Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home Improvement

I am a bit of a do-it-yourselfer. I like to save money, of course, but that isn’t why I do a lot of home repairs myself… seem to enjoy it. At least, I think I do.

The problem with most do-it-yourself projects is that there is a major disconnect between how one visualizes the job will come out versus how the process actually evolves in reality. Let me give you a quite common and recent example.

Problem: The outdoor faucet on the back of my house leaks.
Solution: After having replaced the washers twice, it’s time to replace the faucet.
Estimated job time: 20 minutes

Step 1 – Go to Home Depot. There are two choices of faucet. Not knowing which one will fit - buy both.

Step 2 – After shutting off the water supply, crawl under the house and clamp a vice grip wrench on the pipe so it doesn’t unscrew the galvanized steel extension screwed into the copper supply line.

Step 3 – Unscrew the faucet. However, the wood mounting plate is in the way; it will need to be cut away for the faucet to be unscrewed.

Step 4 – Begin sawing the wood mounting plate with a hand saw to free the faucet. The saw bends. It will require a power reciprocating saw.

Step 5 – Insert a new saw blade into the reciprocating saw. The new blade will not insert due to a stability pin in the saw chuck.

Step 6 – Find a slotted screwdriver and force it into the saw chuck with a hammer to move the stability pin so the blade can be inserted. All the screwdrivers in the tool box are Phillips.

Step 7 – Pound the saw blade into the saw chuck with a wooden mallet.

Step 8 – Use a hammer to remove the saw blade now embedded in the wooden mallet. It's now taken an hour to put a blade in the saw... normally a 15 second job.

Step 9 – Return to sawing the wooden faucet mounting plate with the power reciprocating saw. The saw blade breaks.

Step 10 – Using a hammer and chisel, chip away at the wooden faucet mounting plate until the faucet is free and can be safely unscrewed.

Step 11 – Using a pipe wrench, unscrew the faucet fixture. Note that it surprisingly comes completely free after a mere ¼ turn. Discover that is because the faucet’s rusty and corroded threaded coupling has completely BROKEN OFF inside the copper fitting under the house.

Step 12 – Locate a blow torch which is now needed to unsolder and remove the now damaged copper fitting under the house.

Now approaching the three-hour mark, PAUSE momentarily to assess just how “well” this job has gone so far… Visualize using a blow torch under the house on copper pipes fixed to the wood beams and with the water completely shut off.

Step 13 – Call a licensed plumber to come to the house to replace the faucet.

Cost: $158.00
Plumbers repair time: 20 minutes.
NOT burning down the house: Priceless.


kara said...

that's hilarious. at least you didn't break any ribs this time.

Robert the Skeptic said...

When the wife comes home and asks what I did that day, I can usually show her some form of cut or bruise to validate my "work". [sigh]

Charlie said...

In honor of this great post, I've posted an old story of my own in your honor.

BTW, I wouldn't know a reciprocating saw if I saw one.

Mary Witzl said...

GREAT post. You and my husband could trade notes on DIY projects. He replaced a sink in Wales once and I wish he hadn't: it took him hours; we were out the cost of two sink units (like you, he buys both when he doesn't know which one he needs); and when the real plumber came, he cost a lot.

I had to beg him not to attempt the molding around the window frames.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

I found this through Charlie.

We have a broken faucet and some electrical repairs that need to be made around the house.. for this reason - I will not let my husband touch either - especially the electric.

moka said...

That's very Cool Info.!

1800 said...

Hey Robert. I am also same kind of person like you. I do everything about home repairs for my self. I have been looking for some tips to replace faucet in my home as part of home improvement along with replacement of my ceiling with new one. I found the tips given here very useful. I follow these tips in for my home improvement job.