Monday, November 24, 2014

Repairing the Flush Mechanism in Back Bathroom

The back bathroom has an American Standard Champion toilet, and my daughter said she thought it was still running after it flushed.  This is symptomatic of a bad shut-off valve in the flushing mechanism.  I could not hear it running, but after flushing, the water level should be about an inch below the top of the overflow tube, as it was.

 If we wait a day after the last flush, we can see that the water level has crept up to the top of the overflow tube, which indicates that the valve is not completely stopping the flow of incoming water.   Time to get a new valve.

Checking the installation instructions for the toilet they describe the valve as a Fluidmaster 400A.  Checking the internet, this is still a common device; we bought ours at Home Depot.

The box contains the flush mechanism, plus instructions.

First we turn off the water supply at the cut-off below the tank.

We empty the tank, by flushing, then using a plastic cup to bail what remains, until finally using a sponge to get the rest.  Then we can remove the old mechanism.

We put the new valve in place, and attach it by a plastic nut on the outside bottom of the tank.

 Attach the water supply line.

And turn the water back on to fill the tank.

Check that it is full to the right level.  Check that there are no leaks at the bottom of the tank.  And we are done.  This took about an hour.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Washing the Windows

Linda said that the windows were looking dirty, and since I had been thinking the same, it seemed like a good time to clean them.

At least some of the issue seemed to be with the screens.  I think that the dirt in the air first goes thru the screens and some of it stays on the screens.  To help clean the screens, I used a bottle of Windex Outdoor Glass Cleaner.  This product attaches to the hose.  First you rinse the window with clear water, then add the soap solution, then rinse it off with clear water again.  Since this is done from the outside (with the windows all closed), the screens get washed off too.

It took one bottle and 1.5 hours to wash all the windows this way.

Then I washed each of the windows, outside first, then inside, using a bottle of Windex (or a generic equivalent) and a squeegee.  This took another 5 hours, over two days, for all the windows.

The hardest window to clean was the second story fixed window in the computer room.

This window seems to have water spots on the outside that will not wash off.  Maybe the result of hard water or acid rain.

Monday, November 3, 2014


After Jita died, Kathryn got two new cats (kittens).  One of these, Inari, developed cancer of the lymph nodes (large lymphocyte lymphoma).  So she joined Pepper and Jita in Zone 2.

We don't expect this to be a common occurrence, but it does raise the question of how we would bury a pet once all the irrigation and landscaping is in place.

The slightly raised area where Inari is should settle over time.