January 12, 2007

I am Dagwood Bumstead

You know the classic cartoon/comic strip of the homeowner fighting with a gusher of water from the sink or toilet? I actually had that happen today. I was trying to replace the gasket inside the cap on the toilet flush valve. I dutifully turned off the water at the valve below the tank, took off the cap, and a geyser erupted. There was water everywhere. I managed to get the cap back on and stop it, but I had to call a plumber to come out to look at the valve. Turned out the thing itself has a gasket, and it had cracked or gotten brittle, so even though I thought it was turned off and the handle wouldn't turn any further, it wasn't really off.

Fortunately we managed to find a plumber who got here within half-an-hour, and he replaced the old valve and the gasket I had been initially trying to fix. We're $146.60 poorer, but much relieved.

Posted by Linkmeister at January 12, 2007 03:50 PM | TrackBack

It helps to turn on and off your shutoffs every few months or so. The gaskets will actually fuse to the metal parts of the valve, just a little. When you turn the handle, they pull apart a little bit - or just snap and bunch. Ball valves have there own corrosion issues, not much better in the long term. But if you turn them on and of once in a while, it keeps the rubber from setting.

I have remodeled a lot of houses, I always replace/install all the shuttoffs. Don't begin to ask me to explain why, I don't really know, but I find plumbing to be rather cathartic. I assumed it was using a torch to sweat copper that did it, but I feel the same even since I discovered the wonder of PEX.

Posted by: DuWayne at January 12, 2007 07:40 PM

This guy installed a new shutoff valve, with a wingnut handle rather than the old knurled one. The one that failed was one of the original ones, so it was nearly 40 years old.

Which makes me think we should have the other two toilet valves looked at; maybe I'll try them tomorrow. Then there are the ones under sinks. Yikes!

Meanwhile I have a hair dryer and a fan blowing on the carpet next to the bathroom; fortunately only about 3 sf of carpet got really wet.

Posted by: Linkmeister at January 12, 2007 07:56 PM

Clearly, you needed to consult me first!

Posted by: Scott at January 13, 2007 10:57 PM

Scott, I'd forgotten that hilarious post of yours, and I even commented on it. Anybody else who wanders by should go read it at the link he provides.

The carpet is now dry; I'm hoping I avoided mildew.

Posted by: Linkmeister at January 14, 2007 08:48 AM