Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday Plumbing Adventures......

Gawd, I HATE doing plumbing stuff.

Every single stinking time I go to "fix" something, I find 5 other things that need work.

This started a week ago when my wife insisted I replace the fill valve in the bathroom toilet. Since the handle with the lever on it to lift the flapper was all loose and sloppy, I went and bought a new one.

Now, to my way of thinking, "If It Aint Broke, Don't Fix It!", and as far as I'm concerned, the fill valve wasn't broke.

It didn't run continuously, and shut off properly when the tank was full.

The only thing it did was make a slight noise while the water was filling the tank.

SO, I set out to replace the fill valve and tank lever last week, and cleared out the area around the toilet.

I go to close the water valve feeding the toilet (A "stop" in plumber-speak), and it starts leaking. It doesn't leak or even drip when it's all the way open, but start closing it, and water starts spraying out where the shaft comes out of the body. Even fully closed, it leaks.

So, I go out to shut off the water coming into the house, and find I can't turn the wheel on the valve.

The last time we shut off the main water valve was sometime back when we had a full-house water filtration and softener system installed by RainSoft. The guys that did the work were excellent, but they were also a lot stronger than me these days (hey...they were late 20's and I'm 64!), and they really cranked it open.

Fortunately I was able to close the main water valve once I busted it loose with my 12" Channel-Locks, and I left the kitchen faucet open to bleed of any residual pressure, as the shut-off valve doesn't really turn the water completely off.

OK, so I've got the water finally turned off, and take the top off the toilet tank so I can remove the old tank lever.

It was made of pot metal, and the nut holding the mechanism to the tank was completely corroded, and I could NOT bust it loose. As a side note, the new tank lever has a LEFT HAND thread on it, and if they're all made this way, then I was actually trying to tighten it, which explains why the only wrench I could get in there just rounded off the corners, making the nut now impossible to remove with a wrench.

I got my 12" Channel-Locks out again, when I realized I was going to have a bit of a problem getting them in there:

There's barely enough room to lift the tank top and get it off, and when the top is off, you have maybe 4" of clearance!

I can't even get my hands all the way into the tank to reach the flapper valve, which I had to do to get the chain, which had fallen to the bottom of the tank after I disconnected it from the lever.

And yes, the tank is not square on the toilet bowl assembly, but I'm NOT mentioning it to my wife, or she'll want that "fixed", too!

The people that remodeled the bathroom, and installed the counter top, should be dragged out and flogged for doing it the way they did. There's NO clearance in there to work on things unless you have arms like a 10-year old kid.

SO.......Since I couldn't get any wrenches or BIG pliers in there to twist the nut off, I decided to cut it off with my cordless Dremel tool, and a small cut-off wheel. I get my Dremel out, and find that BOTH batteries are dead.......I charged both batteries yesterday, and then today when I went to find the tooling for the Dremel, I couldn't find the box I put all the tooling into after I DROPPED the entire box last year, and spent two hours finding all the little bits and pieces that had scattered themselves all over the garage floor, and under the workbenches.

Off to Home Depot to get replacements for the stuff I misplaced, and will probably find tomorrow afternoon.....

Finally got the old handle cut off, and the new one installed, and then spent about 20 minutes getting the chain adjusted so that it lets the flapper valve completely close, but is long enough, and has enough travel, that it fully opens the valve to let the tank drain.

And that was just to replace the handle. I still haven't (and told my wife I will NOT) replaced the fill valve.

Gawd, I HATE plumbing repairs....


  1. I used to live a block from two hardware stores, and I recall one day I went to replace the drain in the kitchen sink that had begun to leak. Whomever worked on it last appeared to have tried to use as many pipe fittings as possible, and I ended up simplifying it considerably, but not before going to one or the other store no less than 6 times to finally get the right combination of parts. Good Grief. I found some good used ceramic sinks to replace the rusty metal ones in the bathroom. I procrastinated for about six months and finally called up an old friend who was a plumber. He did the job right, and it only cost about 2.5 hours in labor. Now I come to find out he just retired. I guess I'll have to ask him for a referral.

  2. We're pretty lucky in that the neighbor across the street is an old family friend, and a plumber.

    He's gotten me out of serious DIY problems of my own doing!

  3. Never rains but it pours, it seems. I've had too many projects that go like the one you described, and am hoping not to have any more in the near term. Good luck with the one you've got.

    1. Well, as I posted, the new handle/lever is on, and I'm not sure I can swap out the other parts without pulling the tank off.

      There's just NO WAY I'm going to be able to reach in there and get to the bottom of the tank.

      I had to hunt through the house to scratch up a wire coat hanger so I could fish out the chain between the flapper valve and the lever!

  4. I do understand you so much! I also hate all that plumbing stuff, as that is so dirty job(


Keep it civil, please....