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Flushed with success

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The title above is generally defined as, “Feeling excited and confident after a triumph or achievement.” Well, that ain’t applying to me this week.

As a woodworking handy guy, I have some decent Jack-of-all-trades experience with repair. That translates to one of two things: I can either figure out the problem and fix it, or I know just enough to make it worse. But sometimes, it’s just plain bad luck.

For example, my water bill’s been $10-$12 higher than normal lately. The usual culprit is a leaking toilet flush valve where you’ll typically hear your toilet tank suddenly refilling at regular intervals. Mine weren’t doing that, so I thought the problem was elsewhere. (Plus, my town raised water and sewer rates several months ago, so I wasn’t entirely sure that wasn’t the cause of the higher bill.)

Just to check, I put some food coloring in the tanks and sure enough, the bowl water changed color in one of them. It was obviously leaking at the “flapper” covering the tank drain opening, but wait – why was that tank never refilling? You can generally hear that from the next room. Turns out that not only did the flapper need replacement, but the refill valve was also a bit wonky. Instead of triggering refills at intervals I would have heard, it was slowly refilling at the same rate the flapper was leaking in perfect, silent balance.

So I took time out of the shop to buy replacements for both the flapper assembly and refill valve and install them. But it turned out that the refill valve unit I bought was defective, and wasn’t triggering the refill cycle every time. So two days later it’s more shop time to buy and replace the replacement refill valve with second replacement. (Which, fortunately, worked perfectly.)

While watching TV last night, the sound of a toilet refilling disrupted my viewing pleasure. I ignored it, figuring someone’s using it upstairs. An hour later, it happened again. Upon investigation it became apparent that although the most recent replacement refill valve is functioning properly, the replacement flapper is apparently defective. To make an already too-long story short, as soon as I finish this I’m off to the store yet again to get another flapper.

And for the third time this week I’ll find myself up to my elbows in the toilet instead of being up to my elbows in sawdust. I don’t think I need to tell you which I prefer.



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