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