Adventures in Home Repair

adventures in home repair

I am a firm believer in making my own luck.

Work hard and things will fall into place. Hard work begets more work and that’s a good thing because work builds character. Enough platitudes? Okay, here’s what happened.

I came into my bedroom the other day and the sound of running water floated from the bathroom. Not unusual since the toilet is in the bathroom and when the tank fills it makes that exact sound. So far, so normal.

But it kept going. And going. Cue the energizer bunny jokes. I ventured to investigate. After I lifted the lid on the tank, I discovered that the cylindrical valve that lets water into the toilet bowl when the lever is pushed to flush had come unmoored. It was not closing so water was simply flowing from the fill valve into the toilet bowl. I have helpfully attached pictures to illustrate.

It was a matter of moments to discover that the part that is supposed to secure the cylinder had broken. Because it was broken the cylinder would not stay seated against the part you can see there at the bottom. Since it would not stay seated the tank could not fill because all the water drained into the bowl.

You can see something has broken off the plastic tip

Hah! That should be simple enough to fix. Now, I have had enough experience trying to repair various and sundry minor malfunctions around the house to know that regardless of how small and obscure the project might be someone has made a YouTube video explaining, sometimes in painful detail, how to effect a repair.  But that would have been too easy. Instead of running immediately to the vast store of DIY trivia at my finger tips, I dismantled the toilet tank. Once I had done that, upon inspecting the underside of the tank, I noted that the black plastic piece in the tank’s center was threaded meaning it was screwed into the tank somehow. I deduced immediately that I should remove it from the tank. So, I took my trusty channel lock pliers and made the attempt.

the black plastic part is what that cylinder rested on to keep the water in the tank.

No luck.

Well, I can tackle that later. First, I thought I’d go to Home Depot and try to find a replacement part for that black plastic structure in the middle of the tank. At the store I discover, there are two different versions of the part one or a two inch hole and one for a three inch hole. I did not know what size I needed.

Now, at this point there is a discontinuity. From Home Depot I went to Lowes where I found the same two parts and there I remember seeing that the parts referenced a particular serial number for the toilet. At that point I called TLM and asked her to look for the serial number on the toilet tank. But why did I go to Lowes from Home Depot? What did I expect to find there? I do not recall and it makes no sense. This is a phenomenon I encounter often when I review my past actions. Why did I do something that turned out to be a disaster? I must have had a good reason (or at least some reason) at the time, but in hindsight I cannot remember. Anyway, I found out the serial number and nothing matched it at Lowes so, back home I went.

At this point I did what I should have done in the first place and consulted the interwebs whereupon I discovered that I merely had to replace the part with the yellow cap that sits in the center of the cylinder. Easy peasy. I had not seen that part by itself at Home Depot or Lowes so, Amazon it was.

The next day I had the part and put the toilet back together congratulating myself on another home repair done and dusted.

Then, that afternoon the filling valve on the toilet activated on its own. On inspection it seemed there was a leak from the tank into the toilet bowl. Well, I have learned my lesson at that point. I immediately consulted the internet and found out I likely had to replace a seal on the bottom of the cylinder. Nothing could be simpler. The part was at Home Depot It was a matter of an hour to run to the store and replace the seal.

I put everything back together and awarded myself more congratulations for a job well done.

Then, the filling valve on the toilet activated on its own again.

Now what? I removed the cylinder and examined the lip of the opening into the toilet bowl. This is what I found.

Channel Lock Pliers and plastic don't mix well

Yes, in my first attempt to remove that part with my trusty channel locks I had chewed up the nice smooth rim and destroyed the seal. Now I did need to replace the entire mechanism.

Back to the internet, find the part and order it. When it arrives, I dismantle the toilet and replace and reassemble everything. It works perfectly! I bring in TLM so she can congratulate me on my home repair skills and praise me for being such a good husband. She nods and says, “Thanks.” Not really the effusive accolades I was looking for, but at this point I’ll take whatever. She then nudges me and points to the sink. “What’s that?”

What Is that?

“Uh,” I say with my customary eloquence.

“How did we get a hole in our sink?

“Uh,” I double down on the smoothness.  Then it hits me. “Uh,” I say again to buy some time because now that I remember it, on one of the many occasions I had to remove the lid from the tank I had placed it on the counter.

There it is waiting its turn

A vivid recollection of backing into the lid and sending it into the sink flashed in my mind.

“What did you do, Kevin?”

“I, uh.” This is hard for me. “I, uh, knocked the tank lid into the sink. It must have made the hole.”

TLM raised her eyebrows. She tsked. “Looks like you have another project.”

Now I have a sink to fix. I wonder what new projects that will create?

Related Posts

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: