Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not Quite the Day I Had Planned

Today I was hoping to share my fabulous progress in the guest bathroom. I had such a great plan for productivity today that included painting the vanity, repairing the walls, grocery shopping, and mopping the floor.

Instead, I spent the day helping Matt fix the stop valves on the water line to avoid flooding our garage :)

We started our morning in the bathroom, removing the sink and counter from the vanity so I could paint.


(Sorry about the crazy eyes. I think I was happy about getting rid of that old laminate!)

After I tried to calmly unscrew frantically muscle the pipe apart to remove the sink, I noticed that one of the shut off valves was dripping a little.


Its a pretty easy fix to take those valves off and replace them, so Matt went to turn the water off so we could take the parts with us to the hardware store.

He went into the garage and turned the water off like usual. Except when I tried the faucet, it was still going strong. Matt went into the garage and I stood in the kitchen.

Matt: Is the water off?
Katie: No.
…pause… Matt: Is it off now?
Katie: No.
Matt: How about now?
Katie: No.

By this time the neighbor kids got curious and started watching Matt. Then I hear “Oh no. Oh no. That isn’t good.” I looked out the door to see the neighbor kid mutter, “I’ll go get my dad!” and run down the street. Water was pouring out the pipes! Of course I panicked and just stared while Matt turned the water off at the street and three of the neighbors came to inspect our lack of handiwork. 

The shut off valve in our garage was housed in plastic piping; I don’t know why. The plastic piping had water in it (not a good sign), so when Matt had turned the handle he couldn’t see it. The handle had become so rusty it came completely off and that’s when water started pouring out of the hole.


Once the water was turned off, Matt asked for advice from the neighbors while I sponged out all of the water until it looked like the pic above. There was probably 3.5 gallons of cold water in there. What a pain!

The handle on one valve was gone, and the other valve was completely missing.


Of course I called my dad, then left him a very calm text: “Dad, help. I need a plumber. Do you know a good one?!?!?”

I’m lucky to have my uncle about a block away so when I couldn’t reach my dad I called my uncle. He came over and was a lifesaver (well, definitely a time- and money-saver).


After we uncovered the pipes and removed the plastic piping surrounding the valves, Uncle Mike helped us get the valve stems off and I calmed down enough that I didn’t call a plumber at 4pm on a Sunday (and saved a ton of money). 

Look how rusty the old valve stems were! We’re lucky they didn’t fall apart while we were gone. Since we were right there we avoided any water damage.


The new parts are so nice and sturdy looking and only about 8 bucks each!



Matt and Uncle Mike replaced the valves. First they opened up the kitchen faucet to let a little water drain through the holes to get any dirt out of the pipes. After that it was hard to see what they were doing but essentially they just screwed the new ones into the pipe. It seems like most plumbing issues we’ve run into take a lot of time to figure out, but once we find out what the problem is, its easy to fix (knock on wood).

So, after some work done by my uncle and some worrying done by me, the valves are good as new!


So the vanity in the bathroom is still blue, we have no groceries, and the floor is not clean, but at least we replaced our old rusty valves with new parts that will last a long time.

Did anything interrupt your to-do list this weekend?

Post linked up over at Not JUST a Housewife.

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  1. What a nightmare! This totally freaks me out. Is this not something that they look at when they inspect your house? At least now I know who to go to if we have problems :)

  2. It’s good that you spot this problem early on, or it could have been worse! Rusting pipes and valves should be replaced immediately. These small dilemmas can cause a major plumbing repair if not attended immediately. Rust can clog the pipes as well as every inlet and outlet of water. It can lead to leaks and water damage. Plus, rust impurities can add up to your water system, and it can be dangerous to your family’s health.

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