Sunday, April 20, 2008

Plumbing for dummies

I don’t know who designed hot water tanks, but they should have thought things through. Understandably, they didn’t want them blowing up all over town, so they put a pressure valve on the side in case of emergency. However, that valve goes no where except onto the floor.

As I was doing post vacation laundry the other day, thank goodness I was home or it would have been bye-bye cork floor, I opened the door to my laundry ‘room’ only to find about half an inch of very hot water on the floor. I quickly turned off all the water, threw towels down to prevent it from going under the flooring and helped the rest down the drain with a squeegee.

Satisfied that no more water was coming and with a bucket under the valve pipe, I headed out to teach my classes. Images of a huge plumbers bill floated in my head as did one of a fresh torrent of water occurring in my absence.

Mentioning my dilemma to my sister and one of my students, they said all I had to do was flip the little leaver at the end of the valve. Apparently this happens sometimes. Arriving home I found a dry floor and gave the valve end a flick. With crossed fingers, I turned the water on and all seemed well.

First thing next morning I went to Canadian Tire and bought 2 feet of tubing so I could extend the overflow pipe directly to the drain. For extra measure, I also built up a bead of caulking around the drain in case any errant water did not quite hit the mark.

Somewhat pleased with my self, I went to shower – yeah! But had no hot water – boo. In my turn-off haste, I had apparently flicked the heater off as well. I followed the instructions, got the heat back on and went about my day. I came back to get a load of laundry from the machine and hang out to dry, only to find more water on the floor! The idea of my caulking was good, but in reality did nothing. I did not quite get the force with which the water comes out!

Off once again went the water. I almost called the number of the plumber on the tank but thought “why bother? They did such a bang-up job putting it in!” Instead, I called my dad and told him what was happening. He calmly explained that one of two things was happening, one I could fix, the other, the gas man would have to come.

Following his instructions, I partially (and very nervously) drained the tank to below the level of the leaking apparatus, removed the (as it turns out) faulty valve and headed to the Home Depot. My plumbing wrench wasn’t big enough to do the job, but Pink Girl had one that worked like a charm. It is amazing what you can do with a big tool (hee hee).

Silicone tap in place, I screwed the new valve in place, turned on the water AND the heat and sat down to wait. As it turns out, option two was that the heater was not turning off, so new valve or not, once it got too hot, the tank would overflow. I listened tentatively and smiled when I heard the heater click off and saw no water on the floor. YEAH!

To put my mind truly at ease, I drilled a hole through the wall and into the garage and put the pipe extension there. This is where the overflow now goes. I would rather come home to a wet concrete floor than a floating cork one.

THANKS DAD!!!! Woot woot.


Blogger Blair said...

This is the butchest blog entry I have ever read! Such a man you are - or rather, your dad is. :)

8:10 PM  

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