Fixing a water leak quickly is an absolute necessity. I had this reminder really drilled home with a handyman emergency call I received yesterday. A loyal customer who has me do general maintenance and seasonal work gave me a frantic call to fix her toilet.

“What’s the problem”? I asked.

“My husband just fell over on the toilet!” she exclaimed. Her husband, a tall thin man always seen with a smile, suffers from Alzheimer.

Confused I asked “Is he OK, do you need me to help pick him up?” I thought it strange that she would call me and not an ambulance or family member. Either way I was ready to help in any way I could including stopping by and lifting the poor guy off the floor if necessary.

“No, no, he’s fine but the toilet fell clean over with him on it and it’s spraying water all over the place.” she explained.

My concern for her current predicament was interlaced with this almost comedic picture I envisioned.  I gave a brief description of how to  turn off the supply line valve to stop the water from spraying the walls and told her I would be there as soon as possible.

When I arrived at the home the water had been cleaned up and I took a look at the damage. The toilet was intact and not the direct cause off the problem. As I was assessing the needed repair she explained that the toilet had started rocking a little bit a couple of months ago and got worse over the last week.

“Why didn’t you call me?” I ask.

“Well, I knew you would be out in a couple of weeks for the sprinklers and gutters and I figured you could look at it then.”

About this time her husband comes over and introduces himself. I have gotten use to greeting him at least a couple times during a visit. I understand and feel for his condition, that aside his lighthearted optimism and smile is infectious.  His only comment after our greeting was “I’m all wet.”

I return to my work and discover that the cause of the problem is that a leak in the wax gasket on the toilet had caused the floor to swell and lift. As it lifted the leak got worse and caused the wood to swell even more.

I set about repairing the problem and she set about caring for her husband.

A short time later I asked her to inspect and test the reset fixture. “Better than new” she says. Always ready with a compliment this one. “Let me get you a check.”

We sit at the dining table as she writes a check and her husband is intently fixed on the local news on TV in the next room.

“If you have any trouble at all call me right away.” I remind her.

As I’m walking to the front door her husband asks her. “What’s he doing?”

“He fixed the toilet.”

“It’s broke?”

“Don’t you remember, you fell over on the toilet and got all wet?”

“I did?” he asks

“You don’t remember?” she asks.

“I’d like to have seen that.” he says as I close the door smiling…

It’s fortunate that this situation did not turn out worse. And it is a good reminder that water in any volume, whether flood or small drip can have disastrous results. Fix those pesky leaks before something unexpected and possibly dangerous occurs