Oct 20, 2014

Plumb Crazy

Steve managed to sqeeze in one last DIY project before Connor was born.  The good news is that he managed to fix something that's been broken since we bought the house!  The bad news is that we hadn't planned on DIYing this project at all, but were driven to from a series of odd events.

Our hose bibs have been messed up from the get-go with this house.  We knew when we purchased the house that the hose bibs lacked knobs to turn the water on and off.  No biggie, we thought.  Hose knobs are easy to come by and not terribly difficult to install.  So when it came time to buy the correct knob, a closer inspection of the hose bib revealed that a new knob wasn't what we needed.  The gasket the knob would normally attach to was completely stripped.  This was the same for the spigot in the front of the house and the one in the back.


We knew at that point that we'd likely need to replace the entire spigot, and this was confirmed by a couple different plumbers when we were gathering estimates for our bathroom reno (you can read about that here).  But way back then, we had other, more pressing projects going on, so we saved our money and went with a stupid-simple hack that only cost us a few bucks.

Stripped and clamped.

That tiny clamp served us well as a makeshift knob for two years.  And then one of the clamps got lost.  And then I planted some things on the north side of my house.  And then the spigot that still had a clamp-for-a-knob started to shoot water from the gasket, which meant that the scary-pregnant lady that lived in our house had to water her window boxes with a watering can.  I broke down in early July and informed Steve that I'd be calling some of the plumbers we talked to last fall to get an estimate and schedule a time for our hose bibs to be replaced.

I called the plumber that we were talking about using last fall before we decided to DIY the bathroom and left a voicemail.  His Yelp account showed a few more very positive reviews since the previous fall, and he was one of our cheapest estimates (plus a generally polite and well spoken guy), so I was excited to get him out to our house ASAP.  Four days later, I still hadn't heard from him so I called and left another voicemail.  A week later I still hadn't heard from him so I called and left yet another voicemail.  He called me back the same day to tell me that he had been on vacation, and would give me a call when he got back into town the following Monday.  I thanked him for getting back to me and agreed.  Well, the following Monday he called to say he had just gotten back into town and would call me later in the day to schedule an appointment.  He never did.  I tried calling him one more time and never heard back from him.  So disappointing.  A few more phone calls to local plumbers meant we'd end up spending about double what the non-responding guy was going to charge, or we'd have to go with someone we didn't really trust.  

So we did what we usually do, which is watch a ton of youtubes and just give it a go ourselves.  We figured if we really screwed it up, we'd just end up calling a plumber and spending an arm and a leg anyway.  At least if we tried it ourselves, we'd have a chance to saving some money.

Steve decided to try the hose bib in the back of the house first.  It would matter less if it ended up not being aesthetically pleasing, but most of all the plumbing was exposed in our garage.  It was easy to get to and would cause far less damage to the house if we screwed things up.

A series of tubes.

Steve ended up replacing most of this section of pipe- the pipe to the left goes through the back of our garage and out to the hose bib.  I won't pretend to know how he did it, but after a few hours, $80ish worth of materials (take that, $400 estimate!), and a few magic swear words, we had a brand new hose bib WITH A KNOB that worked perfectly and didn't leak.  I could finally water those window boxes with a hose instead of schlepping around a watering can!

Hooray, a functional knob!

It's not sexy, but it finally works!

The hose bib in the front still needs to be fixed.  We waited for a couple of reasons.  The pipe behind our spigot in the front of the house runs in through the coat closet near our front door and will require cutting through drywall to access, so the risk of damaging our house is much higher.  That also means it will require patching the drywall when we're done, which is a pain in the butt.  Also, I had a baby about 4 days after Steve fixed the hose bib in the back, and we haven't had a lot of free time since then that hasn't been consumed with being completely exhausted.  Steve has promised me he'll fix the one in front by the end of October though, so that we don't have to worry about the pipes freezing when the weather turns.  Cross your fingers we get it done uneventfully!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Steve really did an amazing job with fixing that tap. Your post is such a fun read, on how you guys were brought about into DIYing the plumbing job. Maybe I should try that sometime, watch a couple of Youtube videos, and do some good with a home-improvement project. Hahaha! Anyway, thanks so much for sharing that story! Wishing you guys all the best!

    Lovella Cushman