Here Comes Another Big Expense

Uhm...not your father's Buick

LOL! Sumer is y-cumin’ in…and with it, the usual array of stupefyingly pricey unplanned expenses. You’ll recall what happened last summer: the minute the power bills started their climb toward the stratosphere, every damnfool thing that could go wrong did go wrong and had to be fixed, from teeth to car.

This time it’s the toilet. The one in the roomier bathroom (this house has two alleged bathrooms, one of which is smaller than the master bedroom closet), the one I prefer to use, has finally given up the ghost. It’s never worked well, though it’s been better than most water-efficient toilets.

How something that has to be flushed three times every time you use it can be dubbed “water-efficient” beats me. But at least this model doesn’t have to be plunged every other time you use it.

Anyway. Satan and Proserpine installed a couple of mid-priced American Standards in this house. They have been OK, but I’ve missed the $300 Toto I put in the old house after I made the stupid mistake of replacing the 1970s toilets that actually worked with pretty but nonfunctional new models. That was shortly after the rules came in saying all toilets had to be “water-efficient.” One detail I’d missed out on was just what that implied: i.e., toilets simply stopped working. Finally, I found a plumber who would admit that he knew of a toilet that did not have to be plunged once or twice a day, but it was expensive. Three hundred bucks was as nothing compared to the annoyance factor of the things I’d installed.

If I’d had any sense, when I put the house on the market I would have removed that terlet, replaced it with another Home Depot special, and brought the thing with me to the new palace. Oh well. Hindsight is…heh!

Moving on. The newer toilets work pretty well. We put a pair of Kohlers in the downtown house, and they’ve been fine. So when the favorite throne in this house finally stopped working, I decided that instead of having Wonder-Plumber fix it (which he surely could do in short order), I would ask him to replace it, preferably with one of the elongated models instead of the dwarf-sized affair that’s in there.

Geez. Satan and Proserpine were both tall, big-boned people. Not fat, but tall and solidly built. These tiny little thrones must have really been really uncomfortable for them. One wonders, doesn’t one, why on earth people make the choices they do?

Anyway. I want a low-end Toto, which isn’t all that much more expensive than a functional version of other models. He thinks it’s ridiculous to spend that much on a toilet, and, he being a plumber, I expect he knows whereof he speaks. So he’s bringing a new, larger American Standard. Oooohhhkay. This had better be good, Mr. WonderPlumber! And I’d better not have take the damn thing apart and fix it every time I flush it, as I’ve had to do with th’deceased!

WhatEVER. By the time I finish paying him to acquire, deliver, and install that thing and haul the old piece of junk away, the bill no doubt will hover around $250 or $300. It’ll be worth it to have a non-annoying piece of hardware in there, one that actually functions. But…was there a reason this couldn’t have come to pass in February, when I had an extra $250 laying around?

Can’t wait to see what goes on the fritz next month.

:-)

Image: Delftware-style toilet. Evert Maijis. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands license.

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Money Beagle April 25, 2012 at 8:59 am

Have you had the pipes snaked? That could be contributing to some of the slugishness and getting those done would be a lot easier when the toilet is off. Something you may want to think about getting done at the time if you think there’s any merit.

funny April 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

@ Money Beagle: Yeah, the drains are good. It’s the junk hardware. The thing still flushes OK (or as OK as those sorts of terlets ever did). It’s that the pieces inside the tank are shot. I’ve had to replace the little arm lever thingie several times, and every day have had to fix it. Every. single. time. it. gets. flushed. Then the water leveling gizmo broke, so the tank wouldn’t refill.

Sister-in-Sin and her husband, living in an old house in Seattle, just had the drains snaked routinely about once every year or 18 months. The idea was to head off emergencies, and apparently it worked.Their house had a lot of shrubbery and trees, though, so it would be reasonable to expect roots and stuff getting into the plumbing. Plus they cooked a lot, and they had a constant stream of adult kids and friends visiting…lots of wear & tear on the plumbery.

Susan Schmid April 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm

We just replaced both of our 1970s vintage toilets with Kohler Cimarrons (recommended by our plumber) ($239 in the elongated version at Lowe’s here). They function beautifully and we are very happy with them. We did not get elongated as the bathrooms are too small and the round, comfort height is just fine. The tank is narrower so we did save some significant space. Be sure you consider “comfort height.”

My mom and stepdad just replaced there 2 older toilets in VA with the American Standard Cadet 3 (recommended by their plumber) ($285 or $311 at Lowe’s here) and they are very happy with them.

Those first gen water saver toilets were awful and my folks have a 3rd bathroom with one of those and it does require 3 flushes for every use. The Cimarrons and Cadet IIIs are not even remotely related. The whole way they work has been changed.

The slow close seat/lid and easy clean lid options are worth considering depending on what matters to you.

Good luck!!

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