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Lance the Plumber, Part 1...
Old 08-20-2011, 07:00 AM   #1
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Lance the Plumber, Part 1...

No, I'm not trying to copy "Joe the Plumber" from from the far right Your smiling correspondent actually did a few DIY plumbing jobs while visiting a lady friend in the heart of Isan (NE Thailand.)

This gal lives above her office in an older but spacious apartment. She bought a used washing machine so I voluntered to do the installation. She had a small room next to the balcony that just fit the bill. There was a plugged off water line so, I opened the electric breaker to the pump and backed out the galvanized plug. Next I wrapped teflon tape around a PVC fitting, threaded on one side and tappered to fit inside a hose on the other end. Job done in record time!

Well, I don't mind admitting that I was both elated (retained some DIY skills) and worried because I am on a Retirement Visa and can not work while residing in the Kingdom. I need a beer!

Thirty minutes later, my nerves calmed, I went back to the newly furnished "laundry room" to admire my work. A tiny leak from the PVC connection so I loosened the hose clamp and ever so gently tightened the PVC fitting. Bingo, leak gone!

I laid my adjustable wrench down and heard this whosh, then the sound of rushing water. The water pressure was just high enough to blow the unclamped hose of the PVC fitting and water shot across the room and bounced off the opposite wall. I raced to the electric panel and opened the breaker to the pump. Ok, ok, damage control in place.

I opened the sink tap in the bath room to let off some pressure, then went back to the laundry room to refit the (washing machine) hose onto the PVC fitting. Reattached and clamped, I closed the pump breaker and went to close the tap in the bath room. The pump is going crazy now, like there is air in the system, so I slowly started to close the tap-but it wont' decrease the water flow!

About this time my lady friend comes home from work and say "Darling, why water come down?" Huh?!? She points to the balcony and water is cascading over the wall like a mini Niagra Falls!.

I climb the ladder to the -thankfully- flat roof and see a PVC fitting from the water tank to the pump has come apart and water is shooting out. Not much can be done except to open the tank's bottom valve and drain the tank.

In the mean time I go back to the bath room to see why the tap would not shut off the water and find that the tap's valve washer has come off the end of the valve stem-and its a cheap prseed on type arrangement, not fastened to the stem with a screw.

So I send my lady friend (LF) off to buy a new valve assembly and some PVC primer and cement, thinking I can re-attach the fitting

To be continued...
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:12 AM   #2
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This is why I hire a plumber. It's never just one issue, touching one thing causes bunch of others to misbehave and the whole thing escalates to an all-day job.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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The stories I could tell. In a place far from any services, I may even try the DIY hernia surgery. My home is literally home made, so I hate to undertake any repair work without 10 of each repair part I need. I changed out a toilet shut off and ended up repairing pipe more than 30 feet away. Fix one leak and the new and improved water pressure finds another.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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This is why I hire a plumber.
I agree. It reminds me of a much earlier time when we had little money but a big old house that was falling down around us.

DW asked for a new kitchen faucet. Heck, how hard could it be. Anyway, I had the latest copy of the Reader's Digest Home Repair book:
Amazon.com: reader's digest home repair: Books so how hard could it be?

I went to Sears to pick up the assembly and parts (per the book) and went to work, turning off the water main and I "did my thing" over many hours.

Came to 8PM. Turned on the water, which of course started the flow - not through the new faucet, but through the connections.

It seemed that I needed more parts from Sears (which closed in 45 minutes, and if I did not get would require the water to the house remain shut off for at least 12 hours).

Never again. There is cheap because you have to be (as I was at the time), or cheap because you want to save money.

Today? I pay the experts their "pound of flesh" rather than go through that experience, again.

I'm not a handyman - I admit it. Luckly, I can afford to have someone else do that role...
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:47 AM   #5
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Of all the DIY home repairs, plumbing has by far the highest CWPH - cuss words per hour.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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Of all the DIY home repairs, plumbing has by far the highest CWPH - cuss words per hour.
Totally agree. But I keep doing my own plumbing. Slow learner or too cheap to pay a plumber.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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Totally agree. But I keep doing my own plumbing. Slow learner or too cheap to pay a plumber.
Me too.

Yesterday, the upstairs LP gas water heater (circa 1987) finally rusted through and started leaking. I have a tankless LP gas water heater being delivered Tuesday. This water heater supplies one shower and two sinks in a single bathroom. Wish me luck.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:49 PM   #8
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About this time my lady friend comes home from work and say "Darling, why water come down?" Huh?!? She points to the balcony and water is cascading over the wall like a mini Niagra Falls!.

.
Great story. Always keep this woman close by, she calls you darling when her house is flooding.

Ha
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:34 PM   #9
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Of all the DIY home repairs, plumbing has by far the highest CWPH - cuss words per hour.
Only because you're unconscious after screwing up an electrical repair. I actually had smoke coming out my elbow once, back before I decided electricians are worth whatever they cost.

Plumbing is easy in comparison. Only 3 rules. Hot on the left, cold on the right, and @#&% don't run uphill.

Anyway, looking forward to hearing "the rest of the story".
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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Diehard DIYer here as well.

We've learned how to repair plumbing, lay tile, do minor electrical, fix the sprinkler system and myriad other things that people charge 60 bucks or more for the privilege of showing up at my door. But just for the record we will not touch anything to do with natural gas.

Every time we tackle something new, during the event itself, we gnash our teeth, have to redo multiple times and lament over why we didn't hire someone.

But once the chore is complete and the new skill is learned we feel great about having added one more tool to our LBYM belt!
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:46 PM   #11
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Great laugh, thanks. Alas, your experience is only too typical of my many DIY plumbing fiascos.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:41 PM   #12
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Diehard DIYer here as well.
But once the chore is complete and the new skill is learned we feel great about having added one more tool to our LBYM belt!
I feel even better after the inevitable leaks stop
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