My goal for this month was to post blogs with ideas and hints to help get through the holidays, but since we have finally resolved the "Great Plumbing Drama of '09". I had to share. For everyone who is intimately involved in my life you will know that for the last 5 - 6 months it has been an ongoing debate (argument) between Andy and I on the best (and most economical) way to fix the leak in the kitchen drainpipe, and our slow flushing toilets.
Every time I ran the dishwasher or drained a sink full of water a puddle would form on the basement floor below the kitchen. Annoying yes, but thank goodness the drainpipe is located in a non vital wall in the basement, and we were able to cut the sheet rock away and expose the pipe. I put towels all around the pipe to catch the flooding, and with close monitoring it has been manageable. As for the toilets that is another story entirely!
Any one who has children knows that on the best of days you may get two of your four children to flush (just once mind you) after a visit to the powder (bath) room. That's is 50% or a C if you are being graded. I could almost live with that, but with our slow flushing toilets it would require anywhere from two to twelve flushes to do the job properly. Needless to say, after months of this, my positive attitude on the subject was going south...FAST for a number of reasons:
1. Once a child is potty trained I don't want to know the nature of their business (unless they are sick and I have to clean it up).
2. Amount of toilet paper being used to weigh down the" offenders" so that it would go down
was cutting into my grocery budget big time.
3. The extra flushing was not helping our water bill.
4. It was getting embarrassing when we had company over, and you had to explain flushing protocol before they could use the bathroom.
5. Cleaning the toilet bowl once a week is bad enough, but two or three - UNBEARABLE!
6. I was catching myself standing over the toilet getting ready to clean it, and chanting under my
breath "please go down" with every flush.
Well, to cut this long story short I finally convinced my husband that with the holidays looming; it was time to fix the problem!
We called the plumber on Monday; he came on Tuesday and gave of us a bid that seemed reasonable, Friday he came and fixed most of the problems. The pipe had a split at the neck under the subfloor, he cut out the old and replaced the whole section. The plumber also replaced our main shut off valve that had rusted shut ( very bad if a pipe bursts!!!!). The toilets were a bigger can of worms. We thought our sewer line was clogged. Bless the plumber, he shot air through the line to dislodge any clogs (a much cheaper alternative to snaking the line). Unfortunately, the line was clear, it seems both toilets are shot(they had been manufactured in 1981 making them 28 years old or 228 in toilet years). Andy and Brian spent Friday night installing a new toilet in the master bathroom. It works like a charm! We are going to have to order the toilet for the hall bath because my tub and tile surround are light tan (got to love "80's decor) ,and it's cheaper to pay $25.00 more for an almond toilet than to pay for a total bathroom remodel.
Later last night as my family huddled around the new commode, their eyes shiny with anticipation; waiting for the heavens to part and the light shine down while angel choirs sang in the background, before the first "courtesy" flush. I took a moment to reflect on what I learned from the experience.
1. A plumber can be your best friend. Thank you to Ray at Holeshot Plumbing (email@example.com or call 208-589-1304) they were reasonably priced, upfront,
and honest. They are based out of Idaho Falls, but they are more than willing to travel throughout Southeast Idaho. I was very impressed with them.
2. Ask if there is a discount if you do the demolition work yourself. If you like your plumber refer
them to your friends; if he can get more work from your job you may get another discount.
3. If it a basic task do it yourself. It was cheaper for us to buy the toilet ourselves and install it.
If you are nervous there are tons of do it yourself books on home repair and plumbing at the
library or look on line.
4. All toilets are not created equal! It is better to buy a toilet from a plumbing supply store that
is specialized than Home Depot or Lowe's. It may cost little more, but the quality is better.
5. If your only option is a Home Depot potty check them throughly. Rub your hand around the
base and inside of the toilet to make sure there aren't any rough areas ( to avoid potential
clogs). Check the internal workings to make sure they are sturdy and made from stainless
steel or sturdy plastic (so you are not constantly replacing parts). Ask about how well it
flushes and how much water it uses.
6. Check to make sure there is a wax ring included with the toilet. If not, remember to buy
one (prevents profanity and pulsing veins halfway through the installation).
Now, I think I'm going to go and admire my "Merry Christmas" toilet. Happy flushing everybody!!!!!!