Monday, June 14, 2010

Replacing a toilet in the guest bathroom

We've had a suspicion that the toilet in the guest bathroom leaks, at a low level. But it also has a tendency to get clogged, and it's a 25 year old model, so the current ones should use much less water. And that bathroom is next up on interior remodelling, so rather than repair it, we will just replace it.

The unit we have in the back bathroom seems to be working fairly well. It's an American Standard Champion 4 model. We can get this from Home Depot, but only in white. Linda says she wants "Linen" which is an off-white, and that needs to be special-ordered. I order it on 22 May 2010. $500.93 for the Toilet -- Right Height, Elongated Bowl, plus the matching toilet seat. It finally comes in on 8 June, but then my have Lauren's high school graduation, so I don't get to installing it until 13 June.

Everything goes very well at first. Removing the old toilet is as expected. Removing a bunch of bolts. Turn the water off at the wall. Take the pieces outside, with as little water leakage as possible. Clean out the old wax ring that was under the old toilet.

Turn off the water supply to the house, and replace the cut-off valve at the wall with a new one. I have trouble putting the new wax ring in place. The box with the wax ring says to press it on the up-side down toilet and then "set it in place". But when I flip the toilet over, the wax ring falls off. And positioning the new toilet bowl over the bolts is difficult, since you can't see the bolts when they are under the toilet bowl.

Finally get it set in place, and bolted down. Then attach the tank, and a new water supply line. Everything goes together just right -- no leaks.

Then flush the toilet the first time, and it leaks under the bowl -- flowing gently out along the floor.

So I take everything apart. The water supply line. The tank. Remove the bowl. The wax ring had shifted and half covered the hole into the floor. Remove it. Back to Home Depot to get another wax ring. Reinstall just the bowl. Test it this time by pouring water into the bowl with a bucket. Still leaks. Take it apart. The ring is pretty much in the right place. But normally when I've put in toilets, after installing the wax ring and putting the bowl on top, it's squishy as the bowl compress the wax ring into place, sandwiching it between the floor and the bowl, spreading out slightly and sealing everything. I had not noticed that this time. So it would seem that this unit is a bit further from the floor than a normal toilet bowl.

Back to Home Depot again. In addition to the normal wax ring, they have an "extra thick" one. Costs an extra dollar, but it's about twice as deep. Put that in place around the hole in the floor. Position the bowl on a couple of pieces of wood to hold it up until the bolts show through the bolt holes, then pull the wood out and lower the toilet bowl. Feel it squishing the wax ring as I press down on the bowl and tighten the bolts. This time it works; no leaks. Put the rest of it back together.

Altogether it took about 6 hours, but that included three installations, two removals, and two trips to Home Depot.