February
3 - 2008

Fix your leaky toilet!

If any of you lie down each night for a restful sleep and doze off to the guilt-inducing sound of a leaking toilet, take my word for it: FIX IT! And fix it now.

Instructions always say you can tell a toilet is leaking by putting food coloring in the tank, waiting 15 minutes and seeing if any of the color has infiltrated the bowl.

At my house, I could tell the toilet was leaking by the dripping or almost running sound in the toilet, which went louder or softer depending on the hour. From our leaky laundry sink episode, I remembered that that faucet’s slow-but-steady drip was wasting around 8 gallons per day. Heaven only knows what the toilet’s been doing.
I peeked inside the tank and saw the water level was too high. The easy fix for that is to bend down the arm supporting the float ball, so the tank knows it’s done filling. When I tried that, the water started running nonstop in the toilet. Quickly, I re-bent the arm up until the running stopped, and then I high-tailed it to Home Depot (well, when I was in the area, so as not to waste gas, too).

The fix-your-toilet aisle had a mind-numbing array of options, and I realized I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with the toilet. From the float ball situation, I guessed it might have to do with that area, and from the running, I guessed the flapper might not be working well.  I thought about buying entirely new contents for the tank for $20, but I decided to gamble on the “fixes the two most common causes of leaky toilets” kit for $10.

So, Saturday evening (I do know how to have fun, don’t I?) I drained the tank and replaced its intestines.

Did I mention “Do it NOW!”? The entire project took me less than half an hour, and that included getting up and leaving the room twice in search of two supplies (scissors and a sponge) that I didn’t get in the first place, even though the instructions said that they, a bucket and a wrench would be all I’d need.  The instructions were very thorough. It was easy, even with zero toilet-fixing experience. Oh wait, I did adjust the flush chain on our old home’s toilet once, so make that extremely minimal toilet-fixing experience.

Now we have a fancy-schmancy ballcock flusher, a somewhat more powerful flush, and the beautiful sound of silence. Perhaps that’s why I slept like a log last night ….

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