How to flood a bathroom

In regular Rocky & Bullwinkle fashion, I present to you…..

How to Flood Your Bathroom,
or, Home Upgrades: The Plumping Department

“So the drippy faucet”, I thought to myself at 7 am this morning as
I can’t go back to sleep for my alarm to faithfully awaken me at 8, “has
finally gotten to me.”

You see, being that I don’t pay the water bull (HOA covered) I hadn’t
been too concerned with it. Putting cost into something that’s not costing
me anything is well.. heh, throwing money down the drain, literally.

But as the faucet had gradually this past week turned from dripping
into a stream of wet chaoticness, I decided it was time to take it apart
and find out what I needed to fix. An old rubber washer, perhaps?

I go under my bathroom sink at around 7:10 this morning, knowing I should
be in bed for at least another 45 minutes, turn off the cold water valve,
and the water stops. “Great!” I said to myself, “now if I’ll never need
cold bathroom water again my troubles are over!” Alas, not so much. That’s
a horrible solution to this problem, as you have likely already noticed.
I take apart the cold water side handle, and figure out what it is I’ll
need to replace. A trip to Walmart, most likely, during lunch today to
see if they carry washers or some such. And while I’m here with one handle
off, I may as well pop off the other handle and replace those too.. they’re
likely original faucet handles from 25 or so years ago, when this condo
complex was built. They’re not as crystal clear as they used to be, although
the normal passerby (as if I have many people stopping by to use my rest
room) wouldn’t notice a bit of difference.

So to Walmart I went. The usual waiting around of 15 minutes or so for
someone from the hardware department (he was likely transferred from the
shoe department or something, who knows, he didn’t know a thing about plumbing)
was in order, and after my patience dues had been met, I asked the guy
is the package of 40-or-so various rubber and plastic washers was all they
had. Confused and puzzled look on his face aside, I showed him my faucet
handle pieces, and what was wrong with them. As he stared at the objects
in my hand, an angel of mercy showed up in the form of a bald head on top
with long hair in back and a few front teeth missing showed up to the hardware
counter with me and our wonder boy of amazement. Surprisingly a Walmart
employee, he knew exactly what was going on. And he wasn’t so sure that
it was the washer that was my problem. I mentioned I was looking at getting
replacement handles as well, and they only had one type of cheaper looking
replacements. He dashed three rows over, waited approximately eight seconds,
and came out with a a rather large box. A package of 400 rubber washers,
maybe? No sir, in his hand was a new faucet and handle assembly, the complete
deal. To be honest.. I hadn’t really thought about getting the entire faucet
anew, just the two new screw-on handles. After some assurance that everything
I needed was in that box, and it was simple to do (read: as simple as building
your own automotive engine from paper clips) he ran off to work miracles
for some other poor customer who was in need of saving from a lousy uninformative
employee. I journeyed my way over to where he had pulled the faucet package
from and after a small search, I saw they had other sets. One I really
liked. One that was even cheaper. Until I got to the register and realized
it must have been shelved incorrectly, which made sense because this nickel-plating
faucet is simply awesome.

So home I go after work. As anxious as a 7 year old on Christmas day,
I immediately begin taking apart my existing bathroom sink-faucet-area.
Not the sink, mind you, as that’d require a large amount of stupidity on
my end, knowing I’d be needing to replace the counter or some such if I
was going to go that far. I need to turn off both the hot and the cold
valves for me to replace the handles, etc, on the new faucet. Try as I
might however, the hot water side does not turn off. Struggles, grunts,
wrenches aplenty used, the damned thing would not turn to the off position.
Luckly, I happen to have a new valve still in the box sitting around from
when I did the kitchen sink faucet some time last year. That hot water
one was stuck as well, and Dad managed to entirely break off the handle
when he tried to get it off.

Oh shit I totally forgot. I turned off the water line soon after I got
home, as part of the preparation process. Just pretend I wanted to edit
the above paragraph with this information, but couldn’t because bugs are
eating my ankles or some such.

With the hot water off (as duely noted with the kitchen sink dispensing
a large amount of nothing when turned to the hot water position) I decided
to go at it on the hot water valve, to remove it and replace it with the
new one, which naturally has a working on/off handle not rusted to the
“on” position after 25 years. However, as furtune may have it and my winning
streak of luck, there’s water coming out. How the hell, do you say? We
for some odd reason, about 10% of the hot water is fed by the normal/cold
water line, with 90% being fed from my water heater. Maybe more. I suppose
if I took a super long shower and the hot water was all gone, I’d still
have that normal temperature water being fed in from the other source.
Being that this is a condo complex and not a single residence, I have NO
friggin’ clue where the main-main water valve is, for my complete water
shut down. Being that these valves are part of the original housework,
the designers were as cheap as possible, and decided it would be a great
idea for the valve and the tube feeding to the faucet handles to be the
same unit. So by removing the valve, I carefully managed to spring a leak
in the tube. With no way to turn the water completely off (not hot water,
thankfully) since the valve is stuck on, I battled about 15 soaking
wet towels worth of water
to replace the old valve with the new one,
turned to the off position so no more water couild escape. Hah!

Valve situation: completed


My next step was for the installation of the new faucet. The old one
comes off with a bit of extra work to get old corodded-on-parts pried loose
(note: people, please replace plumping parts every 10-15 years so this
doesn’t happen to you) and the new one matches perfectly right where the
old one was. Thankfully. I could only see the problem I’d have had on whether
I stabbed myself to death or jumped off our building head first into the
concrete, if I did all this work and the faucet was a half inch off on
sizing. Handle holes that cannot be seen until the faucet is removed, for
example. I attempt to attach the cold water to the faucet handle… failure.
What the hell? Yeah. In the last 25 years they’ve changed the wat these
little tubes are connected. Knowing that I already need a new tube for
the hot water side, it’s off to OSH I travel, before going to Julie’s for
another Smallville night.

This brings me to about two hours ago.

With my two new tubes in hand by the man who couldn’t believe I was
so thankful for finding what I needed so fast, and heading to the register
counter believing that $5.49 each was a complete steal considering all
I had been through so far, I head to the bathroom once again. Hot water
tube connected fine, cold water connected fine, faucet working exceptionally
well! Two gallons per minute of gushing water from my latest home project!

Hooray me!

Currently listening :
Heroes & Thieves
By Vanessa Carlton
Release date: 09 October, 2007

Author: Jason Zajdel

Learning as I go along. It's an awesome ride. =-)