Wednesday, October 30, 2019

terlit redux

I've been back from my cross-country walk for a few days, now, so I've had a chance to quietly observe my toilet's behavior. I may have written more about the toilet saga on my walk blog, but the essence is this: before the walk, my toilet began leaking a tiny bit. I called for repairs; a repair guy eventually showed up, but when I got back to my place to see the repair he had done, it looked as if he'd done nothing except clear away some broken pieces of toilet putty from around the bottom of the toilet—all without resealing the puttied perimeter.

Somewhat pissed off, I texted a photo of the un-repaired toilet to our building's maintenance office along with the barely polite message that I didn't think the guy had actually completed his repairs. By that point, I was just about to go on my walk, and maintenance unhelpfully said I needed to coordinate with the human-resources staffer at my company, thus adding an unnecessary link in the chain of communication (I prefer direct communication whenever possible; adding people merely creates a "game of telephone" scenario that degrades the efficiency of information transfer). Sighing, I texted my with HR liaison the day before my departure for Incheon; she was sympathetic and asked whether we could schedule the repairman to come back to my place while I was gone. I said no, and that I would finish the repairs myself. And that's where we left off.

So now I'm back, which means I've turned the toilet's valve back on, and I've had a chance to see whether there have been any leaks since Sunday. Not a one. This means the repairman did actually fix the leak, but he didn't screw the toilet back down (it still wobbles, which makes me worry a bit about the toilet's wax seal, which can deform easily when the bowl wobbles, thus allowing more leakage), and he didn't re-putty the toilet's bottom perimeter. So my plan is to re-seal the exposed part of the perimeter by buying some rubber sealant instead of plumber's putty. I'll also have to re-screw the toilet to the floor to prevent further wobbling. But, really, that's about it: if the leak has been fixed, this means the wax-seal issue has been taken care of. I've learned that you're not supposed to seal the entire bottom perimeter of the toilet: if there is ever another leak, the water will have nowhere to drain, and the inside of the toilet's bottom will rot and fester, possibly degrading the floor tiling and causing water to drain down to the apartment below mine. You're supposed to leave part of the bottom perimeter open so as to facilitate evaporation in the event of leakage; most plumbers simply leave the part of the perimeter closest to the wall open to the air: any water from the shower can't splash into that area because of the awkward angle.

This weekend, then, I'll buy the sealant and do my repairs. In the meantime, I'm showering very carefully by standing as far away from my toilet as possible. I'm glad that I have so little to do; I'd been worried that, upon my return, I'd have to buy a wax seal, uncouple the toilet from the wall, and do all the repairs myself from square one.


John Mac said...

Damn, you know more about toilets than I even knew existed. A true Renaissance man!

Kevin Kim said...

I linked to some YouTube vids on the topic here. I had to watch the vids because I was finding the topic hard to visualize.