In this Wednesday's edition of "what she bought", we give you a trip to the hardware store -- plus, while we're out, a brief visit to a print shop. And as a bonus, we bring you a toilet repair tutorial!
|The SPDM at the print shop.|
I think the Grumpies put a curse on me in the comments of one of their recent posts when they told someone "I think Miser Mom has a tutorial on fixing toilets". I didn't actually have one, although a year ago I had written that my husband and sons found it surprisingly easy to replace the flapper valves. Then, this past summer, the hinges on my toilet seats gave way. The Toilet Curse struck yet again last Thursday as I prepared for the annual winter math meetings: the toilet started running constantly. These toilets! Although they are low flow (which is the positive, eco-reason we bought them), I am less and less impressed with their movable hardware.
|The thing on the left has an arm that goes up and down with the float.|
In a toilet that works, when the arm is up, the water stops flowing.
The open pipe in the middle should stick out a bit above the water (but here, it doesn't).
This time, the problem wasn't a bad-fitting flapper valve; instead, the long stem piece with the arm that goes up-and-down (you can see it I really know my plumbing terminology) didn't shut the water off even when the floater had lifted the arm up. Hence, trip to the hardware store and nearby print store, where I spent a grand total of $63.44: $34.34 on printing family letters, $20-ish on a new smoke detector to replace one that wigged out a few weeks ago, and $7.48 on the stem-arm-thingie.
From here, it's just a simple matter of following the directions, which actually are straightforward and well illustrated. I love plumbing instructions!
|There are even more detailed directions inside the box.|
Okay, except that nothing is ever PERFECTLY simple when it comes to plumbing repair. In the case of a . . . what's it called? Oh yeah, in the case of a toilet fill valve, the hard part for me was getting off the old one. The difficulty is partly geometry: there's a "locknut" down under the toilet that holds the valve on, and it's hard to see it, and it's hard to reach it.
|The nut that holds that stem in place isn't easy to see or to reach.|
|Once I grabbed the stem with the vise grips, it cracked. |
No going back now: onward to install the new valve!
Taking off that danged white locknut took about 45 minutes, about 40 of which I futzed about by myself. Then my husband came by to help. With my husband using the vise grips to hold the valve still, and with me using pliers and a bit of elbow grease to turn the nut, we got the nut the rest of the way off in only 5 more minutes. So the moral of that story is: big pliers, a vise grip, and two people.
From there, it really only took less than 10 minutes to finish the job -- and that included cleaning up the mess. And I could tell you how I did it, but the directions are in the box and they're really easy to read, and better than anything I could write.