July 6, 2012

Plumber Tim vs. The Hall Tub

Tim teaching Basil how to repair the tub faucets

Enough time has passed since the events of today's post took place that we've had time to calm down from what we thought might be a disaster or ongoing problem. Now that we're sure we've fixed the issue, we're excited to share and hopefully give you a bit of a laugh while doing so...

Back in April, we had quite the surprise with one of the wall faucets in our tub where we recently upgraded the shower head.

I'd been in the mood for a bath and went to take one in the hall bathroom since our master bathroom has a standup shower. Tim here: She actually had asked me three times that day, do you mind if I take a bath later? Each time I said — yes take a both, I just want to watch the hockey game at 4:30. After hopping in I noticed the faucet was still dripping and I couldn't get it to stop no matter how hard I tried to twist the handle tight.

I called downstairs to Tim saying I couldn't turn off the cold water, knowing he always has some logical fix for these things and we'd both end up laughing at how I could have missed it. He was in the middle of an important hockey game but came upstairs anyway — and couldn't turn it off either.

So he tried to find the shut-off valve while I was still in the bath, not really concerned.

I kept telling him I was sure it had to be a certain direction to twist the handle to turn it off and that I would try once more. As I turned it again, there was no stopping point like normal, it just kept turning and turning instead of getting tighter and eventually turning off.

Then it happened.

The entire faucet literally popped off the wall into my hand and cold water began spraying everywhere at a really forceful pace. I said a few choice words and decided this was the time to get out of the tub (TMI?) and try to help find the shut-off valve asap.

Tim ran frantically (and smartly) around the house trying to find the shut-off valve while I was getting increasingly angry that this could have happened in our new house (even though we were warned over and over that things like this will be an ongoing issue with a 100+ year old house). Tim here again: Each time I ran by the couch downstairs I checked the hockey score.

In a panic, I decided to take a video of what was going on, thinking it was going to be be a huge issue we might need documentation for down the road. I mean, there was a huge hole in the shower wall with water shooting out of it everywhere and we weren't sure if we would be able to turn it off anytime soon.

I don't think I've ever mentioned here on the blog that both of my parents were attorneys — because of this, I'm always thinking of the worst case scenario and documentation of facts. I think this ingrained nature I have is what caused the following video:

Can you hear how I'm kind-of straining to stay calm? haha.

Things running through my head at this moment:
  • I need to look at our homeowner's policy.
  • I need to document this in case we need proof of damage.
  • Is water pouring down into the wall in addition to out of it?
  • Are we flooding the house?
  • This is ridiculous.
  • I will need to call a plumber.
  • Does Tim know a good plumber?
  • This will probably cost us about $400 to fix.
  • Maybe I could post this video to the blog...
Tim says this is what was going through his mind at the same moment:
  • All I wanted to do this afternoon was watch my hockey game!
I'm not sure if you heard it or not, but I shut the video off when I did because Tim started yelling all the way from down in the basement about not being able to find the shut-off valve.

He eventually found it (down in the basement of all places) and we at least had the water off. At this point I seriously thought we would simply have to make due for a couple days with the water shut off while we called a plumber to come out and fix the problem — but oh how I was wrong about that.

After shutting the water off, Tim just walked towards the door and said, I'm headed to the hardware store, I'll be right back — and was gone before I could say anything. At this point I was wondering if Tim was seriously considering fixing the faucets on his own.

To give you a little background on why I even doubted in the first place — I grew up with an amazing dad who knows how to do many things, and one of those many wonderful skills he has is knowing how to call a repairman.

Poor Tim — all he wanted to do was watch his hockey game! He came home from Pleasant's Hardware with a brand new shower faucet kit and asked "can I finish the hockey game before I play plumber?" I was more than happy for him to watch the game thinking to myself, Tim is ALSO a plumber (remember in previous lives he has been an electrician and a florist)??? What can't my fiancee do?

