One of the biggest projects people attempt as a do-it-yourself repair in a home tends to be a toilet repair or replacement. After all, the mechanism seems simple enough, and based on Internet videos it involves some lifting strength, a few basic tools, and the ability to put up with a sewer stink for a few minutes. What could go wrong? Well, a lot for that matter.
The Risks Involved in a Toilet Repair
Toilet repairs usually happen because the existing unit is starting to grow old and has begun to fail. The most common example would be the deterioration of the rubber stopper inside the reservoir tank. So you have to ask yourself if a repair shouldn’t really be a replacement. It depends.
First and foremost, the biggest risk with toilets is not their use and smell, surprisingly. Instead, it’s the water feed flowing into the toilet to feed its water reservoir. If not handled correctly, a poor repair could end up leaving a leak with an improper connection or, worse, it could disconnect the feed line from its plumbing connection inside the wall, creating an even worse leak.
Secondly, a poorly installed toilet will leak from the bottom of the basin. That can create a host of problems including leaking sewage, water damage, dry rot to a bathroom floor and stains. All of these are preventable but happen more often than people think mainly due to a lack of plumbing repair experience. Even a small mistake over time can turn into a big damage problem due to the destructive nature of water.
Why Is it So Complicated?
A good amount of mistakes made with DIY projects involve a lack of training in all the steps. Many accomplished DIY repair types won’t readily admit it, but they learned much of their skill from trial and error. And those errors can be costly, as noted above.
With plumbing especially, errors happen from little things, especially due to the pressure from the household water feed. When turned on and connected, that water feed is going to find any possible gap where water can squeeze through. When that happens, a leak occurs. Some leaks never go bigger, but they can still cause a lot of damage over time with a constant pressure feed pushing drop after drop out.
There are books on how to repair toilets properly, but impatience contributes to a lot of missed details. For example, anytime one joins a screw-in type connection, common with water feed lines connecting to toilet basins, pipe thread tape should be used.
This thin plastic tape helps create a tight seal between the threads of the connection point, preventing water leaks through the threads. With new connections, this is not so noticeable, but older threads have been spread, leaving micro gaps pressured water can squeeze through, ergo a leak.
Toilets are Messy Business
After all, a toilet generally has one primary function, and that’s going to handle a lot of waste. Removing One means clearing the unit after disconnecting and draining the wastewater in it. The seat connection is basically a sewer pipe hole where everything goes down through the floor.
There is usually an anchor plate screwed to the floor with two studs sticking up that connect the toilet and secure it. So, it should be easy enough to take out the old toilet, place the new one, and tighten it down, right? Wrong. There is a wax seal that is needed as well. The old wax needs to be removed, and a new seal put in place.
This creates a barrier to prevent the wastewater from going anywhere but into the sewer pipe. It’s also one of the most common missing pieces mistakes made by DIY folks installing a toilet for the first or even multiple times.
Skip the Difficulties
Instead of struggling with your first toilet install, hiring toilet repair services from a professional can save a lot of time, headache, mess, and sometimes money too. While accomplished DIY types definitely find challenges fun, a toilet install done wrong can really mess up a bathroom and house, no pun intended. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, don’t take chances. Have a professional plumber take care of business instead.