Saturday, January 20, 2007

Me and my sewage

I had the plumber over today to see about fixing or replacing one of our toilets. I learned that our toilet is sitting on a lead flange. To replace the toilet, the flange has to be replaced. This quadruples the price of the project it turns out. But is that really necessary, I wondered. Poking around the Internet for information on lead toilet flanges, I ran across this item:

Another interesting idea of years gone by was the way they installed toilets. They would take a shallow, pan-like device (made of our good friend, lead) and pound the flange flat to the floor. The toilet was set over it and screwed into place. All well and good but for one problem: they leaked! The wax seal would allow water to seep out and rot the floor. The screws pull loose and the toilet becomes a rocking chair thus allowing even more water to escape. As if this wasn't bad enough, you can't replace an old toilet with a new one. The old toilets flushed like Niagara Falls. And used nearly as much water. Not much would impede its journey to the sewer. Now we have the new, water conserving toilets. They require a minimum of a 9-inch straight drop from the closet flange. Instead, we have a 3-inch drop onto a nearly flat surface. Without a large amount of water to push things along, they have a bad tendency to stop short of their destination, namely that of the sewer. Wax seals are not made to take pressure so the application of a plunger will push water into places where it doesn't belong. This, in turn, causes more rot in the vicinity of the toilet. You can't win. In fact, you can't break even. The only cure is to replace the offending pieces of your sewer system. |Link|
Being a homeowner has its complications, but it beats the hell out of the alternatives.

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