Toilet tank flappers: The hidden shitstorm

The house we’re living in is a fixer upper, which actually had mostly cosmetic damage minus the plumbing and electrical work. The electrical bothers me the least because you can test it before you work on it. The plumbing bothers me the most since hydrostatic pressure is a funny thing and prone to cause explosions and all manner of horror.

Previously my father had been rolling around the haunted crawlspace and he managed to bang into the feed line for the house. The pipe came off the pipe hangers, dangled down and cause the water to start spraying around from the water meter. Brilliant.

More recently the toilets would top themselves off. This is actually fairly normal if you live in a dry environment so I Wasn’t terribly concerned but then the toilet actually flushed itself in the middle of he night. While slightly disturbing to go from leaking to flushing, it started to happen about once a day and this is where I got fed up with it.

Yeah I realize we’re talking about 10 cents worth of water here a day and a valve that costs $3 will take almost three years to pay for the repair. However when I attempted to clean the first toilet’s flapper, the rubber went to pieces in my hand. The other problem was the water around here before I put the filter in had a fair amount of sediment suspended in it. It still does, and you can see it in the clear plastic pipe I used to go to the filter. That sediment gets into the pipes, collects,  and causes things like the valve seat to get covered in grossness. It will eventually go away once you have a filter, but until it does the valves won’t work correctly. (For reference, the sediment buildup is marginal – it’s merely a weird black dust which used to come out of the spigot when I ran it in the morning and was cured by a 5 micron filter).

I ended up buying two universal valves from home depot. For reference there’s a cheaper valve which is a cone, but the cone has to be sized properly. It’s either small or large. You would think it would be impossible to screw up. You want the ball with the hole in the bottom so it gets sucked into the valve seat and pressed down by the pressure. Not only were the valves here in poor condition of their own, not only were the toilets filled with sediment, but the cone for the upstairs toilet was the wrong size.

Note that the first time you flush the ball flapper, it won’t work correctly. I’m not sure why this is, but it works much better after a few flushes. Part two is the stupid float, being the wrong valve, would mean the toilet upstairs never ran enough water to clean itself properly. That’s just grim.

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