The toilet that rocked


There are clients and jobs that stay poignant in my mind. They remain memorable for different reasons. Talking with a client would be my favourite part of the job. Giving advice and listening to concerns gave me great satisfaction.

There was one particular client that had a long list of plumbing jobs that needed to be fixed around the home. Both of the toilets leaked. They were both p traps which meant the toilet waste came through the wall.

Under each toilet waste was a shallow ice cream bucket that would catch the drips of water (and effluent) as they flushed through the toilet. The smell wasn’t so great.

Dad worked on the main toilet while I worked in the ensuite.

To fix the leak, the toilet pan had to be disconnected and the pan collar (black rubber plumbing fitting specifically for toilet wastes) had to be replaced. In order to disconnect the toilet pan, I had to disconnect the toilet cistern too.

So I eagerly placed the top toilet lid down so I could sit on the lid facing the cistern to unscrew it from the wall. As soon as I sat on the toilet, it rocked. I moved my weight from side to side to see how far the toilet would rock and she rocked quite a bit. I looked down at the bottom of the pan and realized the toilet didn’t have any screws connecting it to the floor. It looked quite dodgy. No wonder the toilet leaked every time it was used.

I disconnected the toilet cistern easily and removed the pan from the pan collar. While my dad replaced the pan collar, I explained to the client why the toilet had been leaking. I also asked if she felt the toilet rock when her and her husband used it.

Her answer dumbfounded me, because yes, she did know that the toilet pan wasn’t screwed into the floor and it had been like that from the day that they purchased the home but her husband wasn’t confident enough to use a power drill to screw the pan into the floor.

I asked how long they had lived in their home and she replied 11 YEARS.

She admitted that they had been hovering over the toilet bowl for 11 years to do their business because they couldn’t afford to pay a plumber to fix it properly.

She was incredibly grateful that we fixed up all the plumbing problems in her home and asked if she could pay our bill in installments which we were happy to do and she paid every cent that was owed.

At the time I found it incredibly funny that someone had hovered over their own toilet for 11 years to do a number 1 and a number 2. But I also felt compassion because who was I to judge about how they spent their money or what they could afford to get fixed?

Unfortunately I will always remember that client with the toilet that rocked.

Have you ever sat on a wobbly toilet? I’m linking up with Laugh Link.