Sunday, 17 October 2010

Plumbing the depths of Recession - 1990's WC fix

Having graduated in the midst of what analysts are calling anything from recession to depression, I find it’s important to have a fully functioning loo on standby for the terrifying daily miasma of doom laden job market news. In a fearful state of limbo, I reasoned there was no better time to learn the inner mysteries of that oft used yet seldom contemplated household convenience, the commode.


This 1990’s example, in the familial pile, had developed a temperamental flush, taking more and more attempts to do anything. I wanted to sort it out before the inevitable complete failure, and subsequent loop of calling a plumber, staying in for a plumber, calling a plumber &c. A quick google search reveals a basic message: with the symptom above, you need to replace the ‘syphon’. For good measure, I replaced the ‘inlet valve’, which has nothing to do with this problem, as well.

From the offset, I’d like to apologise for inflicting upon you the vision of a convenience so searingly offensive to the eye. In fact, the entire bathroom suite is an interior designer’s death-shriek in bubblegum pink; this loo, a bidet, matching sinks, and a bathtub. To understand the events that led to such a horror finding it way into anyone’s home, I submit that the local council’s compulsory purchase - and demolition - of my infant mother’s home, back in the 1950’s, left a lasting scar on her psyche, her idea of a ‘dream house’ subsequently left in a state of child-like latency.

To begin at the end – this proved not to be as big a job as first appeared, even for a loo that was as badly positioned, awkwardly designed, and belligerently non-standard as this example. It took me - a total noob - a little over an hour, and replacement parts are very cheap (though I imagine you do get what you pay for). There’s nothing gross involved, no ‘waste’ is ever present in the section to be worked on.

  • a 9.5 inch toilet syphon from Homebase - £13.99 (there are far cheaper ones at Screwfix but they have pretty bad reviews)

  • a fresh ‘close coupling kit’ from Screwfix - £3.59 (all the internet guides say its good practise to fit a new seal after you disturb the old one).

I hadn’t been to Screwfix before. It’s an Argos-type arrangement, but with tools & parts in the catalogues instead of overpriced tat. Also, there are a lot more plaid shirts among the clientele.

Anyway, with the new parts to hand and the camera charged, it was time to make a start...

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