Sunday, December 9, 2012

Unwelcome Repairs, Part I

I recently wrote about our first major repair on Sea Gem, replacing the hot water heater, and that the repair went about as well as we could have hoped for.  We have been lucky with maintenance on Sea Gem, as very few things have broken in the past 16 months.  There have, of course, been the usual, routine maintenance tasks here and there--dead light bulbs, oil changes, etc.  These tasks are rarely cause for worry, but this weekend brought two maintenance tasks that, while predictable, are nonetheless unwelcome.

First up is replacing a failed "ball-valve seal" in our toilet.  Over the past week or so, the vacuum pump for our toilet has been running at odd times due to an air leak in the toilet bowl.  Basically, the toilet works by sucking everything in the bowl out with a vacuum pump.  When you flush the toilet, you break the vacuum seal, and everything inside instantly disappears (just like an airplane toilet).  When you release the flush lever, the toilet seals and the vacuum stops.  Recently, the toilet seal has begun to fail, causing the water in the bowl to slowly leak out, and once the bowl is empty, there is no longer an airtight seal, and the vacuum pump turns on.

Our toilet manual says that the seals need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.  And 3 to 5 years happened to fall on today, unfortunately.  As it turns out, disassembling the toilet and replacing the seal was relatively easy.  It was not, however, clean or enjoyable.  Here is the old seal, properly disposed of in the trash can:

Tired Ball-Valve Seal
At least that maintenance task is over with, at least for the next three to five years.

Stay tuned for part II...

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