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This is a picture of a very long weekend. Sometime late Friday night this valve and coupling let go right behind our shop buddy’s tub. Besides water going everywhere, before they could shut it down it was too late to go get parts to fix it. It’s a bit on the rare side but down where we live it’s been below freezing at around 20 degrees at night for the last week or two.

The two may not seem connected for anyone who’s never had to deal with it, but the cold temperatures, manufactured housing, and faucets not dripping is a bad combo. The pipes froze out over night and then he was left with two problems: a busted tub hose and the 20-foot intake pipe under the house was frozen (and perhaps cracked), effectively cutting off his water.

Two days later the pipe unfroze and he had repaired the broken tub connection since he had some time on his hands. The good news is that everything in his place is PVC. So a simple run down of tools like a Kobalt mini hack saw PVC glue and teflon tape were about the only tools he needed apart from the valve and a new pipe fitting. The total bill for the project was less than $20, if you don’t count two days without water.

The lesson here was clear: wrap the hell out of that outside pipe and go to the big box and get a bunch of spare parts for the plumbing all around the house in case it ever happens again.

Mini Hacksaw [Kobalt]


7 Responses to Fun With Plumbing

  1. Jerry says:

    Also, spend a few dollars on parts and get a variety of “Shark-Bite” fittings. I have been using these things since they first became available. Easy and amazing are the two best descriptors for these things. PVC pipe? No problem – they work. Copper? Again, they work. No gluing and waiting for glue to dry. Push them on and you are done.
    By the way, those nasty push/pull valves like in the picture are a disaster waiting to happen. It’s just not special to have to replace the supply line along with the valve. Those are supposed to be two separate parts. I worked at a hotel where every valve in every room was that cheapo crap! What a nightmare.

  2. Chris says:

    Ugh. Yet another reason a) to have a real basement and b) not to live in “manufactured housing”.

    My grandma’s septic line (the one draining her toilet and running to the septic tank) froze over in her crawlspace in this latest cold snap because one of the crawlspace vent covers came off and she didn’t notice it for three days. Now she has no toilet until it warms up. You couldn’t pay me to live in a situation like that (or like this one).

    There’s a lesson in there about building things to last, not to meet some lowest-bidder contract, too.


  3. Travis says:

    Another lesson here should be, if you think it might freeze while the water is shut off, go ahead and drain the water out of the pipes too.

  4. Gough says:

    Our daughter in son-in-law just had a similar experience in N FL. The water flooded parts of two rooms, forcing them to pull up the laminate floor that they installed just last year. They’ve stickered the laminate to see what happens as it dries, but I’m pretty sure they’re looking at having to replace it.

  5. ShopMonger says:

    By the way ……….the title threw me off…….FUN with Pluming……a little facetious.


  6. David Bryan says:

    I used to try to make myself useful to some friends of mine who run a bar and restaurant and one day I went to the basement, where the compressor for the beer cooler in the bar was, to see why the beer wasn’t cold. I went outside and pulled the cover off the opening to the basement stairs and found the whole thing was full of “water”, using the term sort of loosely. It turns out somebody had cut a hole in a drain line with a cold chisel to run a snake in it, and then just covered the hole with a piece of sheet metal and a brick. Worked all right, relatively speaking, until the drain stopped up again. So to all who might be tempted to manufacture a cleanout in such a fashion, don’t do it.

  7. Patrick says:

    I was wondering what type of valve that is. My brother just replaced a faucet and I went to hook the new lines up and ran into one of those. Never seen it before. Can you give any information on what those are, where you get them and what special tools you might need to work with them?

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