Fai da te (do it yourself) in Italy,

Fai da te (do it yourself) in Italy,

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

WARNING – Handyman musings ahead.

Having been a homeowner in the U.S, for many years I quickly realized that if you need to call a handyman or plumber for everything in the house it really can quickly cost a bundle of money. A lot of things are relatively simple to do, especially in the era of YouTube. It seems that there is a video (in fact usually several) for just about everything. Well, maybe not for brain surgery (I HOPE not!). So I’m relatively handy around the house and brought a few basic tools with me, pliers, screwdrivers, etc.

So I came home around 8PM after being out of town for a couple of days and found that the water was running continuously in the toilet. I called Lorenzo (the son of the proprietor) who lives above me. He didn’t know what to do and the handyman, Carlo, was unavailable. But, ha, there’s a YouTube video for that. Most of the toilets here are different than the toilets in the U.S. in that the tank is within the wall rather than external. Since the walls are typically thicker than those in the U.S., this saves space, which is often at a premium here. Also it’s more aesthetically pleasing, always high on the list of values in Italy.

Typical household bathroom arrangment

It does however make fixing or adjusting things a lot more complicated. Rather than just lift lid off of the tank you have to do some disassembly and then reassembly. Given the circumstances I didn’t want to wait until the next day to fix this so I found the video and dived in.

Push here to flush, a little flush or a big one.

First you have to take off the visible part of the mechanism. Note that, as is common, there are two areas to press; one for a lighter flush, for , um, liquid waste and the larger one for things more solid. I find that you just simply push up on the cover and then pull it away from the wall. Success with step 1.

The outer cover removed

Then there two screws to extract to remove the next layer of covers.

The second layer of cover removed

Then finally swivel two lever kinds of things on either side in opposite direction and remove the 3rd layer of cover. And, voila, the innards of the patient are exposed.

Down to the guts of the matter, Not the water valve at the top.

So the problem is that here there’s a lot of calcium in the water and it gradually builds up deposits on various things including the float mechanism. This leads to friction which makes it stick so that the water never shuts off and overflows into the toilet – the same thing that happens in an american toilet but often for a different reason.

After turning off the water – you can see the black valve at the top – I just moved the lever up and down a bunch of times until it seemed to work smoothly. I tested it before reassembling everything and so far it works fine.

That little black lever needs to get pushed up to shut off the water.

I’m proud to be an engineer, well, former engineer but once an engineer (or whatever) always an engineer (or that whatever).

2 Responses to “Fai da te (do it yourself) in Italy,”

  1. Cynthia Salamy Says:

    It’s funny, my words exactly (to myself)…once an engineer, always an engineer.
    Good job!

  2. Joe Says:

    Well, it’s true. Well in your case it’s once a saleswoman always a saleswoman, right?


Leave a Reply