Toilet Innards

By | August 28, 2014

Give me a computer and I can do anything, anytime. I don’t mean just surfing the web and enjoying social media. I don’t mean finding the most obscure article in the world that I must read this minute. I can fix a computer, upgrade software and memory, and much more. I can design a website and imbed streaming video and links. Some call this handy, but not in the usual sense.

Handy describes my best friend Warren, but one day he met his match. My toilet was running for hours on end, no doubt wasting tons of water, and causing me significant irritation. I called him and within minutes there he was with a plumbing kit in hand. You can buy them in any hardware store. Just match the right size and style for your unit. If they make do-it-yourself packages, it must not require a plumbing apprenticeship to use.

He got a good set of replacement parts and started plugging away at the task, humming happily. The instructions were daunting to me: all those diagrams and pictures of teeny little parts. He got it, however, and the toilet was back to normal. Or so we thought! It flushed just fine. However, on the floor next to the base, a bit hidden from view, was a little circular thing with a hole in it—not ½ inch wide.

Oh no, I thought. He will have to start over and take the whole thing apart first. An easy fix has turned into a nightmare. I really needed to use the toilet but was afraid to try. I didn’t want to be mopping the floor all afternoon.

A week later:

Time passed and I was flushing away. In fact, the replacement parts seem to have improved the toilet – it’s now the best flushing toilet  ever! No flood; no ark is needed. The household pets are safe. The thing works without the washer, or whatever it was. Maybe they put in extra parts for fun, or to test newbies. Like the crazy guy in the Chinese fortune cookie factory who wrote, “help get me out of here” instead of nice words, there must be a nut in the plumbing parts factory who gets off on adding pieces to every kit just to fool people like me and Warren.

By now, I had tossed the mystery part into the trash. It was a kind of challenge. Putting toilet innards together (literally a ballcock assembly, float arm and ball, bowl refill and overflow tube, trip lever, flush valve seal, lift wire, and tank ball) is a puzzle of a unique kind. With all those parts, I can’t fault Warren one bit. He did pretty well, even if I did expect more from him as usual.

In any case, it was a cheap fix and I would have him do it again in a pinch. You know what a plumber charges just to walk in the door! I would advise you to lay the parts out and even assemble them on a trial basis before installing. Otherwise, you might end up with more than a washer to spare.