Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finding my inner "plumber goddess"

I am proud to say a little tiny plumber goddess resides in me. Who knew? I actually fixed a toilet problem all by myself!  Saturday night I went flush the toilet in the kids/guest bathroom and it wouldn't flush. A little searching on my part and I discovered that the "flapper" had worn out. The rubber part that connected the ball part that plugs the hole to the part that attaches to the tube thingy had just plain wore out and broke apart. It was too late to go to the store that night, but I hopped to it Sunday morning and went and got a new flapper.

But then I couldn't figure out how to get the old one detached from the little arms on the sides of the tube thingy. I didn't want to force it and break something, plus it was kind of dark in there (part of the bathroom counter goes across the top of the toilet blocking off some of the light) to see how it comes off.  The new one I bought had openings cut in the sides of the soft rubber to just slip over those little arms, but the old one that was on there had a harder rubber and wouldn't just slip off. I was afraid I'd break the little arms off, so decided to wait until DH got up for his assistance.  Well, I hit a big old brick wall with that idea. DH, being the pouty, petulant, man-child he is, decided since I wouldn't let him buy a $1000 wood chipper, that he's going to retaliate and not help with the repair.

So, I headed back into the bathroom and looked some more and figured out the flapper just snaps off the arms - there were openings underneath the flapper I couldn't see. Then I slipped the new one one and got the chain all adjusted and hooked on and tried to go.......the flapper would not stay open to allow for the flush. So, I googled the problem and it sounded like the chain, so I adjusted it a bit more but still no luck.  I left the project for awhile to stew about it.  Then Sunday night I googled some more and found an answer that might be my problem! The flapper I bought was a "universal" type - meaning it had 2 ways to attach to the tube thingy. Either the rubber ring slips on over it or the sides attach to the arms - BUT, not both. I had hooked it up using both and the rubber ring was getting in the way of the side attachments. So, I took it back off - cut off the ring part and put it back on.  It worked! I was doing a little happy dance at the toilet :-)

At the same time we discovered this we also noticed that the hot water knob in the tub/shower was dripping water. According to DD it had being doing this a few weeks, but she had not mentioned it. Of course DH's response was "call a plumber". So, today I have a handyman type of guy my mom has used at her place coming over to see if he can fix it.  Apparently he's very reasonably priced - only charges like $20 an hour and can fix most problems, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. If he can it will be nice to have someone like him to call for problems we can't (or DH won't) fix. Last time I needed a plumber (years ago) to fix a leaking drain in our shower, I called a plumbing company out of the phone book. They charged me $600 to fix it!


  1. Great job on figuring that one yourself. I'm so glad my dad is an all-around handy man, and I should learn some of those skills too. Some plumbers charge way too much.

  2. Well done on fixing your plumbing problem :) Luckily the spouse fixes all things plumbing over here and I must say, he has saved us thousands of bucks. I need to get a bit more clued in on how things work myself instead of relying on him all the time.

  3. It's always good to know something about plumbing, as its one of those skills that are often needed in taking care of a home. But there are some jobs that do need the skills of a professional to ensure that repairs are done right. Having said all that, you did a great job figuring out how to fix your flush! Congratulations on finding a trustworthy and reasonably-priced plumbing service too. -Darryl@Milani

  4. Great job on that flush repair. That flapper is usually one of the things that wears off in the flush system, aside from the handles themselves. It can be a hassle to fix sometimes, but with the proper tools and guide, you can easily replace them.

    Levi @ Capital Plumbing

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  6. Good for you! It's not everyday someone musters up enough courage to fix a plumbing issue all by herself. Heheh! And, even with all that hesitation, you still managed to pull yourself together and get the job done - successfully, if I might add. I hope the plumber you called did his job as well as you did! :)

    Evon Brow @ Athens Plumbing