DIY, Home Ownership, Plumbing, Repairs

Grumpy Plumbers and the Joys of Homeownership

Ahh, homeownership!  The American Dream, right?  The white picket fence, everything shiny and gleaming…

Well, I certainly don’t mind the idea of a white picket fence, having everything nice and shiny, or even of owning our own house… but the thing is, sometimes the shine gets rubbed off, and that’s when you realize:

You’ve got plumbing issues!

Oh joy.  Plumbing issues.  Thank goodness we have a home warranty that came with the purchase of the house, right?  Right?  Hello?

OK, so maybe having a home warranty is great for some things, but when you realize that there’s a $100 call-out fee for each and every issue, the gleam and grandeur of the H.W. wears off just a smidgen.

I seriously considered attempting to fix the toilets myself.  Don’t think I wouldn’t do it!  I ‘d even started researching “Plumb It Yourself” websites/discussion boards, watched YouTube videos, but I think that Chris had formed some sort of nightmare mental image of me, knee deep in water, yelling out, “I can fix it, I can fix it!” while trying desperately to wrap the pipes in packing tape.

Pfft.  Please.  As if I’d use packing tape – only duct tape for me, thanks.

So, Chris vetoed my ideas to fix-it-myself and I called our Home Warranty company, Secure 2-10, and told them the issues at hand.  They promptly called a contracted plumber, who then quickly called us, and then showed up less than 48 hours later.  Snappy service, indeed.

The plumber came.  He looked.  He grumbled about old toilets and flappers and fill valves and Home Depot.  He grumbled about cold weather and snow and make-up days.  And then he grumbled out the door to buy the necessary parts which probably added up to a grand total of $25.  Then, amazingly, he cheerfully came back to the house and fixed the toilets.  Bada-bing, bada-boom.  No more constantly running toilets, no more flushing difficulties, no more worrying about leaks!

Except, it wasn’t all happy news.

The toilet in our master bathroom is old.  How old?  Old enough that when the grizzled plumber looked at it, it caused him to say, “Wow – I haven’t seen one of these in a long time.  These things are almost impossible to break” (and therefore almost impossible to get your home warranty company to shell out for a new one).

Let me clear one thing up: we didn’t break the toilet.  The flapper/flopper thing-a-mah-what-zit had worn out, which is no surprise given that it was probably last replaced in the 1990s.  But when it comes to flushing, there’s naught to be done to improve it’s performance.  It’s a small toilet, single system, with a low low-volume tank.  Great for water conservation.  Bad for flushing.  Except, not so great for water conservation because we end up plunging and flushing and plunging some more and flushing some more… probably using three times the amount of water one would need with a newer low-flow toilet.  So, it looks as though we’ll be buying a new toilet and this time, if I can’t wheedle/cajole/whine my way into getting our HW company to cover it, I’m doing it myself, thanks very much!


Update: I just watched this video from and yeah, I’m definitely installing the toilet myself if the HW company won’t cover it.  Added bonus – our county gives us a $40 rebate for installing a water-wise, energy efficient toilet, so it shouldn’t be too expensive.  Wish me luck!

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