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View Full Version : Why does everything about plumbing have to be so miserable?



Rich Engelhardt
04-03-2012, 8:40 AM
I hate plumbing...
I really, really really hate any and everything about plumbing.
Supposedly the Romans had a hand in being the first ones to bring running water inside a house.
Assuming that's true, then it's been over two thousand years that plumbing has been around.
You would think that in all that time, someone would have come up with some way to make plumbing less miserable than a tax audit or being boiled in oil. :mad:

I pulled the sink/cabinet to lay a new floor. The faucet had been working fine and the valves, while old, were dry as a bone.
When I put it all back together, the hot supply and the faucet leaked like crazy.
No problem, I picked up two new supply lines , two new shut off valves and a new faucet.

What unwritten law is there that says if you fix a leaking shut off valve on the hot side, the one on the cold side, that didn't leak, but you replace it anyhow because you have everything all torn up & the valve is old so you might as well replace it now and be done with it, will spring a leak?

I replaced the shutoff on the cold side and it sealed fine around the stub from the wall - but - the threads on the supply leaked because they were messed up.
I didn't know that until I removed it.
I replaced the one with the damaged supply threads and the supply connection was fine.....the stub connection leaked..no matter how tight, it leaked..
So, I figured it was bad threads on that connection on that valve so I replaced that valve. That replacement leaked at both the stub and the supply...:confused:.
So, another new valve and a new supply line for good measure. Supply fine - stub drips...
Another new valve...supply fine, stub drips.

Off to Lowes to pick up a different brand of valve...
Supply fine, stub drips...

Somewhere in the whole process, it appears that the threads on the stub got messed up.

Soooooo it's back to the store for a compression fitting & with any amount of luck I have enough room underneath to swing a pipe cutter and cut off the threaded section of the stub.

Oh yeah,,,,the valve at the main?
Well, that was bone dry before this whole ordeal started....
Now there's a big puddle on the floor...

Looks like my hopes for a 14 inch bandsaw just went the way of the wind & I'll be financing the first semester of medical school for some plumber's kid...

Bah - I hate plumbing.....

Chris Kennedy
04-03-2012, 8:59 AM
That pretty much sums up every experience I have had with plumbing.

To be honest, unless it is really basic (i.e. it needs a new washer), I just punt and call a plumber. In the long run, I save time if not money, and a plumber will do a better job than I will. Otherwise, it just becomes scope creep, frustration and endless trips to the hardware store.

Best of luck,

Chris

Bill Edwards(2)
04-03-2012, 9:50 AM
Why does everything about plumbing have to be so miserable?

I think there's a law.:confused:

Matt Meiser
04-03-2012, 10:22 AM
Soooooo it's back to the store for a compression fitting & with any amount of luck I have enough room underneath to swing a pipe cutter and cut off the threaded section of the stub.

Oh yeah,,,,the valve at the main?
Well, that was bone dry before this whole ordeal started....
Now there's a big puddle on the floor...


Pick up one of those cutters that automatically advance and just wrap around the pipe. I used one up inside a wall when I couldn't do anything else. Soooo much nicer.
228541


Leaky valves....every time I have that happen a slight turn on the nut that holds the packing fixes it. Have to do it every few years on the shutoffs for the slop sink in our garage.

My favorites....when the new shower valve I installed had a pinhole leak in the main casting. Or the compression fitting I used on that started leaking months later once the whole room was done. Thank goodness for PEX--was able to replumb without cutting open the faux-painted wall.

Lee Schierer
04-03-2012, 11:48 AM
One thing that most folks are not aware of is that if you over tighten a compression fitting most times it will leak. Compression fittings should be tightened finger tight then 1/4 to 1/2 turn more. Tightening until you can't turn it anymore usually results in the ferrule cocking in the fitting which will result in a leak.

In your defense, I did purchase some shut offs from the BORGs recently and noted they had two price ranges. The cheaper valves had plastic internal parts and the more costly ones had metal parts. The cheaper valves all leaked.

It is not uncommon for a shutoff valve to leak once it is disturbed. As noted, you can usually take care of this by tightening the valve bonnet, another good reason to install ball valves instead of gate or globe valves.

Mike Henderson
04-03-2012, 12:32 PM
If it helps, I hate plumbing, also. I've done a fair amount of it (I'm cheap) but I never liked doing it. I'd much prefer to do electrical work.

Mike

Myk Rian
04-03-2012, 12:54 PM
One thing that most folks are not aware of is that if you over tighten a compression fitting most times it will leak. Compression fittings should be tightened finger tight then 1/4 to 1/2 turn more. Tightening until you can't turn it anymore usually results in the ferrule cocking in the fitting which will result in a leak.
When I was an Apprentice in the early 70s, one of the old-timers carried 3 tools. A large screwdriver, large Channel locks, and a large crescent wrench. All 3 wrapped in a rag and carried in his back pocket.
He would tighten compression fittings until they squeaked. Only then was it tight, as he would say.

