i noticed it when i woke up briefly in the early morning to use the bathroom. the toilet was completely silent after i flushed it. normally there's a loud hissing sound as the tank gets refilled but i heard nothing. too early to do anything about it, i went back to bed. when i woke up proper hours later, i opened up the tank to investigate. after a flush, the tank was nearly empty, filling up at just a trickle. something was wrong with the fill valve.
the one that i have is the hydroclean 660, which i installed back in 2009 when my previous fill valve broke. it features an extensible tube that snakes around the bottom edge of the tank, squirting out jets of water to churn any accumulated debris on the bottom to keep the tank clean. at first i thought maybe there was a blockage in the j-tube. it took some effort to remove (after all these years the rubber tubing has hardened) but once i did, i noticed that the inflow was still weak.
GC was already finished with the bathroom. before he left for work, he casually mentioned that he shattered one of my glass tumblers. i use to have a bunch of those, but they're delicate and prone to breaking if you're not careful. this particular tumbler was GC's dedicated drinking cup, which he always left on the countertop and never washed so it was covered in fingerprints. this tumbler, plus the crack in my 1950's ceramic bowl, and him almost losing the drainage cup attachment on my rice cooker, i just hope he doesn't destroy anything else before he leaves.
i continued working on the toilet. toilets aren't difficult o repair, there are only so many parts, all of which can be easily replaced. i'm hoping in my lifetime someday i can replace an entire toilet, because even that doesn't seem very difficult. anyway, i began draining the tank, using a sponge to soak up the remaining water. i unscrewed the water inlet connector, figuring there might be a blockage there. but when i turned the water back on and drained it into a bowl, the pressure seemed fine. which meant the fill valve column itself was the problem. i shouldn't be surprised: early last year i was already noticing the fill valve acting weird.
i removed the fill valve and inspected it in the sink. nothing seemed to be blocked from what i can gather, but the whole unit seems to be built in a way that doesn't allow easy disassembly. besides, a new valve only costs $10, so it wasn't worth trying to fix. i put the valve back into the tank and reassembled everything. the flow was still a trickle, but i pumped the valve a few times and got the flow rate to increase to the point where it was splashing water out of the tank, but after that it went back to just a trickle.
i left the house at 10:30am and rode the motorcycle to the somerville home depot. that turned out to be a mistake. going to HD was easy; coming back turned out to be a congestion nightmare. it only took me a few minutes to find the replacement fill valve ($10) and check out with self-pay. that stretch of grand union boulevard (formerly ikea way) that goes beneath I-93 is a nightmare. the lights change too quickly, cars are making left and right turns, and the exit 29 offramp loads into this area as well. i must've spent 20 minutes just sitting there, inching my way forward. once i passed that, there was traffic in union square due to the ongoing GLX project, so inbound there's only one lane of traffic as cars get caught in the intersection when the lights change, creating further congestion. in the future: avoid this area at all cost! i finally got home an hour later, in what should've taken me half an hour.
for the most part, the new and old hydroclean 660 looked the same. the only real difference was the j-tube. in the new version, it wasn't extensible anymore. the modified instructions said you could cut it to length, but the end of the tube has a special cutaway to attach to the file valve column, so i'm not sure where you could shorten the tubing. after installing the new hydroclean, i took it out again to swap out the j-tube and the overflow tube (the new one is too long, the older one is just the right length). the toilet now worked just like before, with that familiar hissing noise of the tank refilling.
the rest of the day i stayed indoors. at some point i stepped on a piece of glass. it was only a small piece, but those are the worst because they're the hardest to remove. with my poor eyesight and the glass at a weird angle on the bottom of my foot, it was difficult to see. i finally managed to pull it out with some tweezers, but it still hurts when i walk on it, so maybe there's still a little bit of glass. it doesn't hurt however when i pressed down on the spot, which suggests the pain is from the small fissure itself. thanks GC! break my glassware, give me a glass splinter!
since i was on a watery kick today, i decided to clean the aquarium as well. the last time i cleaned was back in mid-june, so it's been almost 2 months, long overdue. the filter's so gunked up the circulation is on the slow side, giving the algae a good environment to blossom combined with the summer heat. algae is only forming on the glass though, and not on the live plants, which means it's easier to clean. if i did more frequent water changes there wouldn't be so much algae. i also changed the activated carbon. my java ferns are growing, but slowly. far better than what it was like before i added the fish, when everything was covered in algae. how can i get these ferns to grow faster?
the yogurt i had for lunch wasn't enough, as i ended up heating some pizza rolls in the late afternoon. GC told me he was going to play badminton after work so i expected him to return late. for dinner, i heated up a brick of stouffer's lasagna. there's still enough frozen and canned food in the house to last me a week without needing to visit the supermarket. GC came home around 9pm. unlike last time, they didn't grab dinner afterwards, and he cooked up some frozen dumplings for dinner.