Friday, October 19, 2007

My Broken Flapper

My toiket has been broken for about 2 years. There is very slow leak in the tank, so every 25 minutes or slow the water level drops about a quarter inch. That's just enough to trigger the valve to fill the tank, and it pumps a few ounces of water back in. Repeat. 24/7/365. Drove me crazy at night at tmes when I'd hear it turning on again.

I am not skilled around the house, but I finally decided to fix the damn thing. I went to Home Depot to buy one of those "toilet stopper thingees" which I learned is called a "flapper". I had no idea there were so many varieties of flapper, so I just picked the mose generic looking one I saw and bought it.

For the life of me I could not get the new flapper to work properly. It did keep a tight seal, but when it flushed it would raise up and then just get stuck in the air. Turns out I had the wrong flapper. It literally was an issue of a round peg in a square hole; the flapper holes were square and wouldn't spin on the round pegs. I guess other toilet systems mount the flapper on a square pivot arm or something. I felt uncomfortable trying to exchange a used toilet flapper, so I just bit the bullet (it only cost about 8 bucks) and went back to Home Depot. This time I brought my old flapper with me and found a matching model.

It surprises me how primitive and imprecise a flush toilet really is. There was just a series of hooks and a chain connecting the flush lever to the flapper, with no indication how taught the chain should be. I had to go back and forth trying to find the balance between getting a full flush, and letting the flapper fall freely back down to get a full seal.

It mostly works now. Every now and then I still have to jiggle the handle, but that can be next year's project. If anyone needs any plumbing work done let me know; now I'm an expert.

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