Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Shutoff Valves

This is Boyfriend.

So, Boyfriend bought a house a few months ago. It's an adorable late 60s home that seems well constructed and reminds me so strongly of my parents' house, that I felt instantly at home. Boyfriend's new house had had one owner, and elderly woman who had recently passed away.  Which means that the house hadn't been well maintained in about a decade.

So it's got it's quirks and it's problems, and it's overgrown trees, a few of which the home inspection didn't find. And while Boyfriend has helped me put in a laminate floor, a whole kitchen, shelves, tile, trees, paint, etc., Boyfriend is not confident when it comes to home ownership and his own handiness. (He is actually quite handy - though not as much as my fabulous self.)

So when his shutoff valve was leaking for his washing machine, he waited for me to help him fix it. All I really did was sit on the floor and tell him what to do. 

First thing we had to do was turn off the water. You can either get the city to do this, or you can buy a key to do it yourself for about 10 bucks.  
It's called a curb key and it looks like this.
An easy way to test if the water is actually off is to set up a lawn sprinkler you can see from the shutoff, which is generally in the front of your house. You know the water is off when the sprinkler goes off. 

Then you need to remove the old fixtures. Luckily, they were screwed on, not soldered on, or we would have probably called a plumber. (I could have fixed it, but Boyfriend doesn't trust me not to burn down his house yet.)
Righty tighty, lefty loosie.
Boyfriend used the vice grips to hold the pipe still. This is important, so you don't untwist any pluming lower down in the wall, and cause a huge leak that you can't get to, and have to rip out the wall. He then used the adjustable wrench to twist counter clockwise on the shut off valve. 

Then you take the old valves to the hardware store and find new ones that match. This process can be sped up by looking cute and stupid and ditching your boyfriend to ask whatever young male employee can be found near the plumbing section. 

Or, you know, you can know what you're doing. Either way. 
Shiny and not corroded!
We took off the plastic nut, because we didn't need it. Then it's just a matter of screwing the new fixture in, and using the vise grips and the adjustable wrench to make sure it's good and tight.

Does anyone else see an angry robot face in this picture?
And then you hook up the washer and dryer, turn the water back on, and test for leaks.
No leaks! First try! Woohoo!
Boyfriend did really well with this, which was his first real home repair. Apart from instructions, I barely helped at all. I think he's feeling more confident about home ownership now.

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