Ladies — never doubt your man, this is a great example of where Tim usually knows best (usually).

Tip: Tim took the faucet that fell out of the wall into my hand with him to the hardware store and he chose a more local store where the employees are a little more knowledgeable about things and have the time to talk to you. They took a look at the broken faucet and were able to tell him exactly what kit he would need in order to repair the broken lines. I personally would have never thought to do this and thought it was a good pointer — if something's broken, bring it with you (or take a photo with your phone) to the place where you are getting the necessary parts to fix it with.

The stripped part of the broken shower faucet

So yeah, he came home with a basic shower kit that consisted of 3 new chrome faucets and all the hardware to install them. I didn't even know they made "kits" for this type of thing. This is one of those repairs that Tim just followed the kit instructions for with a little basic know-how to boot — it went a little something like this:

Did you catch all that? haha. Once we knew we had properly running water again, we both took a sigh of relief!

All in all, what I thought was going to be a disaster turned out to be a small setback with a few good things that came from it.

Good things that came from this disaster:
  1. We now know where the shut-off valve is for that bathroom.  Tim here: If you buy a 100 year old house this is an important valve to locate. Also, if traveling for extended periods of time we have decided to cut this off all together in case a pipe was to burst while we were gone.
  2. We have new faucets in that bathroom (which were a little wobbly before).
  3. I now know Tim has plumbing experience.
  4. Tim probably saved us $325 by fixing it himself.
  5. We had a post for the blog today. haha.
Have you had any recent home disasters or something unforseen that happened weeks after moving into a new place? Do you or your partner have hidden plumbing/electrical/you-name-it talents that have come in handy in a pinch? We'd love to hear more.


  1. haha...this is a great story! Job well done, Tim.

  2. Oh my gosh we had this happen to us! Although I have to say, it's more funny when it happens to someone else ;) The cuss words muttered during that time were too many to count :) So glad you guys got that under control.

    1. I was not very happy in the heat of the moment but everything turned out fine.

  3. I can relate. We live in an old farm house. We did a remodel of the bathroom with new washer and dryer hook ups. About 6 months later I was doing laundry at 2 in the morning because that is when I had time to do it. Mark was asleep of course. Our washer had walked away from the wall during the spin cycle so I just gave it a little push to put it back and the pipe for the hot water broke off. Water gushed up to the ceiling in a very nice geysor. I am down stairs yelling for Mark who is sleeping. He wakes up, comes down cursing and shouting he doesn't know where the shut off is. When you remodel, make sure that they put in shut off valves. We did not. Good thing my Mark has plumbing knowledge. He went to his place of employment, got some parts came back and had the whole thing fixed in less than an hour. Never even woke the kids up. Husbands are good that way.

    1. Margaret that is hilarious and good for Mark maintaining his composure! Well done.

  4. Shut-off valve is a very important one to know, good thing you've located it now and not later! haha, we just had a leak in the basement bathroom. I had a whole line of projects planned for my hubby when he got off work (he hates when I do that... but you gotta do what you gotta do ;) ) That whole list was pushed aside and he spent the rest of the night taking the toilet system all apart, fixing it up, and putting it back together. Plumbing problems always seem to get in the way of a productive day! (rhyme not intended)

    1. Lauren, I am more of an electrician than a plumber honestly but sometimes you just gotta roll those sleeves up and yes that sht off valve was a big lesson learned!

  5. I also like the way Tim stored the flashlight in his empty left Birkenstock so it wouldn't roll away. A practical man.

    You guys are good storytellers. We have a crappy shower faucet in our hall bathroom that my wife has always hated, and this post is inspiring me to make a trip to the hardware store...

    1. Thanks Quincy it's all about efficiency! I hope your project goes well and it is always about keeping the wife happy! Keep us posted as to how your project goes.

  6. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I have already bookmarked this page and signed up for emails. We only have a 20 year old house, but I can't always get the water turned off in our bath/shower. Now I know how to fix it!


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