Monday, April 22, 2013

Plumbing Debacles

So let me start by saying how much I love the blog Young House Love, so when I saw this post by them I was super excited. Why WOUDN'T you install a dual-flush on your toilet when it's so easy and will make your home more water efficient?
Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to Lowe's I go... 

Lowe's had a conversion kit, but it had a traditional level flush rather than the push button. You push down for #2 and pull up for #1. But my thought was unless we put instructions on the toilet, no one is going to know to pull up for #1 and we'll still be using the same amount of water. So I headed to Home Depot to get the identical kit used by YHL. Back home I arrive, ready to roll up my sleeves and accomplish something!

Off comes the toilet flush lever, easy-peasy.

Lever removed, ready for fancy push-button!
Flush valve removed (note the silicone)

OK, so far so good. Now let's see how to put this baby together! At this point I'm looking at the image in the instructions, and noticing that's not what I'm looking at in my toilet: 
Hmm... I call Ryan in to take a look, and we decide we need to replace the flush valve. No biggie, off to Lowe's again to pick up one of these:  

I open the package, start reading instructions, and get to this image: 

Hmm, not sure how I'm going to install that rubber gasket on our one-piece toilet... Oooohhhhh, THAT'S why the silicone was there. SHIT. Now what?

New dual-flush toilet is what.

So I order the new toilet from Lowe's, and we decide to prep for it while we wait for it to arrive at the store. 
Spoiler alert: thankfully we were not living at the house at this point, because we end up being without a crapper for a few days...
Out comes the old toilet
Hmm, that doesn't look good...
We realize we're going to need to replace the toilet flange that's totally rusted out. See those little shims in the upper left that they had been using to level the toilet? Yeah, nicely done. 

As it turns out, the subfloor was totally rotted out as well, and there were old plumbing pipes, so while I laboriously cut away all the rotted subfloors, Ryan worked on running new PVC pipe to the toilet. All this for a more efficient toilet, it better be worth it!
Several hours with the utility knife later...

Of course I neglected to document the patchwork as we filled everything back in, but a day or two later the toilet was ready for pickup and voila!  
New toilet in place, and beginning to lay the new floor tiles...

Isn't she pretty??
So much effort just for a more efficient flush...
Old homes are so unpredictable, I'm learning how naive it is to ever go into any task thinking of it as just a quick job. But it's always an adventure, and educational, gotta love it!


  1. My friend Alicia just installed the same toilets in her house! You can write these off on your taxes as well, FYI!

  2. Good to know! It's too late for this year, but I'll have to do some research into the whole "writing things off", we didn't write anything off this year... Total noobs!