May 3, 2013

Fixed Something With Minimal Blood Loss

Fixed Something With Minimal Blood Loss
Yesterday after I mowed the lawn I went to hook up the Ghetto Sprinkler System we have for the front yard and it didn't work. At first I thought that maybe something had gotten lodged in the hose.  All I got was a weak stream.

I took everything apart, played around with it, swapped out pieces, but nothing seemed to work.  When I had the faucet on I was able to push it in a bit and a gush of water sprayed out.  My faucet (unfortunately) has always leaked a little bit, and I mean only a little bit.  It wasn't enough warrant a lot of trouble.

Water gushing all over the place....that is worth some trouble.

I dared venture into the crawlspace beneath the house, into the space where nightmares come from, and while I could see where there had been a decent leak, there wasn't as much water as I would expect.  A lot of things were wet, but there wasn't a leak at the moment. I crawled out, turned on the faucet full blast, and headed back down below.  Water was gushing everywhere.

Evidently I had a rupture on the frost-free anti-siphon faucet which kept the water from leaking when
Well there's your problem right there....
the faucet was off, but once it was turned on......I had an impromptu shower. I played around with things a little bit just to make sure it wasn't leaking when off. That meant this repair wasn't quite an emergency, unless you were my front lawn that really needed to be watered.

Now I remember from my home inspection a decade ago that my plumbing was polybutylene, which has had a bit of a bum rap and isn't really made anymore. The inspector said that whoever did the work was more experienced with it than he is used to seeing, which is a good thing to hear, but it means that I'm not likely to get it repaired easily.

Some research online led me to believe it would be an easy repair if I could get the right parts. Evidently it isn't "right" or to code to connect the poly to copper like what was done down in the bowel of my home. No, I had to get a new faucet, connect it to CPVC, and then connect that to the poly.

Lucky for me the local Home Depot had everything I needed.  We got the new frost-free faucet, about 8' more CPVC than I needed (only one huge length available and I only needed about four inches), and two different Sharkbite connectors. My guesstimation for everything was $25-$30 and it came to $45. At least we had what we needed to do the job right....

Seriously, don't leave the store without this tiny piece of plastic!
....or so I thought. I knew I should have gotten the tiny piece of plastic for disconnecting the Sharkbite connectors. It was less than $2 but I was fooling myself if I didn't think I needed to disconnect the parts once I put them together. Luckily I realized I'm an idiot before I started working on things and made another trip to get the disconnect clip.

The repair took about 20' and I was right (the second time) in that I needed to disconnect the poly from the rest of the repair after I had initially put it all together. I didn't get the faucet screwed into the once Sharkbite connector tight enough and I had a small drip.

No water here, just as planned...
I'm pretty thankful that my neighbor Nate was around to help. He didn't have to do much, but he had the tools that made the job easier, mainly a water key to easily shut off water for the repair and a special pipe vise that made getting that new faucet wrenched down much easier.

On my next-to-last trip out of the pit I stabbed myself with a nail.  Not to deep, just enough for me to swear about it and worry about
Water coming out here, just as hoped.
dripping blood on stuff. I figured it isn't a home repair project unless I have to make multiple trips to the store, swear a lot, and cut myself up some. This time I only did all three things once, so I'm reasonably proud of myself.

If there is one thing I'd like for my 12 readers to get out of this is that those Sharkbite connectors are AWESOME and worth every fricken penny. I would not consider using anything else they were that good.