Damnit Jim, I’m a geek not a plumber!

I’m not a fixer-upper, I’m not a handy-man.

Damnit Jim, I’m a geek not a plumber

Recently, the old hacienda has gone through a few failures. I shouldn’t be surprised, the house is approaching 10 years old. This time, (as it seems in many cases), it came in pairs, as in, two toilets with problems.

The handle to flush the toilet became very difficult to operate, acting as though it was stuck. It got so bad, that we broke the little arm from the handle that lifts the flapper.

Me, the not-so-handy-man, went to Home Depot to get replacement parts. Well, being rather unschooled in plumbing matters, I purchased the wrong part to fix the problem. Out toilet handles are in the front of the bowl, and the handles I purchased were for side-mounts. Another trip to the store. Now, armed with the proper parts, I replaced the handles on the toilets. But, its still very difficult to actually flush the toilet. It seems the flapper seal has worn itself out.

Unbeknownst to me, the wife went and purchased a whole kit to replace the plumbing inside the toilet. Me? nah, I’ll just get the little flapper seal. Good plan; poor execution. Although I was able to easily replace the seals, they (once again) were the wrong part. The seal would leak just a little, therefore, every 5-minutes or so, the toilet would have to top itself off. In the middle of the night, this is much like the proverbial dripping faucet.

Well, now I’m a bit frustrated, after all, “happy-wife, happy-life”, and at this point she was not happy. So, I decide to install the kit she bought for the toilet. Easy enough, right? Yeah, this is me we’re talking about. Replacing the source-feed and float assembly was relatively easy. Replacing the flapper assembly, well, that was a whole new exercise in frustration and busted knuckles. Basically, you have to remove the tank from the base of the toilet. The bolts attaching the tank to the base have been sitting there for about 10 years, rusting. And I swear, getting tighter. But, with a lot of sweat and perseverance, I actually managed to get toilet #1 disassembled, new parts installed, and re-assembled in about 2 hours. (plumbers who may be reading this feel free to laugh, I’ll get you back when I fix your computer)

Determined not to have to replace the flapper on toilet #2, I decide to see if I can find an easier way. Once again, off to the parts store. This time, with a little more knowledge, I actually found the correct seal. This was an easy fix, and after a little while to get fitted and seated properly, toilet @2 no longer wastes water.

However. Now it seems the feed hose from the wall to the tank has a pretty good leak. Well, based on previous experience, I know what this problem means; I need to replace that little hose. It no longer makes a good seal.

Once again, off to the store.

This time, I know what I’m doing.. there’s that little hose I need. Grab it and back to finish this silly project that has humiliated me for way too long. Except….

The new hose apparently is not making a good seal either. There is still a pretty good leak happening. I guess I shouldn’t have bought that “easy” connector type. Should have stuck with what I knew. Luckily, the wife is already in town, and volunteers to pick up a new hose for me. That’ll save the 1-hour drive back and forth. Except….

When I went to install it, I started on what I consider to be the more difficult connection, the one on the faucet. When I went to attach it to the tank, I knew instantly that it was the wrong size. How did that happen? Who knew there were two sized for this little hose?  Back to the store.

I get the right hose this time, bring it back, install it with ease (hey, I’ve done this multiple times now).  But…. it still leaks!!!

I can’t believe it. By this time I am so frustrated with toilets I consider building an outhouse… and then reconsider.

At any rate, there is still water leaking from the tank where the source hose attaches. And no amount of tightening seems to make it stop. I don’t want to over-tighten, as I know that I could actually break the tank, and then I’d REALLY have a problem.  Luckily, there is another toilet repair kit in the garage. I’m starting t think that in all my attempts to get the leak to stop, I may have cracked the stand-pipe (I’m hoping this is the problem at this point). I replace the float assembly, (which is the easier of the two sections of the kit, see above) and re-attach the source hose again.

This time, I have achieved success!! No leaks, the tank stays full, and the handle works!

I’ll save the Air conditioner story for another post.

There must be some truth to this story on Lifehacker.


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