DAILY PROMPT:Bad Signal
Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?
“Hello, this is your friendly water pressure regulator speaking up after way too many years of neglect. What, You didn’t know I existed. Well I am one of the more important pieces of equipment in your life. And since your ignoring me, I’ll let that rubber washer fall apart and drop your sink water pressure to less than one gallon per minute.”
Yes, we have had a few plumbing problems. First the water pressure dropped to a dribble from most of the faucets within the house. I called VID — the vista irrigation district; our local water supplier — and asked about it. Good customer service, they sent someone out to check our water pressure. It was high, very high outside, so they called back and said they wanted to come back and do some more measurements.
So Bob arranged to have them come back. Three guys, two trucks, and lots of measuring devices came. In the meantime, Bob cleaned out rubber pieces from sink faucet, leading to an immediate improvement in water flow. The guys from VID spent several hours checking pressure. They couldn’t make any recommendations, but they did talk about the common causes of water problems and Bob figured out we should be replacing our water pressure regulator. Smart man, he started putting oil or something on the joints several days before we started the work.
Here’s the original water pressure regulator. Most houses in our area need one, it controls the amount of water pressure coming into the house. Without the regulator, the high pressure can cause problems like constantly running toilets or blown pipes that are very expensive to replace. I think this is probably the original regulator, over 36 years old. Those of you who have been at our house may not recognize that corner. Until last week, there had been an ugly box covering it below the kitchen window. Box is gone and the cats have lost their morning post for sunbathing.
Note all the scale and rust on this piece.
And how empty the corner looks without the pressure regulator. Notice how there is an empty spot in this photo. This is where the replacement water regulator will go. Also note just above the blue knob / handle, there is a big nut hanging at an angle. This is the original part. A rubber washer goes between the top of that post and the water regulator. The nut screws upward holding everything in place. These pieces are important because they cause a lot of pain and suffering. Mental anguish, no humans or animals were physically hurt in the process.
So early last Friday morning, all started well with an easy dismantling of the water pressure regulator. Got the part off, went down to Home Depot, and found a replacement part. Same brand, it looked the same although not identical. The hardware had been improved over the years and our original version is not made anymore. Came home, put the pieces together and found there was no grease as promised in the package. Called the water pressure regulator company, talked to customer service, they checked with the engineers, and eventually told us any lubed grease would work. Grease up the rubber gasket and insert. Tighten the old nut and turn back on the water. Immediate shower coming from that bottom nut. Turn off the water, reposition, and try again. Another major leaker. Turn off the water and repeat. Use some power words, repeat. Make a trip to the hardware store to buy another tool for turning on and off the water at the main. Repeat process. Go down to Hanna plumbing, the most expensive but convenient store for more rubber washers. Come home repeat the process a few times. Use some more power words, have a temper tantrum or two, and enjoy a few more showers. Eventually return to Hanna Plumbing and enduring some ribbing from the guys there–they don’t get to many requests for buying this specific rubber washer.
Finally we give up and call a plumber. This happened when the lip on the bottom pipe broke, requiring a professional welding job. Luckily we called before closing. So although it took quite a while for the Pacific Drain and Plumbing guy to arrive, he charged us the daytime rate. Turns out that his headlights gave out and he had to replace them. We had the night service guy and I think he expects to see a lot of cranky customers. He commented several times on the fact we had been without water all day. Bob left me to deal with him and I was not cranky. I was delighted to see him arrive and do the work. But his patter seems to indicate that he is used to dealing with difficult customers. He did notice that we had gone through an entire roll of plumbers tape since we had forgotten to pick up that case.
Bob had done a good job cleaning up the area. And we had good lighting. So the gentleman was able to accomplish the job fairly easy. It turned out that the bottom nut was probably bad. And that was why nothing worked. While there, he replace the old not very good blue knob with an easy to use shut off switch. Look how beautiful the copper gleams from the new pipe and water pressure regulator. All it cost was a bit more than 400 dollars.
Now a couple following tidbits of information. Kate fled on Friday, wise girl. When she came home on Saturday, Bob told her that the water was fixed but there were no showers for a week because the pipes had to settle. It took a while before she realized that he was teasing. When she asked for like the 4th time “What, no showers for a week?” and her dad burst out laughing that she knew the truth.
And I realized there is a very good present for Bob and I. We need a bright halogen shop light like the one below.