you did. We hire plumbing out now.

Old NFO said...

Ye Gods... NOT a good day... That is why if I have a plumbing problem, I just pay the man. That way my blood pressure stays in control.

Rich Jordan said...

assuming your water flow device is a new fill valve, you might want to consider keeping it, depending on the new throne you get. A lot of them (especially the 'contractor specials' come with VERY loud fill valves. I helped my parents replace several of them in their relatively new home; the fluidmaster replacements are much quieter.

Beware of the cheaper toilets, which with the federally mandated weenie capacity may be unable to 'flush acts of congress' as Dave Barry put it. Currently available toilets are a very good example of 'get what you pay for' thanks to all the restrictions.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. What a story. I promise I tried not to laugh. Really.


Nancy R. said...

I highly recommend Toto toilets. We have aome at work, and I have never seen one clog yet. If you knew what I had to deal with regarding the non-Toto toilets, you'd be impressed.

I've installed more than my share of toilets, and I've learned to always buy two wax rings. I'll get the darn thing installed, and then not be able to remember if I pulled the rags out of the waste pipe or not and have to start over.

Gerry N. said...

A few months ago I had to change the downstairs commode. I surfed Craigslist for a forty plus year old used one. Steam cleaned it at the carwash and replaced the inner workings. Cost: Less than $15 including two wax rings. That puppy will flush a cinderblock in one go.

Plumbing Fittings said...

When it comes to remodeling an old bathroom, repairing or replacing plumbing and fixtures might be a job to leave for the professionals.

plumbing said...

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