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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where's the Pressure

I managed to screw up my neighbor's water pressure.

A few days ago, we got home to a flooded downstairs powder room.  I quickly turned the shutoff valve; however, the water was still leaking.  After consulting with The Home Depot's Home Improvement 1-2-3 book, I realized that the issue was with the shutoff valve itself. 

In order to change the valve, I would need to disconnect the main water source.  Living in Texas, where we rarely see temperatures drop below 32° F, the main water switch is located outside.

I went outside in search for my cut off switch on Sunday.  I uncovered a pipe cover to find a valve that looked to be the cut off switch. I turned the valve one way, but the water at my home was still on.  I then realized that this was probably my neighbor, so I turned it the other way.

I walked around the house to look for my line.  Then gave up.

I was about to turn my computer off and head for bed when my wife asked me to look outside the window.  I noticed the city's truck with its lights on.  "Oh crap!" 

I walked outside, approached the city worker and asked what was going on.  He told me that the neighbor was experiencing low water pressure.

I quickly confessed and said that I was messing around looking for my cutoff switch and turned his by mistake.

"No, your switch is somewhere here," he said pointing to grass-covered ground.  With his shovel, he gently unearthed my cutoff valve.

"Your pressure valve should be located around the the same area," he added.

Although my neighbor's water was on, the pressure was not. 

I contacted a friend's husband to help me out with the situation.  After explaining the situation, he hypothesized that the issue was that the threaded valve was worn and probably broke when I turned it.

He proved his hypothesis as he removed the broken threaded valve.  The inside was completely closed.  The plumber replaced the broken valve with a new ball valve.  The replacement did take a while as the plumber struggled to fit the pipes with the new ball valve.

After he corrected my neighbor's pipes, he fixed the original problem--the toilet leak in the powder room.  He replaced the supply line valve with a quarter turn ball valve and the supply line to the tank.  The toilet is working again. 

Tonight I learned a ton about plumbing, but the biggest thing I did learn was to LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS.

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