Jan 30, 2013


As I’m thinking of ideas for this blog, I had the notion to write a series of DIY posts for all the random repairs my house will require. Enlisting the help of friends, and 1961 Popular Mechanics Home Handyman Encyclopedia & Guides, I hope to lessen the cost of home ownership. So settle in, my faithful readers, as I regale you with tall tales of what happens when a guy who really has no idea what he's doing attempts to fix vintage tech.

Let us begin with the adventure that is toilet repair.  I have three toilets, two of which require attention. I chose to start with my half-bath in the front of the house, which is accessed via a small odd room I can only think to call the powder room. 

The half-bath besides being my homes' all important pink bathroom, is the closest toilet to my TV and God forbid I have to walk to the far side of the house during a movie. While reading about my DIY projects you will notice a common theme interwoven through all of them:  What should be an easy fix is always anything but.

Step one with toilet repair is shutting the water off. Of course, the water shut off valve is stuck open. Normal DIY enthusiasts would grumble and go to the hardware store for a new valve. Not me, I exist on a higher plane of wacky ingenuity. After my trusty PB Blaster failed to loosen the mineral crusted valve, I had the bright idea to rubber band the float in place so the toilet thought the tank was full. Once the water had drained and I was certain no more would be returning, I took out the at least 30 year old rubber flapper which in this case is really more of a ball on a stick. By the way, as some one who has never fixed a toilet before I didn't realize this was an antiquated system until I went on a desperate quest to find a replacement. 

With the moldy old ball stopper out I could see chunky build up from the horrible blue urinal cakes it had been tortured with. Never use those, they really mess things up. I sanded the blue barnacles off the brass flush valve and installed the new ball. Upon releasing the rubber band, water jetted into the tank filling it to the suggested water line. I retired to the sitting room and impatiently waited to see if it would start running. Just as I started to pat myself on the back for a job well done I heard the distant tell-tale sound of water rushing to fill a leaky tank. My only guess is the gasket below the flush valve is leaking. The next step is to replace it and add one of the fancy dual flush systems while I’m at it. For now though the score stands at Robert Zero, Toilet One.

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