Fixing the Toilet

A group of ladies met at my house, and as time went on, a few needed to use the powder room. One reported to me that the toilet wouldn’t flush. I went to look, and it was filling extremely slowly. If I’d used a teaspoon, I could have filled it faster. The last person to use it managed to flush it.

I hate working on plumbing of any sort, but especially toilets. I put it off for 10 days, but then realized another friend was coming to stay and would need it to function correctly. I went to Lowe’s and found the needed replacement part. There were many choices, but I finally just picked one.

Once I returned home, I ignored it for another day, but decided I had better get this fixed. Upon opening the box, I found the most wonderful instructions. They left little to chance. There was a list of possible tools that would be needed, but those didn’t include a wrench, saw, or box knife. The step-by-step directions told me clearly which way to turn each thing, but the first washer defeated me. My hand-strength is not what it was. So, I found a wrench, and that worked.

Next, there was a locknut that needed loosening. When putting these things back, they say don’t tighten too much. Well, whoever tightened mine didn’t follow that instruction! These things are never in a convenient location, so after trying several positions with my wrench, and several yoga poses, I finally got it loose. I was panting heavily by this time, so took a brief break to regain my composure.

For some reason, they indicated having a bucket was optional. Even with a good sponge to get the water out of the tank, the bucket was not optional. Anyway, my next task was to twist the fill valve to the correct height. They had a picture to show me how to do that. There was also a drawing demonstrating where the tops of things should be. At that point, I realized that the overflow pipe was too high. In fact, it was so high; it was above the hole for the lever hole. The implications of that arrangement felt foreboding.

My next problem was, how do I shorten the overflow pipe? It is a very hard plastic. I couldn’t see how to remove it, but I needed to cut some of it off. That’s where the saw and the box cutter were needed.  The only saw I have is for cutting limbs off trees, so a bit big to use in the toilet tank. But, if nothing else, I am determined. I sawed and punched with the box cutter, but the wretched thing wouldn’t break off. I finally gripped it with the wrench and the top 2” broke away. It’s not neat, but it is the right height now.

The final steps were easy, and I only tightened the locknut and water supply connector to my hand-tight. When I turned on the water, there was no leak. I shouted “Hallelujah!” and cleared up my mess.

I wonder if I can use these instructions to correct some problems with my other toilet? I’ll wait a few days and see how desperate I feel about that.