Sometimes, even when a shut off valve looks and acts like the shut off to the water main, in reality, it isn’t. At least it’s not your shut off valve. It could be the neighbors’.
My Charles and I had been sharing our worries about completely replacing the tub surround. Since no project goes as smoothly as planned, we feared days without a working shower. Being the nerd that I am, I scoured the internet, searching for options, watching YouTube video after YouTube video.
The consensus on the ol’ web was that it HAD to be the washers.
“Well,” thought I, “it won’t hurt to take a look, and if I succeed, what a hero I shall be!”
Do you see where this is going?
The video I followed showed how to take the inner workings of the faucet apart in order to replace the worn out washers. I purchased a box of washers of all shapes and sizes, got out my wrench, swung my legs into the tub, and got to work.
There seemed to be a lot of pressure behind the faucet, but I persevered. As I unscrewed the valve, KABOOM! Water gushed out of the hole in the surround, drenching me from the waist down. My cat-like reflexes (yeah, right!) saved me from being hit by the faucet parts. I put my journalism training to full use (reporters put pirates to shame when it comes to “colorful” language) and raced outside, yelling to Charles that the water still needed to be shut off.
Charles stopped his work on the deck and ran up the stairs to the street.
“You opened the wrong box,” he yelled down the hill at me.
Evidently, our water valve is to the left of the box I had opened.
I returned to the house. The blue streak was just beginning to dissipate within the bathroom, but the water was not. My heroic effort had just flooded the room. Using every towel we own, I began the mop-up process. Then I picked up the faucet parts, laying forlornly in the bottom of the tub, and tried to figure out how to put everything back together.
None of the washers I had purchased matched the ones that had been blown out in the torrent, so I ended up putting the original stuff back in. Once I figured out how everything fit together – I may have painted the room blue a couple more times during this process – I slogged back up the stairs and driveway and turned, ahem, OUR water back on.
Once I had returned to the room of my failure and despair, I made sure the faucet and showerhead was working and discovered something rather odd – there was no drip. The leak had abated. What, what?
My theory is that the massive geyser cleared out the calcium deposits or what have you that had built up around the washers. I’m not holding my breath that the drippy faucet is completely fixed, but for now, dryness is king when the shower is not in use.
Dos and Don’ts:
Do shut off the water.
Don’t take the faucet apart until you’ve checked that the water is actually off.
Do follow the dude on the video’s instructions completely.
Don’t clean the tub right before working on the faucet. You’ll just have to clean it again, duh!
Do follow that dude on the video’s instructions. Seriously. Including the part where you take the faucet insides to the hardware store so you get the right washers.
Don’t do what I did. Of course, if I actually did manage to follow instructions completely the first time and everything worked, the world would probably explode, so don’t expect me to ever be as thorough as I should be.
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