Sunday, January 14, 2007

Plumbing Wars

Timeline -

About Six Months Ago: A small drip from my bathtub faucet begins.

About Three Months Ago: The small drip becomes a larger drip. I make a mental note to call a plumber.

About Two Months Ago: The larger drip becomes an even larger drip. I write myself a note to ask my cousin’s husband, a plumber, to come by and fix my problem.

About One Month Ago: Having lost the original note and procrastinated enough, I write myself a larger note. The larger drip is now a small flow.

One Week Ago: I see my cousin’s husband at a wedding, and ask him if he would look at my bathtub faucet. He says to call him next week.

Thursday, January 11, 2007: I decide to tackle the problem myself instead of calling a professional. I Google “bathtub faucet leak” and come up with some good websites.

Saturday, January 13, 2007
11:00 am – I go to Home Depot with my printed out instructions and look for tools. I buy $35.00 worth of tools.

Noon – I can’t complete Step One of the “easy to follow” instructions that I had printed out because I have no idea where the water shut off valve for the house is. After turning every potential knob in the house, I call my sister, the former owner of my house.

12:10 pm – Christine tells me that the water shut off valve is under a grate in the front lawn. She says that she has a special tool that will turn the valve off.

12:15 pm – I drive the half block to my sister’s house to pick up the tool. She tells me that the valve is very hard to turn.

12:20 pm – I discover she is right.

12:22 pm – I give up and take a break to smoke a cigarette.

12:25 pm – I think that loosening the valve will help. I don’t have anything that will potentially work except maybe vinegar. After putting on some gloves and pouring vinegar on the valve, I try again.

12:26 pm – The valve turns! The water is now shut off.

12:58 pm – After struggling with Step Two, I realize that all I have to do is turn the bathtub knobs for them to come off. I put the $35.00 worth of tools aside, unused.

1:27 pm – Figuring out that I need more tools for Step Three that I don’t have, Carlos and I go to the local hardware store.

1:40 pm – I put the $28.02 receipt in my pocket as we head back to my house.

1:47 pm – I realize that I didn’t buy one tool that I need to tackle Step Three. I decide that Step Three can be skipped, hoping that the problem can be fixed by changing out the O-rings – Step Two.

1:54 pm – Carlos gets into bed to take a nap, having watched me curse at the bathtub problem for long enough.

2:03 pm – I return to the local hardware store with a sample of the O-rings I need, buying four new ones.

2:10 pm – The O rings don’t seem to fit correctly so I force them in, breaking one of them. Since I need two for the hot water faucet and two for the cold, I don’t have any extras. I use one of the old O-rings. I reassemble the faucets.

2:28 pm – I turn the water to the house back on, hoping I have fixed the leak. Carlos monitors the bathtub.

2:29 pm – Carlos’s face reveals all: The leak is worse than before I started this project. I close the bathroom door so I don’t get more aggravated about the now heavily flowing water and call my cousin. She says that her husband is off fishing, but will call me in an hour.

11:00 pm – My cousin’s husband never calls. I go to sleep.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
12:30 pm – I go back to Home Depot, returning the $35.00 worth of unused tools. I buy an entire pack of O-rings.

1:15 pm – I undo all that I did yesterday.

1:30 pm – The instructions say that I need plumber’s grease. I didn’t see that at Home Depot so decide to use either olive oil or Pam. Testing both, Pam seems to work the best at lubricating the O-rings.

2:00 pm – I reassemble everything and hope for the best. I turn the water to the house back on.

2:02 pm – The water is flowing as much as earlier this morning, if not more. I call my sister to ask her which plumber she uses. I write myself a note to call the plumber in the morning.

2:03 pm – I cross off my personal To Do list the following: install new gutters, patch roof, paint house, and fix leak in front of house. Next time, I’ll call a professional first!


jason said...

Isn't that exactly how it is?

You end up buying a fortune in tools to "save money" and do it yourself.

But I did learn something today....vinegar on the water valve, eh?

nolageek said...