Archive for May, 2018

23 May 2018

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Hey, Hey it’s the Monkeys!

Well, a more than three weeks have gone by since the basement flooded – both a lot and a little has happened. The carpet has dried out, the fans and dehumidifier are gone, large areas of the ceiling have been opened up, the furniture has all been removed for damage assessment – that’s a lot.

The little is the actual repair – I replaced the outdoor faucet for $30.00. It’s amazing how such a small thing can cause such a large problem. The root cause of the problem goes back to the quality of the plumbing in the house and the obvious fact that the plumber was careless, ignorant or incompetent – maybe all three. Maybe you recall some of the previous examples of shoddy work done by our home builders.

When frost-free faucets are installed, there is a wedge-shaped shim supplied that is used to ensure that the tail of the tap (where the valve seat is located) is above the level of the handle – the slope from handle to tail is about 5° upwards. This allows any water in the body of the faucet to flow downhill to the spout, leaving only air in the faucet body. Air doesn’t freeze (well, not in southern Alberta winters, anyway) and thus frozen water lines are avoided.

When the builder’s plumber installed the tap (including the shim!), the task was completed so poorly that the slope of the faucet body was more than 15° downwards from handle to tail. Last winter came late and it got cold and stayed that way from late October to April. When I put the hoses away for the winter, it was only a few days before winter hit hard – not enough time for the standing water in the faucet to evaporate before it froze and split the body of the tap.

At least the plumbing holds water again and while the ceiling has been open I’ve managed to fix a bunch of other issues that came to light once when I took a look at things that had been hidden.  The sump drain was unsupported, as was the main gas line to the furnace. Wires needed to be properly secured and so did several plumbing runs.

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