A little story about the fellow, John Mathias. He was a grumpy old cuss, and most of us let him do his thing while staying out of his way.
We had a van used to take people to the various plants in the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn. He was in the front passenger seat, chewing his tobacco.
The van was filled with 9 or 10 of us. It came time to unload his bacca chew, so he turned to the right, and let it fly, intending to get it out the window that he had forgotten to roll down, resulting in a huge blob sliding down the inside of the window. Absolute dead quiet in the van. Nobody dared say a word.
He wipes his chin and said, "I intended to do that". The dead quiet continued until he was dropped off at the plant he was going to.

Michael Weber
04-03-2012, 2:32 PM
I have learned never to use the shut off valves unless it is absolutly necessary. Just asking for problems.

glenn bradley
04-03-2012, 2:42 PM
I hate plumbing...
I really, really really hate any and everything about plumbing.

That covers it for me.

Van Huskey
04-03-2012, 2:43 PM
I also hate plumbing... I actually don't want to even talk about it.

David G Baker
04-03-2012, 7:07 PM
I must be in the minority because I enjoy plumbing and have done quite a bit of it over the years. It is hard work and I would never want to do it for a living. I always spend the money and do it right and never use any shut-off valve that is not a ball valve. I have yet to give PEX a try, I am a copper and iron plumber in most cases. I started plumbing on diesel locomotives as a kid in the Southern Pacific Railroad General Shops in Sacramento California as an apprentice sheet metal/pipe-fitter worker.

Rich Engelhardt
04-03-2012, 7:39 PM
Well alrighty then,,,,Say David,,,what you got planned for next week?

:D

The cold beer or single malt is on me!

Brian Kent
04-03-2012, 8:12 PM
I echo everybody but David.

Last time I put a wax ring in the toilet I did not shim the toilet, so it rocked ever so slightly. Now I get to pull up the travertine, rebuild the floor, dry it out, re-tile, re-trim, and then hope the next wax seal installation and shimmed toilet hold their position. Who knows what else I will need to replace by the time I remove the sink cabinet and re-secure all of the hoses. I usually get through a bathroom leak for less than $700 if I do all of the work myself.

Larry Edgerton
04-03-2012, 8:42 PM
I used to be a journeyman plumber and I hate it more!

In my own house I use 1/2" sweat ball valves under the sink with a sweat in reducer. No problems. Who looks under a sink anyway?

Supply valves. Wolverine Brass........Hint: Not available at the Borg.

I have a my own new house to do, and I enjoy that. But old stuff, forget about it.....

Larry

Joe Angrisani
04-03-2012, 9:02 PM
Could be worse. Could be drywall.....

Tom Stenzel
04-03-2012, 9:33 PM
At work I've put together hundreds of pipes, fittings and valves with threaded pipe, compression fittings and sweated with very few problems.

When I do any plumbing at my house it always comes out badly. When I replumbed the Detroit house and pressurized the lines, you would have thought I was trying to build a sprinkler system. Because that's what I did!

It must be the aura of being in *your* house.

Tom Stenzel

Chris Kennedy
04-03-2012, 9:36 PM
I'll take drywall any day over plumbing. Worst case scenario, my drywall looks junky and cosmetically is a problem. I can live with that. Maybe I have to tear down everything I did -- but then again, maybe I don't. My house will be livable. Crappy, but livable. I can try again in the morning or next weekend.

When my plumbing leaks -- that I can't live with. I can't leave it 'til morning, let alone next weekend.

Cheers,

Chris

David G Baker
04-04-2012, 1:02 AM
Rich E,
I will be plumbing my John Deere's hydraulic system trying to stop the leaks. I have a bathroom remodel coming up in my 1930 home. I may very well change my mind about plumbing by the time I finish doing it. It has a lot of serious plumbing issues and a few pipes that are not accessible with out cutting holes in the floor. Flexible coper tubing mixed with rigid and galvanized pipe that will be replaced with copper through out. Vent stacks that are small and not present where they should be. The list goes on and on.

Jim Matthews
04-04-2012, 8:20 AM
I know three things about plumbing -

Location of the main shut off.
How to replace a toilet flap valve.
The phone number of my plumber.

There's no substitute for experience - and it's good to have someone else on the hook for failures.

What I don't like is PEX - it looks like a Bill Nye TV production set.

Rich Engelhardt
04-04-2012, 9:25 AM
Could be worse. Could be drywall.....
LOL!
We all must have our pet "hates" !

I don't really hate hanging drywall. Like Chris mantioned, you can usually just step back from drywall and take a break from it for a day or so when it gets to be too much.

