Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Case of the Brick in the Toilet

What started out as a simple mystery has quickly evolved in to something that just might be a horror novel.

The upstairs toilet wasn't flushing properly. D, being Mr. Handyman Extraordinaire, discovered the water wasn't going down right because there was a brick in the tank. This is a "trick" that is used to convert a regular toilet to a low flow toilet.

So off we go on our merry way thinking the brick was just there to help save the planet.

But, no. This our house and there's no way the previous owners did something green. Every weird thing they did in the house was to cover up some home repair crime.

One of contractors came upon the scene early in the morning and called us to let us know there was a leak under the house. We had the house inspected and there were no leaking pipes. He said, at one point water was falling at a fairly steady pace, then it stopped to a trickle. Very odd.

With the electrician who is still MIA, we didn't really feel that keen on calling in a plumber at this point. I suspected the culprit to be the upstairs bathroom sink. The faucets are already dripping, so it would make sense that the pipe would be the one to just randomly break. Not to mention the sink is already a bit jiggly on the wall.

We went back to the house today, unloading more boxes, painting and moving things around. I mentioned to the contractor that I thought it was the sink causing the leak. He informed me that the water started pouring out again when the upstairs toilet was used and he thought the seal must be broken around the bottom!

That's when things came together quickly in my mind. The brick...that pesky brick in the toilet really was there for a nefarious purpose: to hide the broken seal by better balancing the toilet.

Now, the potential for horror became clear...every time we've started one little teeny project of fixing something the other people did, it turns out much bigger: far more expensive and time consuming. The reality is, the toilet is pulled, a new ring put on and balanced...that's far too easy. It's going to be bad. I know I ought to hope for a happy ending, but we've been doing this for long enough (a whole month now) that I've already discovered that I shouldn't pull, rip, tear down, look under or otherwise do anything except paint unless I'm prepared to completely gut the entire room.

This means the brick goes back in to the toilet until we're ready to completely remodel the upstairs bathroom. And hopefully, it will keep the big scary remodel project off for long enough to complete some other much needed work. Wishful thinking...

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