Yesterday, as planned, Scott and I replaced the toilet in my downstairs bathroom.
While at Home Depot we ran through a checklist of all the things we'd need, and got to the question of whether or not I should get another supply line. We thought about getting one just in case, but ultimately - and foolishly - I decided against it. After all, I knew that I would end up being wrong no matter what I decided, and we left Home Depot fully expecting to have to retrun at least once.
Replacing a toilet is a pretty straightforward process.
Unless, of course, you happen to be Jon.
(Or Scott, for that matter. And it holds especially true if you're Jon and Scott.)
The first obstacle we encountered was the fact that the water supply absolutely would not shut off completely, thus the whole time we were working there was a constant flow of water pouring out of the supply line.
The second obstacle was actually removing the supply line from the tank, a task that ultimately proved impossible, and so we were soon on our way to buy that extra supply line that I didn't need. Fortunately it proved to be the only return trip we had to make to Home Depot.
Once we got back we simply removed the supply line from the supply itself, hauled the tank outside - not bothering to put down the plastic I'd bought for that purpose and dripping some black nastiness directly on the carpet - and removed the bowl.
There are two words to describe the site that greeted us when we removed the bowl: Dis. Gusting.
It was like a swatch of carpeting made entirely of mold.
With bugs living in it.
I removed the equally disgusting wax ring, and set to work on removing the "carpeting" with bleach.
Fortunately rotten sub-flooring wasn't an issue, as my sub-floor is concrete, and the mold's reach didn't extend beyond the surface of the tile floor.
Once I'd cleaned that up, and while still woozy from the bleach fumes, we got the new toilet put in place rather quickly, and it was time to bust out the caulking gun and seal it place on the floor.
Now, while on the surface Scott and I are grown men in our 30s, underneath it all we're really just 12 year-old boys.
Thus, the "caulk" jokes.
Not trusting my unsteady hands, I bowed to Scott's superior caulk-handling skills and let him spread caulk all over the place.
We continued in that vein - ugh, that's a terrible unintended pun - for quite some time, until finally Scott was finished working the caulk, and the time came for me to put my caulk away.
At that point I stood, caulk in hand, and said, sadly, "I don't know if I'll ever get to use my caulk again."
This prompted Scott to say, "Okay, you broke it. No more caulk jokes."
Still, I did end up throwing a couple of more comments into the caulk ring.
Finally it was time to test the toilet out. I was the first to break it in, and responded with a "Damn!" in response to how quickly, in contrast to the old toilet, the tank refilled.
Actually, the "tank" doesn't fill. I bought an eco-friendly, high-efficiency flushing toilet with a "Niagra" flapperless system.
Basically there's a basin inside that fills up with water, and when you flush, it simply tips the basin over, spilling out the water. The basin then snaps back into position and refills.
At least, that's what it does in theory.
When Scott took his turn breaking in the toilet he found that it wouldn't flush, as the tank hadn't refilled.
When we went back to pick up a new supply line, we bought one that had this "flood stop" component that we thought might put a stop to the water flow from the un-turn-offable water supply while we were working on installing the toilet.
It didn't, but it did, apparently, kick in after I flushed the toilet, preventing the tank from refilling. The only way to reset it is to disconnect the supply line and reconnect it.
At this point, now that the old toilet was disassembled and more easily accessible, Scott was able to remove the old supply line, and we attempted to put that on in place of the irritating flood stop version, but the new tank is situated considerably higher than the old one, so the old line wouldn't reach.
I'll be making a return trip to Home Depot this weekend to buy a regular one.
At one point I went outside to inspect the old toilet to see if I could find where it had been leaking. I didn't see any cracks, so I'm assuming it was leaking around the wax ring.
What I did see, though, was that the bottom of the bowl was teeming with the bugs who had been living in that darkness for who knows how long. I hit them hard with some bug spray, and summarized the bugs' existence to Scott as, "A life spent in darkness, then death."
In any case, here are some pictures from our plumbing adventure.
Fortunately we didn't think to take pictures until after I'd cleaned up the mold "carpet," so you'll at least be spared that nastiness.