This Space for Rent

A festival of kludges

A festival of kludges

File this under “the joys of home ownership”; after several months of our new (2 years old) low-flow American Standard toilet getting worse and worse in the department of being able to flush (it was at the point where we had to pour buckets of water into the toilet every time we needed to flush, because it didn’t otherwise have enough puff to blow the dirty water and/or filth into the drain tube) we snapped and replaced it with a Kohler (yeah, yeah, Wisconsin Republicans, but not Walker-scale even though they’re perfectly happy to eviscerate the United States to save 45¢ in taxes) unit. But before I removed the old toilet I had to close the cutoff valve for the supply line, and I needed to crank fairly hard because the cutoff valve, like most of the plumbing in our house, was bottom-barrel cheap that was badly installed, and after closing the valve it started leaking like mad for no apparent reason. So I decided I’d just turn off the water to the house and replace the cutoff valve with a new one, at which point I discovered (by snapping the end off the cast iron supply line that had been concreted into the floor) that this unit was installed without any sort of grease or insulating tape and had become welded to the line by rust.

I attempted to fix it (by chiselling a cavity into the concrete floor) but when the end of the cast iron supply line snapped off it snapped off at an angle, so the compression housing I bought at the hardware store did not fully seat and leaked (through the floor & into the kitchen), and then the expanding plug I bought to replace the compression housing couldn’t get a good grip and popped out as soon as I opened the master water supply valve. So I shut off the house water (which, because of the whole pile of bodges plumbing, meant that the master valve doesn’t close all the way and I needed to open the valve for a hose to keep the water from dribbling out from everything in the house), mixed up a big pile of metal-filled epoxy, and permanently (?) plugged the line that way. But until then we’re going to have to live with this horrible kludge and whatever horrible kludge we have to do to replace it with a supply line that doesn’t have a ball of epoxy keeping the house from turning into a swamp.

So then, to have a toilet that flushed I needed to get a longer supply line (30 inches, which, not surprisingly, was not available as a single supply line so I had to buy an extension line and splice it in) and line splitter so I could get both cold water and toilet water. And, of course this meant that the el-cheapo cold water supply line leaked when I put a slight bend into it so I could fit the splitter into the line.

So. Toilet flushes! Yay! We have water in the house! Yay! But no cold water in the bathroom sink so we need to brush our teeth with hot water. Bleah.

When I win the lottery™ the plan is that I’m going to rip out all of the existing plumbing, then fabricate (or have a carpenter fabricate) a vertical channel on the SW corner of the house (inside the house; probably between the main part of the house and the shed that contains the meaningless room, the sleeping porch, and the back porch storage area+bathroom) and move both bathrooms (the full one upstairs and the half bath downstairs) to the SW corner of the house and then have all of the plumbing routed into that channel so that there’s only one place to look for leaks and those leaks will tend to fall down the channel and into a basement drain. But until then we’re going to be living with this kludge or whatever kludge we end up doing to bypass this supply line that ends in a big old ball of epoxy.


“Meaningless room”, in the middle of that wall of aggravation, was somehow a really remarkable construction to encounter.

I don’t know if I should hope you win the lottery or that nothing else bad happens, but at least one of those two!

Graydon Mon Apr 9 04:26:28 2018

  1. You get a A for the kludge.
  2. Ah, yes. The joys of home ownership. I swore an oath to never own another house. Now I own an expensive-to-maintain one with a crumbling swimming pool.
  3. Hi Graydon.
Lynn Dobbs Mon Apr 9 07:30:05 2018