Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

So Far, So Good

The toilet in the master bath having begun to leak, I turned off the valve last week, which meant we were now down to one toilet working out of the three in the house. I figured I'd really better do something about it before the third toilet decided to strike in sympathy.

I had a full assortment of parts, since I'd planned to use them on the downstairs toilet that turned out to be unrepairable without replacing the floor, so this was a good start. And having learned since I made a major mess repairing a toilet when Moonwulf was visiting one night many years ago, I turned off the water in the basement and opened a tap down there to drain the water out of the pipes before starting work. (My lack of plumbing prowess is now legendary. Ask Wulf. And like many legends, it tends to grow in the telling.)

I wrestled the over-the-tank cabinet out of the way, finished draining the tank, and went to work. Removing the old flush valve wasn't very difficult. But I'd also decided to replace the shut-off valve on the line and that was more entertaining.

You see, in my old house in Evanston, I had a threaded steel pipe coming out of the wall and I could just remove the old valve. Here, I grabbed the pipe wrench and turned the valve. And turned it, and turned it, and --

Well, nothing much was happening. Eventually, I decided to grab the valve with one wrench and the large nut with another and give it a good twist. The valve came loose and I discovered that I had a compression fitting around a copper pipe.

(Did I mention that this toilet is in a tiny alcove and I was on the floor, curled around the toilet bowl, doing everything with my left -- non-dominant -- hand?)

The problem was that the compression fitting didn't want to come off of the pipe. Ok, I thought. Maybe I could use the existing fitting. But I wanted some advice first, so I called my good buddy, Sam. Unfortunately, Bonnie answered the phone and told me that Sam was out buying bananas. I didn't ask why.

So I threaded the new brass adaptor into the existing steel nut and had Gretchen go down and turn on the water. I hadn't realized that Gretchen didn't know which valve actually controlled the water for the house. There was much entertainment as I waited for water and she turned off the outside faucet. *sigh*

I poked at the valve and decided it had a slow leak. Ok, turn off the water again, remove the adapter and see if I can force the compression fitting off. Eventually, I managed to yank it off of the pipe. Then I put on the new fitting and tightened it down. I was starting to attach the connecting line to the toilet when the phone rang. It was Sam, calling back.

I told him that I'd figured out how to get the compression fitting on and that I was starting to attach the rest of the plumbing to the tank.

"You have a shut-off valve on there now, right?"


"Turn on the water and make sure that it isn't leaking before you attach the rest of the parts."


"Yeah, I did that once. And I swore..."

"Got it."

So Gretchen went back to the basement and turned the water back on and I still had a slow leak from the valve. Grab the wrenches and tighten, tighten, tighten, and -- why, look! No leak!

It didn't take too much longer to put in the new float valve and get it connected to the intake line. I flushed, the tank filled properly. Life was good. I put the over-the-tank cabinet back in place.

And then I realized that the water level was set too high in the tank. *duh* So take the cabinet back out, reset the water level, check to make sure I'd gotten it right this time, and put the cabinet back.

Then I called Sam and thanked him.

"Hey, somebody ought to learn from my mistakes."
Tags: home, musings

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