Monday, January 03, 2005

Toilet: The Final Frontier

Today I venture into the terra incognita of Toilet Repair.

One of my toilets has been leaking out from under the base. I told my sister about it and she said it was probably the wax ring at the base of the toilet that needed replacing. Favorite Husband said that was probably true because it's been leaking since we had a flood in that bathroom, in which the hot water pipe to the sink came loose while we were at church. By the time we returned from church, the water coming out was cold, meaning that the entire tank of hot water had been emptied into our tiny bathroom. He thinks the hot water might have compromised the wax ring as it got under the toilet, which (as I discovered just now) was never sealed off properly with plumber's putty.

I know absolutely nothing about toilets. I barely know more about them than my four-year-old, who can use the toilet and make it flush. I really wanted Favorite Husband to fix the toilet, but F.H. doesn't do plumbing and doesn't do anything stinky, so a toilet, especially one leaking raw sewage, is entirely out of the question. I wanted to get my friend over here to help me change out the wax ring so that I'd have someone here who knew more about toilets than I do, but there have been schedule complications. And if we had more money I would have hired a plumber (and gotten him to look at the leaky tub faucet to boot), but I am saving every dime of spare change for a new mattress, since our current mattress has a foot-deep trench on either side.

Nevertheless, the smell coming from the bathroom has started to get to the point where even I can't stand it. So today I rolled up my sleeves and pant cuffs, collected tools, towels, and a plastic bin, and took the damn toilet apart. I figured, I wipe raw sewage straight from the source ten times a day. Every two days I touch those same diapers again to wash them. Certainly I have no reason to be afraid of a silly little toilet.

I got the plumbing unhooked, removed the tank, unbolted the bowl from the floor, and faced

the Stinky Wax Ring of Doom!!!!

It actually wasn't that bad. I scraped off the wax with the disposable putty knife I'd bought for the purpose. I cleaned the very dirty patch of linoleum under the toilet. Now I'm just waiting for the wax ring to get up to room temperature (it was out in the snowy van) and I'm letting the floor dry out underneath the toilet because it was all swollen. After that, I'll put the thing back together again, mop the bathroom floor, and light a nice-smelling candle in there.

The only thing I'm worried about is that when I hook the plumbing back up, it might leak. The plumbing in this #$%& manufactured home is all crappy pressure fittings, and half the time when you hook something up with those pressure fittings, the pressure of the water blows them apart again. If you're lucky, they blow apart right away. If you're not, they blow apart a week later while you're at church.