harley hay

Harley Hay: DIY plumbing made easy

I hate to be a know-it-all but I occasionally like to pass along some valuable information and/or advice as a kind of helpful service to other folks who maybe facing similar challenges. Like the time not so long ago when I shared how to change out a ceiling fire alarm smoke detector thingy. OK, I’ll admit that ended in a bit of a disaster that may or may not have involved electrocution and a subsequent loss of electrical power to the entire house for a surprisingly long duration, so my follow-up bit of helpful advice is to avoid anything with wires. Especially the kind with electricity in them.

But today, let me ask you a question. Do you have a trickling commode? (Doesn’t everybody?) If you do, and you probably do, you’ve come to the right place.

We have a three big white bowls in the house (not all in the same room) and the one in the tiny ensuite was constantly gurgling and twiddling and ghost-flushing on its own, driving us nuts until it was either hire an average plumber with an hourly rate larger than a top criminal lawyer or talk the Better Half into fixing it. I finally decided (with the B.H.’s “encouragement”) to go with the third option: DIY.

Now, DIY can either stand for “Do It Yourself” or “Dumb Idea You Moron” but the fourth option was smash it to bits with a large hammer so the other day I found myself at the local hardware store where I purchased something called a “Compete Toilet Tank Repair Kit.” So far so good.

Step One: Using a razor knife, pliers, acetylene blow torch and a 24 inch crowbar, open the repair kit molded plastic package. Elapsed time: 45 minutes.

Step Two: Remove the toilet tank lid, peer in. Flush. Watch events occur in tank. Scratch head quizzically.

Three: Crawl onto sore knees and loosen plastic nut at bottom of tank. Watch water pour out onto floor.

Four: Shut off main water valve on the floor at the other end of the silver hose. Clean up flood. Time: 22 minutes.

Five: Read instructions. Empty water from tank, then remove several tall plastic bits from the tank. Crawl around on wet floor in small room, lay with feet in open shower door to remove two long rusty bolts from bottom of tank. Time: 38 minutes.

Six: Attempt to stand up. When eventually successful, apply ointment to sore knees. Fourteen minutes.

Seven: Lift heavy tank off bowl. Place horizontally on sink. Grunt and swear under breath. Clean up flood. Follow directions more or less and replace some tall plastic bits. Wrangle heavy, awkward tank back into position. Kneel (eight minutes) and thrash around on floor. Bolt tank in place, hook up various hoses. Wipe sweat from brow, attempt to stand up. Reach for acetaminophen. Time: 2.5 hours.

Eight: Place final large plastic tubular flush thingy into tank. Attempt to attach. Notice it does not fit. Repeat. Notice it fits even less than before. Repeat. Notice tank is leaking water onto floor. Resist smashing toilet into tiny bits with large hammer.

Nine: Clean up flood. Limp all… the… way… down to the dungeon office. Open YouTube Toilet Channel. Confirm it is, in fact, the completely wrong Toilet Repair Kit.

Ten: Turn out bathroom light and close door on scattered tools, wet towels, piles of plastic plumbing paraphernalia, and a dead toilet. Get adult beverage. Turn on TV. Resist screaming.

Next week: Part two.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Send him a column idea at harleyhay1@hotmail.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Airport CEO Graham Ingham has ambitious plans for the airport. (Advocate file photo).
Red Deer Regional Airport revenues climb in 2020

Bringing in more business is the 2021 goal, says director

City council will have to wait longer to hear back from administration on possible alternative sites — if the homeless shelter is moved from Red Deer downtown. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Alternative sites for homeless shelter will be explored by the City of Red Deer

Council gave administration more time to return with a report

Quentin Lee Strawberry was found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with stabbing death of Joseph Gallant in March 2019. (Photo from RCMP)
Updated: O’Chiese man found not guilty of 2019 stabbing death of Red Deer man

Quentin Strawberry found guilty of assaulting murdered man’s common-law partner

(Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer property tax bills are in the mail

Red Deer 2021 tax notices are on their way. Red Deer property… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Nils Hoglander (36) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during first-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Edmonton Oilers' Dominik Kahun (21) celebrates with teammate Connor McDavid (97) after scoring the third goal against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

Canada , left to right, lead Briane Meilleur, third Val Sweeting, skip Kerri Einarson, and second Shannon Birchard discuss strategy against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. Both of Canada's teams were shut out of the medals, marking the first time ever that Canada did not reach the podium at either the men's or women's worlds in the same season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Canada's Tyler Ardron, right, tries to block the kick by Italy's Callum Braley during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match in Fukuoka, western Japan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kyodo News via AP
Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

John Velazquez, right, rides Medina Spirit ahead of Florent Geroux aboard Mandaloun to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Darron Cummings
Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Canada forward Liam Millar (23) moves the ball past Bermuda defender Eusebio Blankendal (2) during the second half of a World Cup 2022 Group B qualifying soccer match Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Raoux
Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Most Read