Tuesday, February 9, 2021

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 asseur.com. 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 cylex-uk.co.uk, 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!