The Cool House: Bob Vila makes it look so easy*

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bob Vila makes it look so easy*

Sometime, a couple of winters ago, after the sprinkler system had been winterised by some joker who took the pipe apart, we noticed one of the outside taps was dripping. Turning off the water to the faucet helped but there was still a persistent drip through the winter that replacing washers and tapes just wouldn't stop. Not good. In Spring we replaced the sprinkler faucet and everything worked until winterisation rolled round again. This time the upper compression faucet leaked. We turned the water off again and waited for Spring. The solution this time was to replace the old wheel type with a new lever and the sprinkler guy offered to take off the completely seized-up fixture but he didn't have one of the right size to replace it so he capped it and I was supposed to go buy one and fit it myself. That was April and as we rarely use that faucet we didn't miss it until now.
Now is mid to end July when the humidity on Long Island causes the stone and brick to turn green and algae to grow on the asphalt. Now is power-washing time. Now is the time when a working hosepipe is necessary to blast the green gunge off the paths. Now is the time to fix the faucet.

So with old tap in hand I set off to purchase a new tap. And an adapter so I could run the hosepipe from it. And another adapter the purpose of which escapes me but which I bought anyway. I've learnt not to argue with the hardware guy.

Having assembled some plumbers tape, a wrench, a screwdriver (just in case) and the necessary hardware I set about unscrewing the cap. I tried, I tried really hard but I couldn't get that cap off. Eventually I called for back up

The Guy applied the wrench, twisted and turned and eventually loosened it and pulled it off. Which is when we realised we had not turned off the water to the faucet.

It could have been me kneeling in front of the tap. But instead it was The Guy who caught the full force of the flow. Luckily I had my camera to record the moment and more lucky still, he was wearing swimmers. Rule #1: Always shut off the water when messing with the plumbing!

After a quick run to the basement to shut off the water he attached the new tap, complete with its extra doodahs and after another run to the hardware store where he laid down $16 for the right size spanner/wrench we have a leak-free outside faucet. Hurray!

The hosepipe we bought last week is connected and after a couple of adjustments, drip-free. We are ready to tackle the power-washing...

*If your outdoor faucet isn't completely corroded and your compression faucet not connected to another compression faucet that connects to your sprinkler system you can probably easily fix the drips by watching this video. Repairs should only run you a couple of dollars (if you have the right tools) and take less than 5 minutes.

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