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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘plumbing

Playing Plumber

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Picking up where things left off Saturday night, I started Sunday with a trip to Hudson to pick up the new kitchen faucet fixtures I bought online the night before. Around twelve hours after discovering the problem of dripping water beneath the sink, I was driving home with the solution in my possession. What a luxury to have such easy access to the specific items we seek.

For all the times I grump about the problems related to over-consumerism in society, I do benefit from the conveniences offered.

However, despite all the benefits of readily available goods, the faucet still didn’t install itself. This morning my body is a little stiff and sore from playing plumber for the hours spent figuring out how to dismantle the old leaky parts and then reversing the process to install the new set.

Much to my great satisfaction, the details of this plumbing project were all within my ability to deduce and execute, despite having little experience with plumbing.

Twice, I was able to get a little extra practice by doing things over after discovering I had made errors. The whole time I was working on this project, I thought the line with the drippy shutoff valve was the cold water supply, so when I did the initial flow test, I discovered I’d connected the lines wrong.

Easy to fix, so with only that single trip to the hardware store, I completed the sink project in time for lunch.









That left me the afternoon to suffer clearing some of the most un-fun snow ever that was the result of Saturday’s rain and the following flakes that relentlessly continued to blow across our land off and on since.

Both shovel and plow were only half a match for the underlayer of frozen crunch that sometimes popped free with ease, but more often stayed welded to the ground below. Trying to clean it all up was a relatively thankless task, which made it easy to retreat from the battle after a minimum effort and seek a few moments of chill in the easy chair before Sunday was completely over.

I thoroughly enjoyed washing my hands at the kitchen sink when I got in.




Written by johnwhays

December 2, 2019 at 7:00 am

Just Yucky

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Overall, yesterday rates a solid “Yuck” on the scale of pleasurable days. Most notable of our multiple grievances was the weather. My least favorite condition during our snow season is rain, and that is what we received in the middle of the day. After that, the temperature drops enough to turn the precipitation to snowflakes, but then also locks the wetness on the ground into ice.

It’s a hassle to plow and shovel and a hazard to walk and drive on. Seriously yucky.

I had hoped to avoid the great outdoors for the afternoon and enjoy college football on tv, but the Minnesota team I root for was soundly defeated by rival Wisconsin. Far from any joy to be had there, but plenty of yuck.

How could the night end any worse?

How about sprawled out upside down under the kitchen sink trying to dismantle old fittings in search of the once intermittent small leak under the faucet that picked yesterday evening to reveal itself as not very intermittent any more.

Two things I discovered: It was not clear at all which point on the fixture was leaking and the rarely-used shutoff valve on the cold water line didn’t seal all that well. Drip. Drip. Drip.

We decided to solve the first problem by simply replacing the whole works with a new faucet. That means this morning we have no water in the kitchen and I need to venture out in the winter storm to pick up the replacement. That’s a little yucky, but with a potential solution making it worth the risk.

Today offers one other bright spot for us. It is the last day of the deer hunting season! We can stop making Delilah wear the extra blaze orange harness that she glumly tolerates.

Tomorrow is going to be even better. Sunshine is forecast to replace the stormy sky. I’m hoping we’ll have water in the kitchen sink again, too.



Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2019 at 9:59 am

Unbelievable Response

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Words you don’t want to hear when you are seated in an easy chair in the dwindling minutes before dinnertime:

“Honey, there’s no water pressure.”

What do I know about plumbing? Not much, but I know how to investigate. We cleaned the filter, but that didn’t seem like it was bad enough to be the problem.

I could see the pressure gauge reading confirmed Cyndie’s assessment of┬áno water pressure. Next question was the electric control. I removed a screw and pulled the panel off.

Bingo! The capacitor had blown its top.

Um, now what? Who ya gonna call?

I asked Google. The first hit in the area was a well drilling contractor in River Falls that was listed as being open 24 hours. I don’t know how they can be open 24 hours, but I called and left my phone number and a brief message. I received a return call within about five minutes.

Words you want to hear when you have no water pressure in the dwindling minutes before dinnertime:

“I’m available to come right away.”

A half an hour later, the control panel was replaced, a new pressure gauge installed, and water pressure was back to normal.




Written by johnwhays

April 10, 2019 at 6:00 am

Nuisance Items

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Sunday dawned to an open agenda for us at the ranch, and I had it in mind to chip away at some small nuisance items that have been lingering, but not demanding immediate action.

IMG_1674eRecently, the rope gasket around one of the fireplace doors came loose and it flaps around, getting caught out of position when the door is swung shut. Also, Cyndie has been saying that the soap dispenser on the door of the dishwasher is not working correctly. I planned to do some online research for both topics, so started there.

I quickly refined my search for rope gasket replacement kits, and then learned that one of the pieces, specifically, the one that has come loose on ours, is glued in place. Seriously? What glue do they use for that!? Something non-flammable, and able to endure extreme heat and still hold, I hope. I redirected my search to looking for a dealer in my area.

Being located as close to the Twin Cities as we are, I often question whether I should be looking in Minnesota, or Wisconsin, for good and services. Usually, results are better when searching Minneapolis/St. Paul. I found a couple of options for moderately convenient dealer locations in Minnesota for our fireplace. Then I checked Wisconsin and discovered a renewable energy expert company just 5-miles from us in Ellsworth. That’ll do just fine. I’m hoping to visit them today and discuss my situation with a knowledgeable professional.

Next, to the dishwasher.

I had pretty good luck finding a service manual and parts list for our model. Troubleshooting advice was harder to uncover. It appears the dispenser assembly will be about $70, and is in stock, if that ends up needing to be replaced. I decided to remove screws in the door and get inside for a look. I’m guessing my odds of making it better are about equal with my chances of making it worse. It didn’t leak when I started, I sure hope it won’t when I’m through.

I got to the business side of the dispenser and found a solenoid that should release the soap door latch. I removed the solenoid and then rigged up a way to put voltage to the coil. It worked, so I put it back together to test it again, in place. That also worked. The soap door popped open when I triggered the solenoid. Unfortunately, that leaves me to think it isn’t receiving a signal from the controller during the cycle. I don’t know how to test that. We are down to calling an appliance technician.

IMG_1668eWith luck, we might find someone who knows a little plumbing, too. While I was working on the kitchen floor, and Cyndie was occasionally using the sink, I found we have a leak around one of the sink drains. I developed a suspicion about it when I reached for the box of dishwasher soap, and the bottom appeared to have gotten wet at some time. I was keeping one eye under the sink as she used it, and caught it dripping.

My plumbing expertise is limited to tightening a nut or a fitting, to get a better seal. I tried turning a nut under the drain, and it turned rather easy. I was hoping to feel it get tighter, but it didn’t. It started to deform the rounded metal underside of the drain that it pushes against. I stopped and checked to find it still leaks. Whatever I was doing, it wasn’t helping.

I decided to stop trying to fix things for the rest of the day. I’m gonna need to learn a bit more about plumbing or we’ll be facing the added expense of another visit from a service person.

Written by johnwhays

February 18, 2013 at 7:00 am