Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rusty and leaky no more!

There's a wee bit of a drought going on California right now. For some time my toilet has been making a constant 'drip drip drip' noise throughout the night. Putting on my Sherlock Holmes cap, I deduced that this sound was most likely water. Finally I decided it was time to do something about this. I have to admit, I'd never tried any home repairs of the... aquatic variety. Luckily the internet is my friend and showed me the diagrams of toilets' inner workings. Did you know how many symptoms faulty toilets can have? They can leak from the tank to the floor, the bowl to the floor, the tank to the bowl, groan, whistle, hiss, gurgle, crack, sing Celine Dion songs... you name it. Luckily, there are very few parts, and a lot of different problems involve the same parts.

Based on a few tests that would make a Bayesian proud, I determined that my flapper was the problem and water was leaking from the tank into the bowl. No no, not my 1920's fringey dress. The flapper is the main mechanism that makes the water go-no go into the bowl. It's connected by a chain to the toilet handle. An old flapper often gets 'wavy' on the sides and doesn't sit fully onto the round thing. (I'm sorry, I can only use so many technical terms before I descend back into my stock descriptors.) You know those toilets where you have to hold down the handle for a long time? It's totally the flapper's fault. Constant dripping sound? Flapper. Too much OR too little water for the flush? Flapper flapper flapper.

Anyway, all toilet replacement parts are super cheap at the hardware store. I bought a replacement flapper w/base combo that installs on top of the old one. I turned off the water supply via turning the valve thing and disconnected the supply tube. I drained the tank of water, and scraped out the considerable amount of rust that had accumulated. I then used a hairdryer to fully dry the round thingy area. The replacement thing mounted right on top of the old thing. I also put in a few bottles of water to try to minimize the water in the tank for the environment and all that. Now it works like a charm. Toilets are really one of the easiest things in the world to repair. So if yours is at all annoying, don't be afraid to use the internetz for diagnosis and cheaply replace the faulty parts. Score one for DIY!

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