I have a humming noise in my water lines, caused by a vibration that results when the tank float valve in my toilet nears shut-off. Is there a way to fix it other than by replacing the float and shut-off valve assembly?
You don’t have to replace the entire valve. You need to replace the gasket within it. It’s an inexpensive repair. Turn off the water to the toilet and flush it. That will empty the tank. Next, remove the shut-off valve cover. How you do this will depend on the brand, however, most have four screws on top. Carefully remove the screw and then the top. Locate and remove the gasket and use the disassembly as a guide for replacement and reassembly. It is almost always easier to replace the entire unit. The humming is the ballcock assembly telling you it has a gasket that is almost completely worn out.
Jennifer asks: I think my house is haunted. I know I saw it in a Three Stooges movie once. My husband and I recently bought a 100-year-old home. In the process of painting the plaster-walled library we’re running into some bizarre paint problems. The walls were triple painted in a brush pattern — we think within the last 10 years. We bought flat paint and proceeded to apply two coats. After letting them dry we noticed dark stripes down the walls and the whole surface is crackling in 1/8th-inch sizes. We went to the hardware store where we bought the paint and explained our problem. We bought a new primer and primed the entire room. Now the primer is doing the same thing as the other coats — as is a small spot we test-painted over the primer. What can we do now?
We assume the three-color painting detail to which you refer is sponge or splatter paint. We make this assumption because the glaze that is used with sponge or splatter paint — once painted — will render the crackling effect you are experiencing. Now that you know the cause of the problem you need to eliminate it — the cause, that is. The problem will then go away. There are several ways to do this: You can sand, but that’s messy. You can use paint remover — even messier. Or, you can try to encapsulate the problem by painting it with a material that will not be affected by the existing glaze. This we think would be the easiest way to go. Try using a coat of oil-base primer. Do a 2-square-foot area. Water-base will not work. Once it’s sealed with the oil-base primer, any kind of finish coat can be used. If the oil-base primer doesnt work, you would probably be best off covering the walls with a quarter-inch-thick layer of gyp board.