Try that with leaky plumbing & it's a sure way to end up having to do some dry walling in addition to everything else.

What gripes me the most about this stupid leak is that putting the sink back in and hooking it up was supposed to be the last step of the bathroom remodel.
Now it looks like in addition to having an enormous plumber bill, I'll probably have to open up the wall to get at the pipes and end up destroying a section of wall that' was already finished and ready to go...

I hate plumbing....

Joshua Culp
04-04-2012, 1:48 PM
This thread just reminded me that it's been a couple of months so it's probably time to empty the flower vase under the garbage disposal in my kitchen sink this evening.

Thank you.

Bill Edwards(2)
04-04-2012, 2:21 PM
I must be in the minority because I enjoy plumbing and have done quite a bit of it over the years. It is hard work and I would never want to do it for a living. I always spend the money and do it right and never use any shut-off valve that is not a ball valve. I have yet to give PEX a try, I am a copper and iron plumber in most cases. I started plumbing on diesel locomotives as a kid in the Southern Pacific Railroad General Shops in Sacramento California as an apprentice sheet metal/pipe-fitter worker.

Seek help... seriously.... :D

Brian Elfert
04-04-2012, 8:24 PM
My first real experience with plumbing I ended up with a bunch of soldered joints that leak and one joint that didn't get soldered at all! I've gotten a lot better, but I prefer to not do plumbing.

David G Baker
04-04-2012, 8:49 PM
Bill E,
I am way beyond help. I have a building that has a very large amount of plumbing tools that I have accumulated over the years. Most of the tools are for threaded pipe, even to the point of a commercial powered pipe threader that will thread up to 2 inch pipe. If I get over being lazy I may post a few photos so that my plumbing stuff becomes real. :D

Kent E. Matthew
04-05-2012, 12:35 AM
It is so nice to hear that there are others in the same boat. There are two things in my life that I have completely sucked at. Baseball and plumbing.

Steve Jenkins
04-05-2012, 8:49 PM
Two things to remember about plumbing . Stuff runs down hill and don't chew your fingernails.

Bill ThompsonNM
04-06-2012, 9:17 AM
Reminds me of a typical plumbing job I undertook about five years ago when my parents were still alive. My dad complained that the toilet in their master bathroom leaked out from underneath onto the Saltillo tile and grout. He had called plumbers in from some of the large plumbing companies that have 10's of plumbers racing around Albuquerque in fancy painted vans, but it continued to leak. So after dinner I removed the toilet--the tiles and the flange were definitely on different planes and the flange was pretty low besides. I headed over to a Lowes a few miles away and bought a neoprene bowl seal (work great, particularly in situations like this) and returned to install it. Cleaned up the tons of wax from the gaggle of previous plumbers, cleaned the grout and tiles, installed the gasket and then picked up the bowl for the reinstall. Just as I was carefully lowering it onto the bolts, I slipped on some of the wax seal on a paper towel on the floor and the bowl crashes onto the floor, splitting in half and giving me a rather large gash on my hand. My wife hears the crash but my parents are oblivious. She helps me stop the bleeding with some butterfly bandages (and some of you are worried about power tool injuries--beware your toilet!) and I head back to Lowes after more measurements. Almost 10 pm and the close by Lowes doesn't have one that will fit. The clerk in plumbing calls across town and locates one about 10 miles away, but they close at 10. I hurtle across town arriving at 9:55 where they have the toilet waiting for me in a cart. Back to my parents house where my wife is keeping my parents entertained and up late to finish the install and hustle the broken toilet out in the new toilets box. Luckily the new gasket worked great and it was the last time I had to pull that toilet. Yet another typical plumbing job....

Randy Rose
04-06-2012, 2:30 PM
I lessen the pain of plumbing by always buying more parts/pieces than I need, this way if the job goes sideways you don`t have the frustration of another trip to the store. If you don`t need the parts, they`re on hand for the next unexpected problem. Always have a complete "Fluidmaster" ( the red & green box) toilet valve set in stock. Keep all this and your plumbing tools in a storage tote that you can carry to the scene of the crime. Sit down and take your time. Goes well 8 times out of 10.:D

Mike Cutler
04-10-2012, 5:03 PM
I actually like plumbing. I like doing my own work and seeing the end result. Kinda therapy for me.
To be honest though,the day job meshes quite well with some of the basic aspects of plumbing.
I'll take plumbing over drywall every time.

Jeff Monson
04-10-2012, 5:09 PM
I'll take plumbing over drywall every time.

Amen to that one Mike!!!

Last weekend I installed new plumbing in our cabin, I replace old pvc that was botched together with garden hose and duct tape with PEX. IMO the PEX is a dream to work with, it took me the better part of a day to finish. I went through 200' of tubing, numerous connectors and 3 bags of cinch clamps, not one leak.