Plumbing skill +2 level up

I had a lot of things to do today. I started with the last three classes of my ethics topic on waste, from 8am. These were done by midday, and then I made myself some lunch before getting stuck into trying to fix our leaky toilet cistern.

After yesterday’s examination, I felt like I knew exactly what I had to do. But first I needed some tools. A spanner of the right size to start with. I thought I had a set of spanners down in the garage, and went searching for them, but after a few minutes I had run out of sensible places to look. Fortunately at that moment my neighbour entered the garage with his dog Luna (Scully’s best friend). He was taking her out to the park, but I intercepted and asked if he happened to have any spanners that I could borrow. He said he did, but then he spent several minutes looking for them and failed to find them too! But he didn’t manage to find a couple fo adjustable wrenches, which I said would do the job.

I took those inside and began disassembling the toilet, taking off the cistern cover, turning off the inlet tap, flushing to empty the cistern of water. Then I removed the outlet valve to give me room to work. I put some towels on the floor to absorb any remaining water that might spill out when I loosened the pipes. I unscrewed the locking nuts on either end of the short pipe connecting the tap to the inlet valve, and when that pipe popped out the remaining bit of water in the cistern spilled out onto the towels. Then I could loosen the locking nut and pull out the old inlet valve.

So far, so good. Now I inserted the new inlet valve, configured with the extendable pipe to set the water level to the desired depth. The locking nut went on, and then I inserted the connecting pipe and tightened up the locking nuts. It looked good. But when I turned the water back on, it sprayed everywhere out of the connection between the pipe and the inlet valve! Ugh.

I turned the tap back off and undid the locking nuts, and then realised that there was a problem. There was a nylon plug around the pipe, clearly designed to fit into the valve pipe to form a watertight fit. But the inlet pipe on the new valve wasn’t quite as long as the pipe on the old valve, so the nylon plug wasn’t in the right place – it was too low, leaving a gap that water could leak out of. Being a metal pipe, I didn’t have any way to modify its size.

I was ready to give up and call a plumber. I reported my failure to friends on our Discord chat, showing them the photos I took of the problem. One friend suggested I get a new flexible connecting pipe, pasting a product link for me. Now that looked like it should solve the problem! I quickly dashed out to the hardware store and bought a 225 mm flexible connecting pipe, costing just $4.

Back home, I replaced the solid metal pipe with the flexible one, connecting both ends and tightening the locking nuts. I turned the water back on… and the cistern started filling up, without any leaking! Woohoo! And as a bonus, the water level exactly reached the fill level mark before the inlet valve cut out, which fixed the original leaky cistern problem that instigated this entire job.

So, I think I levelled up another two times in plumbing skill today.

That took up much of the afternoon, and I didn’t have much time to anything else before cleaning up, showering, and getting changed for tonight’s image processing lecture at the university. After all that handyman work, I felt like spoiling myself with a dinner at a Thai restaurant. I loaded Google Maps, centred it on the university, and searched for “Thai restaurant”. Then I chose the top rated one out of the dozen or so hits within 3 blocks of the university. I went there and had a red curry chicken with rice, which was really nice. Good recommendation, Google reviewers!

And finally, back at home after the university course, I need to pack my bag for our trip tomorrow. We’re hoping to leave by 9am, so we can make lunch in Bathurst on the way.

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