Tuesday 28 September 2021

My cistern runneth over

A test of endurance

We had a technique for flushing the toilet and you could not have two consecutive flushes in the space of 10 minutes of each flush, one had become accustomed to that. When going away, I completely shut off the water mains because the cistern did overflow even after it was obvious that no water was being fed into the cistern. All it took was about 3 days for the floor to flood.

Whatever adjustments I tried to make to the ballcock valve mechanism only seemed a temporary fix and it never got better. This weekend, it came to a head, as the cistern was leaking within an hour of the last flush. Then when at home, you don’t want to close off the water mains as it is needed for the kitchen, the dishwasher and the washing machine, amongst other things, it had become inconvenient.

Calling the toilet doctor

We have a website to log issues with the letting agent that arranges for a workman to visit and fix things. My call went out just after midnight in the transition from Sunday to Monday and by 10:00 AM I had a response that I will be contacted by a service engineer. The report was detailed with photographs along with the suggestion to have the ballcock valve mechanism changed and a stopcock or isolating valve on the pipe feeding the cistern.

When the engineer/plumber arrived, he had made assumptions, a jiggle here and there, he concluded everything was fine and I was not convinced. Within 30 minutes of his departure, the floor was wet and the bathroom rug was soaking wet. He was not available on the phone so I updated my incident report with new photographs of the high-water mark in the cistern extended by about 15 millimetres.

Back on a goose chase

At least, one thing I learnt when he was here was that there was already an isolating valve on the pipe feeding the cistern that could be operated with a flat screwdriver. I flushed the toilet; had it fill up and activated the isolating valve in anticipation of his next visit. That did not happen until I called the letting agent this morning the plumber offered to arrive in 30 minutes with a new fitting.

The fitting after about 45 minutes did not fit, so, he put the old contraption back together and indicated he needed to get another suitable part. He was away for about an hour before returning with a new part and I left him to his devices to do what needed doing. Some 30 minutes later, he called out to say he was done whilst I was on a conference call.

Just try to listen first

Like I suggested at the onset the ballcock valve mechanism was fully replaced and I now know of the isolating valve. Whilst I am no plumber, he could have had a look at what I reported and be prepared for all eventualities rather than end up visiting thrice for over 2 hours of work.

To think the ballcock mechanism was replaced just 4 years ago, you do wonder about the durability of the water cistern system or the quality of the workmanship that fix it that last time. The fixtures seemed to be on worn or misaligned screw threads. I withhold comment on the quality and just look forward to the peace of an easy toilet flush without any expert holds whilst being barred from doing the simple things.

The second photograph with symptoms - the isolating valve is just above the indicator for a stopcock.

After the first visit, the high water mark in the cistern was exceeded by 15 mm.

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