les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Plumber extraordinaire

 I don't know what it is about plumbing. I'm not scared of electrics. You turn them off, do what you need and turn them on, and they very seldom do irreparable damage.

But plumbing. It's a NIGHTMARE!

Well a while ago we became aware of a tendency to drip from the out-pipes under the sink. I bought some PTFE tape with the intention of taking it all apart, cleaning all the joints and putting it all back together again with tape to help get a good seal.

But it's plumbing. One false move and there's dirty water down four floors of apartments.

Anyway one day the washing machine emptied all over the floor. I had to strike. We got a drain-cleaning-spring-thing (in French, a ferret (un furet) from a hardware store in the middle of town and I took everything apart before sending the ferret in all directions.

There came out a plug of nasty goo. I was glad. There was doubt that I had found the offending blockage.

Then to vaseline joints and reassemble. In the course of reassembly I noticed that one rubber washer was distorted, so I greased it and put it back in straight.

Hurrah! Plumbing victory!

Then the toilet played up.

We have two toilets. One in the large en-suite bathroom attached to our bedroom and the other in the hallway. Our toilet decided to fill without ceasing, so I took my courage in both hands and disassembled the filling mechanism.

Toilets always seem to have some part of the mechanism that I don't understand. We studied the syphon toilet flush in Physics, but these don't use that. They have some sort of clapper mechanism to flush.

To fill there's a float that slides up and down a filling pipe, but the water seems to magically and invisibly pass over the pipe from one side to the other. I cannot for the life of me see how it gets from the in-pipe to the inlet valve.

Anyway, let us pass on.

The inlet valve had a rubber membrane which seemed to have fissured, squirting water in all directions. I studied it and wondered if by simply turning it I might get it to squirt water downwards thus effecting a bodge.

I tried it. It worked. However the float no longer moved up and down.

The mechanism was encrusted with limescale. I sprayed limescale remover around. I sprayed vinegar around. I tried various manoeuvres. Essentially nothing worked.

Days passed.

Eventually it was a case of either try further drastic action or call a plumber. Calling a plumber means lots of vocabulary work before you can even pick up the phone, so I took my courage in both hands and looked at how to disassemble the filling mechanism. 

There was one screw that held it in. I turned off the water and removed the mechanism. Off to the kitchen sink to take everything apart, wash it in hot soapy water, make sure everything was smooth and slippery and put it all back together again.

"This'll never work", quoth I. 

But it did! And what's more it is now four days later and it's STILL working!

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