Tuesday, 12 June 2007

YesBut remember Sod’s law of plumbing.

The horror photo on the left is the innards of a lavatory cistern. The over-flow from the cistern has been dripping for a couple of weeks, (I tell a lie, more like months and for the last month more of a dribble than a drip). But I’ve been procrastinating, I hate tackling plumbing repairs because they always go wrong.

But solving a dripping - OK dribbling - overflow is relatively simple:

  • Shut off the water supply
  • Remove the end cap on the valve
  • Remove the split pin
  • Remove the plunger
  • Change the rubber washer
  • Reassemble and turn the water on.

Simple, simple simple.

But, and there is always a but when it comes to plumbing, because we live in a “hard water” area, the valve was covered in hard limescale, which could prevent the removal of the cap. Soaked the whole thing with scale remover for a couple of days. Then picked up courage, armed with a Mole wrench I attacked the cap. Would you believe it, unscrewed without an effort. Joy of joy, this is one plumbing job which would be care free.

Went to turn off the water, but couldn’t shut the stop valve fully off - but that shouldn’t be a major headache. Went to pull out the split pin, and damn damn damn it broke. The limescale was welding the split pin rock hard into the valve.

There was no alternative but to remove all the gubbins (a good technical term!). Now the fact the water wasn’t tuned off completely became a pain in the butt!!. Because as soon as I unscrewed the gubbins from the supply pipe out flowed the water. Cry for help for Mrs YesBut to bring towels and bucket.

Left Mrs YesBut in-charge of catching the water while I got a hammer and nail to remove the broken split-pin. That done I removed the plunger, damn damn damn would you believe it, it needed a ¾” washer and the one I had was ½” diameter.

Changed my cloths and went to the plumber supply store. Bought a ¾” washer, it cost 10p (20 cents). Yes all this rigmarole over the replacement of a rubber disc costing 10 measly pence!!!!

Got back, Mrs YesBut doing a magnificent job collecting the water. Got everything reassembled in quick time and reinstalled. Figures crossed I turned on the water. Damn damn damn damn and double damn the connection between the gubbins and water supply was leaking - not much, one gentle drip every 10 seconds. Not only that, but damn damn damn, even with a new washer the ball valve wasn’t sealing. “To hell with it” decided to leave it over night to see if the dripping would stop.

It’s surprising how quickly a gentle dripping can fill a bucket!

Next day, still dripping. Decided the only thing to do was buy a new ball-valve gubbins. Back down to the plumbing store. One of those old stores which has little draws of washes, screws, pipe-fittings. Unlike the modern D.I.Y. supper stores which sell things in plastic bags - you have to buy a bag containing 6 screws when you only want one. In the little shop you can buy single items.

“Hello my friend, back again”
“The washer didn’t work, I need to buy a complete bottom feed ball valve”
“OK my friend” placing a plastic gubbins on the store counter.
“No, I want a brass valve”.
“Brass valve! The last time I sold a brass valve was to Noah when he built the Ark. Don’t make them any more”.
Bought the plastic gubbins. Got home had Mrs YesBut standing-by with bucket. Installed the plastic gubbins - great it worked. Damn damn damn, treble damn, it was dripping at the connection to the water supply pipe. Undid the connection, redid the connection, still leaking. Undid the connection again, redid the connection, still leaking. . .What a pain.

There was only one thing to do, apply the Plumbers Golden Rule - if at first you don’t succeed put a bucket under the drip and come back tomorrow.

Click here to see today’s image of the day.


Anonymous said...

Hi Yesbut,

long time no speak.

I remember it well. Repairing the cistern parts and the damn thing leaking (or getting an airlock in the water pipes).

Oh the old-fashioned hardware store, a rare beast nowadays. When I was a single mum with no cash to pay for repairmen, the local hardware store was a lifeline for me. They taught me a lot about DIY and I credit them for me being the competant DIYer I am today. Shame the shop closed down because of increasing overheads.


YesBut said...

Hi Meadow now I know where to come to get advice on plumbing.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Hmmm. Looks very much like the inside of ours. Daddy put a new handle on it at the weekend. It snapped off a little while ago. Uhm, about 5 weeks ago....

YesBut said...

I don’t want to be critical, but, I read Mammy has done something or Daddy has done something, but what do little bears do? Is their role in life to be supervisors?