GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkWhen The Directions Say "Do Not Over-Tighten"... Don't Believe It If There Is Liquid Involved
11:24:00 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : 3. Everything
Location : Nashua, NH

Inspired by Bruce's red door series...

Another good title for this post might be "Why Rich Isn't A Plumber".

I learned a very important lesson about plumbing about 15 years ago: never start a plumbing project at 11 PM on Sunday night, because when the only washer of the correct size that you have on hand goes down the drain, you can't replace it until morning, and therefore you can't turn the water supply for the house back on. I followed that lesson properly tonight. I started at 9 PM, and it's only Thursady. And Home Depot is open late. And unlike the shower that I was fixing 15 years ago, the toilets in the house have independent cutoff valves.

At approximately 10 PM, my voice could be heard shouting throughout the house, "Honey! I need towels! Now!" It's possible that I was heard throughout the neighborhood.

I've replaced the innards of a toilet tank several times over the past 20 or so years. Our downstairs toilet really, really needed it, and I promised my wife that I would get it done tonight. I followed the directions on the toilet tank replacement kit to the letter. Washers were replaced, and I even put them all in the correct place. The new fill and flush valves were all installed and properly adjusted so that the fill line would be well below the un-sealed hole where the flush-handle sticks through the tank And at every point where I was supposed to tighten a screw, the directions clearly said "Do not over-tighten. Tank may break," so I was very careful not to over-tighten anything. Very, very careful.

Too careful.

Needless to say, by the time I could turn off the water and flush the tank, there was a fairly sizeable puddle that had to be dealt with. And needless to say, once I disregarded the directions and over-tightened everything, and turned the water supply back on, everything was fine.

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Comments :v

1. Tim Brown09/23/2005 09:16:55 AM

Plumbing is evil.

A few years ago, I had to remove a toilet to extract a "flushed by a toddler" toothbrush. During reassembly, I inexplicably left out the large rubber gasket that goes between the tank and bowl. All was well, until the first test flush released around 5 gallons of water directly onto the floor.

2. Richard Schwartz09/23/2005 09:36:08 AM

Failing to over-tighten the nuts and bolts that hold the tank to the bowl (and therefore not putting sufficient compression on that same said washer) has a similar effect.

3. Carl09/23/2005 11:44:12 AM

For some reason I laughed out loud at this posting and comments. Love it.

4. Alan Bell09/26/2005 04:37:29 PM

last time I did some serious plumbing was redoing a sink that the plumber who installed it messed up. I had the pipes cut, the solder and blowtorch out, isolation valves half installed and generally bits all over the place, then I heard from downstairs "Alan, it's started! I am having contractions!". I am pleased to report that I did complete the job, and turned on the water with no leaks, prior to departing for the hospital.

5. Richard Schwartz09/26/2005 11:08:19 PM

Now there's a story that I'll never top!

6. Jamie Price09/29/2005 06:42:47 PM

Wow.. I hope I don't get a sudden plumbing project. My wife and I are going in tomorrow morning to deliver our third child.

I'm also, NOT a good plumber... God help me!

7. Stephen Soymonoff09/30/2005 07:37:22 AM

There's a "water's breaking" joke in there somewhere, but it's best left alone

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