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I’m Cheap and Easy

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2020

Dave!Home ownership is the money pit which never ends. No sooner than one expensive problem is solved than another pops up to take its place. Or, in my case, several things.

In an effort to save a hit to my wallet, I'm taking on the repair tasks myself. Some of them are difficult and require research. Others are easy but require money. My favorite things are those that are easy and cheap. Those tasks I tend to do right away because easy and cheap are my middle names.

Well, you know what I mean.

When I bought my new place, I had to do a lot of remodeling so my mother could live there safely. She couldn't walk on carpet very well, so I had to rip it out and put in hardwood. Simple tasks were becoming difficult and messy for her to manage, so I tried to accommodate that as well. I ripped out tubs and enlarged showers so it was easier for her to get in and out of... and clean. I also replaced the toilets from two-part standard models to one-piece "comfort height" models. I did whatever I could to make things easier for both of us.

I don't know if you have ever shopped for toilets, but single-piece models are expensive. Even the cheapest ones are double or even qradrupal what it costs for the standard stool/tank model that's commonly used. I ultimately went with Kohler because I found them on sale for $400 each (regular $600). Given that you can easily find decent 2-piece models for under $100 each, that's a heck of an investment.

You would think that a $400 toilet would have pretty good quality parts for the money.

Yeah... not so much.

From the get-go, both toilets would randomly start running for around a minute. At first I'd notice it happening a couple times a month. Then weekly. Then daily. Aghast at the water that was being wasted, I managed to fix the downstairs toilet just by taking it apart and putting it back together. The upstairs toilet, however, never managed to be fixed no matter how many times I worked on it. If anything it got worse, running 4 or 5 times a day. Because of the lockdown I ended up with extra time on my hands and decided to take another crack at it. I started taking it apart and... snap! The middle of the "AquaPiston" flush valve snapped. Rather than just buying a replacement for that, I decided to spend $20 and get an all new AquaPiston. Despite being advertised as having "leak-free performance," it was the only part that could really be the problem. Wanting to make sure that it was a genuine Kohler part and not a knock-off, I ordered direct from Kohler.

The part finally arrived and, viola, the problem was totally solved...

Jake sleeping on my feet.

Apparently the AquaPiston which came with my toilet was defective.

Note in the photo above that the handle trip-rod has rusted. $400 doesn't get you a non-rust part, I guess.

I've now reached the point where the projects I'm facing are far more pricey. Some I can't even do myself. I was really hoping that this year would be the year I got to replace my countertops, sink, and garbage disposal. All of them are awful, and there are issues with the disposal that simply can't be fixed. The worst part is that it leaks underneath when the waste/water level gets too high. But it doesn't make much sense to replace it if I don't replace the sink (which is cheap, damaged, and looks terrible). And it makes no sense to replace the sink before replacing the countertops (which are just cheap and terrible). I was making good progress with my savings until the pandemic, now I don't know if it's an expense I can swing no matter how badly it's needed. Maybe I'll look into a home equity loan or something, because the longer I wait the more it's going to cost.

So much for having the luxury of being cheap and easy, I guess.

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Categories: DaveLife 2020, Home RenovationClick To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. kapgar says:

    Homeownership sucks and is highly overrated.

    Did Kohler give you the new part for free seeing that the old one was deemed “defective”?

    • Dave2 says:

      Home ownership DOES suck because you never stop pouring money into it. However… what I pay per month in my fixed-rate mortgage is less than what I’d pay for a smaller apartment. So even with the money I’ve been dumping in, I’m still coming out way ahead because I have equity I can sell later. And right now I’m looking into refinancing for a ridiculous rate, which will make it an even better investment. I just wish I knew about the money required ahead of time so I could have better prepared.

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