The Making of a Handy-Man – Knight of the Round Porcelain

Well, I have accomplished another adventure in my handy-man career. A few weeks ago, I noticed water puddling on the bathroom floor but chocked it up to the kids taking a shower. As the evening progressed, the water was still showing up even though I kept cleaning it up. I finally found the leak coming from under the toilet and was shocked. I had never heard of a leak coming from under the toilet before so my wife went and looked up the symptoms to see what would cause that problem. We discovered that the wax ring that is settled in between the toilet and the flooring might be bad so off to the local hardware store for the parts.

The start of this adventure was dragged out during my visit to the parts store as no one was available to point me in the right direction on which of the several wax ring options I should use. I finally found someone in the lumber department to led me a hand and after we shot ideas off each other, determined which piece I would need. Removing the toilet itself was no big deal but the alien infestation below was. Let’s just say that I screamed like a girl am lucky to be alive after the Queen Roach from the South sought revenge after her territory had been invaded. Guess the plumber I had in almost two years ago forgot to seal something when re-installing the toilet…..yeah……

After my victorious conquest (and a lot of bug spray) I cleared out what remained of the previous wax ring and cleaned the area where the new wax ring would be placed. I decided to go ahead and make sure the underside of the toilet was clean as well since I do not plan on doing this again for a very long time. As I was outside spraying the toilet down, I notice that the tank-to-bowl bolts were really rusted and didn’t look to be in the best of shape. I got the bright idea to change them out, even though nothing was leaking.

I will tell you this, having a deep-socket wrench set does come in handy. The only way for me to get the nuts off and remove the tank from the bowl was to use the deep-socket wrench. My brother brought his set over for me to use and decided to stay and help finish changin out the bolts and put the toilet back in place. Once the tank was removed from the bowl, we went ahead and set the new wax ring in place and fitted the bowl back in place. This took only a few minutes and was excitingly easy. After we had put the new bolts in the tank, we brought it over to place it back on the bowl but discovered that the holes did not line up correctly. What was even worse was that the tank was not fitting snuggly in place with the bowl and water was leaking everywhere. Frustration mounted so I decided to leave it be and do some more research. It appeared that a plumber would have to be called in to finish….

…..fortunately that was not the case. After several days and a lot of hard thinking, I went ahead and bought another seal to fit between the tank and bowl and see if 1/8″ would make the difference. It didn’t but I did discover something very useful. Do not use wing nuts to attach the tank to the bowl. It will not allow you to get the tank seated securely in place. Once I decided to try the standard nuts with the deep-socket wrench, I was able to tighten the tank securely to the bowl and the leaks stopped.

To finish this master-piece, I waited a few days to be sure that there truly were no more leaks and everything functioned fine. I then went ahead and caulked around the base of the toilet to seal off the Underworld of Destruction to ensure a safe, working toilet for all of us to enjoy. It was an adventure and I did learn a lot on this subject and feel confident that I can replace a toilet in the future if needed.

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