We are getting to be good friends with our plumber. Ah, the joys of owning an old house.
Today Jim is going to Home Depot to look at toilets. The mechanism that flushes our toilet is broken (the second time this has happened since we moved here). The vertical part of the toilet is also cracked (although not all the way through). The crack is not a new thing, but we haven't been able to flush the toilet all week without pulling off the back and manually flushing it that way. And since we've been doing that, the mechanism has further deteriorated. Initially, it was just the chain that was broken. But now, the suction cup part of the mechanism is no longer attached to anything and could get swept into the pipe at any time. This would cause the toilet to keep filling constantly, requiring a plumber right away.
For all of you who are in an apartment but would like to buy a house, take note. If we were in an apartment, we could just call maintenance and they would've taken care of this. (That assumes, of course, that you have a responsive maintenance person). But now that we own this house, it's all up to us. Broken toilet? Great! Hire a plumber. And stay at home while you wait for them to come. And then shell out the money. And by the way? If you decide to fix it yourself and end up causing a leak that destroys your ceiling? Well, you get to deal with that too! And while this is all being fixed, no toilet or water!
Anyway, it would be nice to get a new toilet and not have to worry about the crack getting larger and causing a huge leak when we least expect it. According to Jim's Plumbing "How-To" book from Home Depot, replacing a toilet is one of the easiest plumbing jobs you can do. Takes 1 hour. Unless you own an old house (pre-1940). Then the pipes and holes might not be the standard size, possibly requiring you to have to cut new holes and replace some of the pipes, etc. And of course, judging from our prior experiences with this house, it would just be our luck that after Jim pulls off the toilet, we'll realize that this is actually a bigger job than we can do in a day. Then we don't have a toilet and need to get a plumber ASAP and pay their elevated Sunday rates. And the water cut-off valve for our toilet is also broken. Which means that we'd have to shut off water to the whole house to fix it.
Jim is pricing out toilets to figure out if we can afford to replace the whole toilet, or if we're just going to fix the mechanism and wait longer for the new toilet.
So, in conclusion, for all those out there thinking of getting a house, here are things you need once you move in and have to do plumbing work:
1) a good plumber;
2) a good plasterer;
3) a sturdy bucket to place under the destroyed ceiling so you don't have destroyed floors too;
4) a Home Depot nearby;
5) 2 bathrooms with functional toilets would be a nice bonus; or
6) nice neighbors who would let you use their toilet; or
7) a membership to the YMCA to use their toilet and shower.
Makes you wonder whether owning a house is really worth it, eh? :) (But it is)