In fact, hubby has usually held to the strict rule that any projects concerning plumbing and anything other than very basic electricity absolutely must be hired out! But, as human nature goes, sometimes we allow our sense of self-confidence and (usually false) sense of competence in an area to overrule our good common sense. This is what happened on our most recent visit with our daughter and her family in Texas over the holidays.
So, meet our two unlikely plumbers...Husband and Son-In-Law.
|Hubby "The Plumber"|
|Son-In-Law, with grandkids Asher and Gemma|
|A similar style and design shower faucet control|
So, when daughter mentioned that she had the same problem we told them what we learned and off marched husband and son-in-law to fix the problem. After reviewing the faucet, it appeared similar to the one we have in Florida that we just had adjusted. Daughter and son-in-law just recently purchased this home...their first one, in late October, and did not know where to turn off the water. This is a key point for the remainder of our tale!
So hubby and son-in-law Drew started the disassembly of the shower handle, easy to remove the center screw and the outer cover and decorative sleeve covering the central mechanism. Drew started to unscrew the bronze bushing that covered the center shaft and other components of the water control handle and water began to leak out from under this bushing. Hubby is pretty sure he started a sentence like "I think we need to turn the water off first..." but isn't sure he finished it before the bushing was loosened enough to slip off of the thread holding everything together and water was suddenly spewing from the handle's center shaft like a fire hydrant! The pressure of this stream blew components out into the shower stall and, without anything covering the drain, one of the small dime-sized springs was lost into this drain! The other spring was shot out into the center of the master bathroom but we didn't find this until the next day.
Well, bedlam ensued from this point. Both of our erstwhile plumbers were being sprayed with relatively cold water, the bathroom is getting soaked everywhere, our three year old granddaughter is becoming hysterical and crying that her daddy is going to DIE, our 1 1/2 year old grandson is just standing in the middle of this circus watching the show (I later get him to go upstairs with me so I can change his drenched clothing, everything below the waste was just soaked!) while Daughter and I are starting to grab towels and anything else we think useful to absorb the water. Drew yells "everything needs to go to higher ground!" and hubby is getting out of the shower to head out and look for a water shut-off. Hubby spent (wasted) nearly 10 minutes looking for a control in the bathroom itself, all shut-off valves were for toilets and sinks, nothing for the shower. So outside we go, soaking wet into the dark freezing night with a flashlight to look for a water shut-off valve!
Within a few minutes the plumbers find a water control valve outside near the sidewalk and Hubby begins to turn the faucet off while Drew is inside getting drenched (telling me "it's getting cold") still trying to stop the flow of water by putting the bushing back or something, anything! (a totally impossible task), Hubby is turning this valve for nearly 10 minutes or more without any effect on the water flow in the shower (which is still filling the bathroom with water, fortunately the central drain is taking a good deal of the water so it's not running out into the rest of the house, yet.). So hubby goes across the street to ask a neighbor if this is indeed the right shut-off valve and he is assured that it is (this neighbor is now on the "not to be trusted" list, he obviously didn't know what he was talking about, this valve turned out to be for the lawn sprinkler system!). So we work on this valve for nearly half an hour, hands freezing, mud from the yard all over our clothes, the valve continues to turn but we're not sure if it is actually closing, but, in one of our better decisions of the night, we have decided to call the city DPW in the meantime and eventually a truck shows up and the friendly young man hops out, goes to another area and lifts a metal plate off of the correct valve (that valve cover plate, clearly labeled "Water", was covered with trash bags full of leaves that hubby and I had raked up earlier), and within a few minutes he had used his special tool to turn this valve off and the water is finally stopped.
The remainder of this evening is spent trying to figure how we might put the control back together with the pieces we have found (not knowing at this point that we are missing a spring and also, in retrospect, not understanding exactly how the components needed to be replaced, there is in fact a set and critical order to the items, especially the rubber gaskets!).
So, to end this sorry tale, two days later we find a plumbing supply store with a good inventory, I've discovered a schematic of the fixtures for this shower on-line that help the "plumbers" understand and explain to the store salesman what is needed to fix this mess, and we are eventually able to restore the shower to it's proper configuration. This is after a few attempts to replace the parts with the rubber gaskets in the wrong order, a situation which leads to the faucet leaking behind the walls! We cleaned up water several times during these three days but Daughter and family now have a shower that allows them to run water as hot as they want and Drew has the valuable experience of knowing, like Hubby, that any additional plumbing projects should most likely be hired out! THE END ;-)