Skip to main content

Bog-Standard Testing

Bear with me, there is testing here but first we need to talk about my toilet. 

Yeah, my toilet. Its flush was getting weak and though I was pleased to have a preliminary diagnosis (siphon membrane) I wasn’t happy about the likely treatment. I’ve changed siphons before and it’s always taken me ages, with a lot of pieces to disassemble and reassemble. 

Worse, I have never managed to get all the bits refitted on my first attempt without a drip appearing somewhere. That’s usually how the second attempt goes too. Worse still, on this toilet all of the moving parts are hidden behind panels. How was I supposed to do anything with that?

But I know from past procrastination that I get nothing accomplished without starting, so I began by looking and feeling, wondering whether I’d need to apply some force to flex a sprung catch, undo a screw thread that hasn’t moved since Noah was a lad, or pull a stiff doodah out of a tight watchamacallit.  

I’ve learned over the years that it’s worth compromising between the desire for ingress and the risk of breaking something with misapplied effort. When I find myself reaching for a screwdriver to muscle open a joint that no screwdriver fits into, I try to remember to take a step back and decide consciously to go ahead, or not.

The vertical front panels on my toilet seemed likely to give better access than the horizontal button panel so I inspected them for signs of previous movement or fixings, but found nothing. Pushing and pulling didn’t yield anything either, and the screwdriver stayed firmly in the toolbox.

I moved on to the button panel. With a little light pressure I could tell the plate would open up somehow and eventually determined that it popped off if I slid it right and lifted, freeing four plastic catches holding it down and releasing a spring keeping it in place.

Now, with my big talk about siphons and leaks and all that, I may have sounded knowledgeable, but let me clear here: my mental model of this toilet was very flawed. I was expecting to see something mechanical under the buttons, like this:

Instead it looked pneumatic, with buttons pushing air down the tubes to what I still assumed was the siphon. (Spoiler: I was wrong about that too.)

I had a look inside the hole to see what access would be like (it was tight, duh!) and noted that the front panels were screwed on and I could remove them later if I wanted or needed to (good). The back of the plate had a maker’s name and some other details:

Decision point. Tinker a little, call a plumber, or see what I could find online for this kind of cistern setup? With no urgent requirement for a solution I decided to spend a few minutes gathering information. 

There was an email address in all the guff at the bottom right of the panel, at the domain Chuckling gently to myself about the rear-endedness of the URL for a toilet company, I ran into this:

Perhaps they had changed to a domain with less unintentional comedy potential? I backed off to a general web search and got a couple of hits on, a site I’d never heard of but which turns out to be some kind of company directory. 


The first hit gives up a postal address and a link apparently to Ideal Standard, a company that I know manufactures bathroom fittings. Click! Bingo!