General Question

janbb's avatar

What to do about this toilet dilemma?

Asked by janbb (61065points) March 6th, 2019

I have a new plumber whom I like very much but at times he and his wife don’t communicate enough with me. I had a hot water tank leak a few weeks ago and he came to fix it. I didn’t realize he was putting a whole new one in – which I do believe needed to be done. When I got the bill, it was for a lot of money. I talked to his wife not questioning the bill but that I wasn’t consulted in the process. She and her husband were contrite and concerned.

Now I needed some toilet repairs and had him come to look at them while I was away. She emailed me and said that the toilet in my room wasn’t working properly because of calcification and that James had replaced it – free of charge! That was lovely but the toilet he put in is larger and takes up more room in a small bathroom.

Do I say anything about it or should I not look a gift toilet in the mouth (as it were)? It seems a bit churlish to say anything but there is a communication problem again.

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34 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Personally, I wouldn’t (me, specifically) because I would be touched by the action, and too cowardly to express annoyance, which I would feel.
In other words, I have no good advice for you, here. If it continues to annoy you, and you can’t get used to it (which is how I deal with such things) of course you’ll need to say something.

I am useless here, sorry.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, if the new toilet is really an inconvenience, but free, you haven’t lost anything if you call another plumber and pay to have one of the right size put in.

Liking the guy and liking his work seem to be different things. I would be very wary of this one, personally, however innocent he may act. He now has you under a sense of obligation.

janbb's avatar

The problem with the space is that I use the rest of that wall for a towel warming stand and a scale. I’m wondering about looking for a smaller towel warming rack.

@canidmajor I know. It really was a kind gesture and they have expressed several times how badly they felt.

@Jeruba But I do like and trust his work and his word. He’s done several good projects for me in the past year.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This is a tough call. You did get it for free so, like @Jeruba said, it will not hurt you to call another plumber and switch it out if the size situation becomes untenable.
OTOH, he obviously did not communicate with you before making a “big” decision – again. How would you have felt if the new toilet were some outrageous color like purple?
I’d probably live with it. and work out something else for the towel warmer, etc.

As a point of reference, very few hot water tanks (maybe none) can be repaired. The failure mode is almost always a small crack in the glass lining that begins after many cycles and continues to grow slowly, (hopefully), as the unit is used. They always need replacement. The price will depend upon the size, warranty life, efficiency rating, whether it is powered by gas, oil, or electricity, and any removal, disposal or permit fees..
Be grateful he changed it out before the whole thing let lose in your house.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Oh, I am. I realize that it needed changing; I just wanted to know that that was what he was doing. I was in the house that day and he was in and out; I just wasn’t aware til I went down.

And i’m inclined to do what you said but also be sure I get more communication in the future.

janbb's avatar

I’m thinking of saying. “Thanks so much for putting in the toilet for free. It works really well. Because it’s bigger, I now need more space for a towel warmer. Maybe James can come by some time and talk to me about ideas for where to put one in.”

canidmajor's avatar

The whole “it’s bigger” thing gives me a visual of you as Edith Ann on the giant toilet.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Drop him. No matter how “kind” the gesture was, the fact that he’s willing (twice now) to make significant alterations (necessary or not) to your property without consulting you about them shows him to be unprofessional, possibly even untrustworthy.

rebbel's avatar

If this happened to me, the unconsulted installation of stuff (be they needed or not, I can’t know that myself) I would make it clear to him.
Probably in a light, fun way, I would tell him that he really need to check with me, next time, if, say, the costs are exceeding X amount of money.
“Before you replace the whole engine of my Buick, please send me a WhatsApp first”

ragingloli's avatar

You could ask.

ragingloli's avatar

Ask, what you can do for your country he is going to do.

janbb's avatar

@ragingloli You’re right. I need to get more involved in what he is doing.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@LuckyGuy is right. You don’t repair hot water heaters. The fact that your plumber didn’t consult you on the replacement of the heater is puzzling. There is a considerable range among heaters regarding quality, capacity in gallons, warranties & of course the price. This said, it seems improbable that this guy can conduct business in this fashion over any length of time. Since you are apparently satisfied with the quality of his work as well as his integrity (you trust him in your house while you’re away) he’s probably a keeper. Aren’t you curious as to how a skilled plumber can persist with the approach to business he exhibits to you? You gotta talk to him birdie (and maybe the wife as well). Personally, I would try to sit them down someplace with a choice of big slices from delicious looking cakes, along with good coffee and/or tea. I bet you would be in for a fascinating story, and at minimum pleasantly let them know that in future you want to be fully informed of everything intended. You can be firm with them and they will know you’re not upset. After all, who can can be itritated with a mouthful of cake.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have never heard of a toilet that failed so badly it needed to be replaced due to “calcification”
That’s usually reserved for whenthe porcelin is broken or cracked.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You wouldn’t believe the variability of water quality in this country.

janbb's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me And he would have had no motivation for replacing it at his own expense if he didn’t feel it was warranted.

I had been told by another company that I needed a new furnace because it was rusting and James said that wasn’t true and that he will fix it in the spring so I don’t think he’s a gouger.

mazingerz88's avatar

I always prefer a bigger toilet. Try it for a month or two?

janbb's avatar

@mazingerz88 Yes. I don’t think I want to swap it out. The towel warmer is the biggest problem.

chyna's avatar

@mazingerz88 Keep in mind a bigger toilet probably means one that is higher off the ground also. For penguins that have a short stature, that makes their feet dangle whilest sitting and pondering. If a person, or penguin, were sitting there pondering for too long, their legs might get numb.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If he already had it it’s often much quicker to completely replace one pre-plumbed with all the guts than it is to put new guts in. I replace the guts in ours every few years because of the high chlorine levels in our water.

jca2's avatar

I am imagining a bigger toilet means the one with the longer seat which may mean your knees are closer to the wall? I would find that inconvenient.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 The toilet doesn’t face a wall.

Zaku's avatar

I’d try to head it off deliberately the next time something needs attention, saying that you want to be consulted before any changes are made.

janbb's avatar

@Zaku Yup – that’s what I plan to do.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Sit and think about carte blanche.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’d get a toilet I picked tbh. Was it new or used? It would drive me crazy to not pick my own.

Quit using them, thats not normal business practice. I picked my hot water heater, too. Maybe 300 dollars total.

janbb's avatar

Thanks all. I’ve handled it now to my satisfaction.

SmartAZ's avatar

A new water heater costs more for the installation than for the heater. That is because it requires a new safety valve, special bendable pipes, special fittings and a lot of work. An experienced plumber would have warned you before starting the job.

As for the toilet, you can buy another one and get what you really wanted. The free one is a zero.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Brian1946's avatar

If you ever do change plumbers, I’d like to highly disreccomend Sam Wurzelbacher’s Pipe Busters.

mazingerz88's avatar

@chyna I’m not a tall person but still prefer a bigger toilet. For the sole reason I feel more comfortable having more dropping distance. :)

Response moderated (Spam)
SmartAZ's avatar

TIP: If you like the idea of a Squatty Potty but resent the high price, get a wash pan from the auto parts store. It is quite durable and only costs a coupla bux.

If you haven’t heard of Squatty Potty, it’s here:

And here is the backstory:

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