You can call me. I decided to attempt some minor plumbing that didn't involve gas lines after getting the $3000 plumbing estimate. After five trips to my local hardware store (OSH) in the past two days alone, I have finally succeeded in fixing both toilets and one shower. It only took me about 5 hours. Yes, part of that does include my many trips to the hardware store. Hopefully I've saved a few dollars for the rest of the plumbing stuff that I need fixed.
The first toilet only needed a new flapper installed. The first OSH trip purchased the replacement flapper and a few other odd things on the hardware list. I turned off the water to the toilet, flushed to empty the tank and removed the old flapper. While I was at it I decided to give the inside of the tank a little scrub down. Then I tried to screw on the new flapper. Ummmm, not sure why this doesn't work. I look at the bottom of the piece that holds the flapper on and discover that I need a different type of attachment.
So back to OSH I go, return my first purchase and head back to the toilet repair aisle. Ummmmm, nothing looks like the old nasty flapper that I have in the plastic bag to protect my hands from black goo. Luckily OSH has many friendly employees and one stops to ask if I need help. Yes, please - what flapper will replace this one - which I carefully open the plastic bag to show him. The look on his face can only be described as "ewwww", but he looks and scans the wall of packages and then asks "did you have trouble getting it off the metal rod?" Yes, I did. We figured out that in my zeal to remove the old flapper, I removed the metal piece that the rod screws into the flapper and that the first flapper I purchased was the correct flapper. I re-purchased my first flapper and went back home.
I had to use pliers and a little WD-40 to get the old metal piece off, but off it came. I attached the new flapper, adjusted it to have a complete seal, turned the water back on and practiced flushing to make sure the chain was in the right place and the seal was right on target. No more jiggling the handle after flushing. D.I.G!
Oh, it was almost six trips total. I forgot that I was also replacing tires to the lawnmower. In fixing the one that I had originally broken, I broke another one. I was going to go back to OSH and buy the 2nd tire when I realized that it was after 8 p.m. and OSH would be closed.
Got up this morning and went back to OSH (3rd visit) for the 2nd lawnmower tire and to get the guts to fix the second toilet. I figured that the first one was so easy then the second one would be a piece of cake as well. I bought the new flapper and a new fill valve. (The plumber that gave me the $3000 quote had said that installing a new fill valve might help. The guts that were on that toilet had to have been there since day one.)
Back at the ranch, I sat down to read the instructions for the new flapper which clearly states "Install in 15 minutes". I laugh as I tell RTL that it will probably take me an hour. In the bathroom, I turned off the water supply, drained the tank and started taking out all the toilet guts. I unscrewed, unbolted, snapped off, pulled out, unattached just about everything but there was still a bunch of old guts in there. Then I realized that the nut that attached the fill valve to the water supply line was corroded which was making things difficult. A lot of WD-40, a lot of elbow grease and some frustrated head on the toilet I could cry moments later, I finally got the *ugly ugly ugly words* off - two hours later. And now I have to go back to OSH!
I needed a new water supply line. Should I have considered this the first time I went? Probably. However, I assumed that it had stainless steel braided lines like every other one in the house. Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to OSH I go. (4th trip)
So with my new water supply line, everything is going smoothly. I've got the new fill valve installed and I needed to hook up the supply line. It won't fit on the old water shut off even with the three adapters! Back to OSH (trip 5) for a new water shut off valve. That sucked because it meant turning off all the water to the house. I got the new shut off valve connected, the water supply line connected and finally the fill valve was done. Hey! it only took a couple of hours to get all that done. I was also sending out prayers that all my work wasn't going to leak all over the floor when I turned the water back on. However, I decided to go ahead and install the 15 minute flapper and even though I had to go to the garage for sandpaper it only took 10 minutes! Yay!
I turned on the water and nothing flooded. The toilets work properly now. I replaced the shower head so the shower curtain doesn't attack you while you bathe. I might take up plumbing as a side job. My next task is to replace the faucet in the bathroom. We'll see how that goes and how many additional trips to OSH I have to make.
Stay tuned for the next installment of The Toilet Flushes