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Monday, December 17, 2012

Home Repair, Plumbing Edition



Home ownership is a great thing, you can modify your home as desired, if the homeowner association allows it, paint walls and add personal touches. There is financial reward if you buy smart and pay down the mortgage, home ownership has many advantages. Home ownership has some down side, it locks you in place, restricting your mobility to easily relocate, at some point you will ask yourself if you own your home, or, does your home own you. The aspect of home ownership that has most troubled me is home repair. The more things you own, the more things you have that break.
Plumbing is one of my great weaknesses, whenever I start some small repair it slowly becomes a big repair. Yesterday I decided to deal with a water leak in my wife’s bath tub faucet. A faucet that has been in place for 15 years, first I strip the screw removing the handle, then the packing nut is corroded in place. The stem cartridge has merged into a solid part; removing it I break the stem. I carefully place all the broken parts in a baggie and then drive to the hardware store. From a large selection of choices I have to visually match new replacement parts to the broken stack of parts in the baggie. I make a selection, pay the bill and head back home, and it doesn’t fit. Live and learn, right? Now I have a clearer idea of what the part should look like and head back to the hardware store. This time I get help from a hardware store employee, recently hired away from McDonald's, between the two of us I find the, hopefully, correct plumbing items. After getting credit for the earlier parts, the package had been opened which the return lady was unhappy about, I clear the checkout and head for home, and it doesn’t fit. This has to be the correct valve stem, it matches in every respect, using a flash light I examine the dark hole the stem fits into, there is a rubber washer stuck at the bottom. I go to the garage and get a whole box of tools, return to the bath room and start cleaning the mounting area. Finally the new part fits; I install the packing nut and handle, then sit back with obvious satisfaction and recommend myself for a job well done. I go outside and turn the master water valve on, return to the bath room and water is spraying everywhere in great volumes, I quickly run back outside and shut off the master water valve. Return to the bathroom and disassemble all my work, carefully laying out all parts in order, I mentally walk through everything. A washer deep inside the housing had slipped out of place. Thirty minutes later I still do not have the washer securely in place, going online I discover that a special tool is required. Back to the hardware store, they don’t carry the special tool, back home to my garage and I make a special tool. My home made special tool works and four hours after starting this simple home repair I have all parts in place. This time I close the shower curtains to contain any possible water splash before going outside to turn the water on. Returning to the bath room the facet is blowing water at full volume. The faucet now turns the wrong direction, what was off is now on. Back outside and turn off the water again, disassemble the water faucet, hold up the stem and mentally rotate parts until I get the proper action. As I put parts back into the proper order I drop the porcelain handle, the porcelain handle breaks into dozens of pieces. Back to the hardware store for a new handle, by now I am on a first name basis with the ex-McDonald's employee, he sees his new job as a smart career move, a couple of more trips and we will be close friends, now we select a new faucet handle, he is a nice young man and very helpful. Returning to the bathroom I replace the faucet handle, everything works correctly with no leaks. Only six hours to fix this leak, I beam with the pride of a craftsman.
After all this time the water pipes had drained and the water faucet sputters between water and compressed air, but this will work itself out eventually, and I turn  my attention to other needs. One immediate need is fresh water for the dog’s water bowl. Taking her water bowl to the kitchen faucet I start the filling, water spurts and coughs and then a large air pocket arrives at the end of the kitchen faucet.  Air compresses, water can’t compress, when this compressed air is released at the faucet opening it is an explosion. This explosion blows the strainer off the end of the kitchen faucet. I figured out the physics after the fact, but I never anticipated this rather violent explosion. Back to the hardware store, and my new friend, to find repair parts for the kitchen faucet.
The hardware store had closed for the day, and I decided to quit for the day. The other shower has a small water leak now, the handles on my wife’s shower don’t match and the kitchen faucet needs a new strainer. It’s not that bad, the kitchen faucet works well if you turn in on slowly, the leak in the shower is only a few gallons per day and the wife’s shower just has a problem with optics.
My self-image as a mechanically talented, self reliant man is a little shaken; with good message framing and spin I can maintain the external image, but I guess that internally I will have to lie to myself, I am good with tools.  I know that perseverance eventually wins and by the end of this week all plumbing will be fixed.

19 comments:

Edward said...


No doubt these are really awesome and attractive post.

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Shower Enclosures Bronx said...

Agreed with Alex, these are some awesome posts. Keep us updated please!

-Bronx Shower Doors

Anonymous said...

John has problems when it comes to
plumbing but he is not as good as you are at expressing the problems.
When you are all done with your plumbing fixing, can you come and fix the leak behind our fridge?

Plumb Right Plumbing said...

Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the ensign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!

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Donna said...

The shower is still not working right -the wife

nutrendmedia said...

A decent collection of high quality plumbing and heating tools will always give you the edge, whether an amateur or professional plumber.

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plumbing repairs brisbane said...

Thanks for giving us information about this. I really admire your Blog. You are given such a grateful knowledge to us. I will consider all the facts, which you mentioned in the blog.

Unknown said...

From pier masters we have one thing to say all Homeowners and potential buyers should be aware of the effects of the weather changes on structures in Kansas. Freezing temperatures can lead to foundation problems in Kansas City which can require extensive repair costs if not properly handled.and if you really fallen in this types of problem our pier masters can easily solve this.

Paula said...

Wonderfully crisp and always interesting!

Darryl Iorio said...

It’s always nice to explore and learn something about plumbing repairs, Howard. It seems that you had an idea of what to do, but I still suggest seeking the service of professionals to get the job done easier. So how’s the plumbing now? I hope you were able to fix everything!

Darryl Lorio

Levi Eslinger said...

Plumbing might be a tedious job, but this is a good profession to consider. It doesn't require more than what can be studied and what can be self-taught, but a keen eye for detail is a must. It's a good factor that you know a lot of things when it comes to plumbing. I do hope for your great success!

Unknown said...

It sounds like a day of plumbing disaster! It already seems extremely tiring reading how you had to run to and from your home and the store! Good thing the employee was patient and helped you out all the way. I do hope everything finally worked out the following day!

Elia Lester

plumber strathfield said...

Hello, I was very inspired to discover this website. The explanation becoming that this is this sort of an useful submit. I needed to thank you for this insightful read of the subject.

Unknown said...

http://www.warrendaleblog.com/2007/08/home-repair-grants-for-seniors.htmle

Leona said...

Well it was quite amusing to read your efforts for fixing your wife’s bathroom leaking faucet and I am kind of you who feel difficulty in pluming work.
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Unknown said...




خدماتنا متميزة عن غيرنا في مجال التسريبات سربات المياه والعوزال وحل بطرق سليمة دون التدمير فعندنا في شركة ركن البيت افضل يوجد افضل الفنين الممتزين في مجال التسربات والكشف عنها بدون اي مشاكل من خلال الطاقم التي تم تدريبه في شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام فتعاملك معنا ستحصل علي خدمات متميزة

شركة كشف تسربات المياه بجدة
شركة كشف تسربات بجدة
شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض
شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض

شركة كشف تسربات بالدمام
شركة كشف تسربات بالرياض
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض
كشف تسربات المياه


fixington said...

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. Thank you for your clear information.

James Anthony said...

Thanks for the article. Plumbing companies should be able to provide you with the contact information on three to five customers who agreed to act as references. Residential plumbing services Arizona

Kevin Nelson said...

A professional plumber can save your bacon. A bad plumber can be your worst nightmare in terms of issues that keep coming back to bite you.