05 February 2021

More labourious plumbing

 My adventures with the toilet flushing mechanism were still fresh in my mind when I embarked on the next plumbing project. The cold water tap in my bathroom sink had started to drip. It was time to check the washer! And probably replace it. And that should not be too difficult! But maintenance projects in this house often are anyway, due to the several decades in which processes like that have probably not taken place. And it would be like that…

I did what I always do when they embark on one of those projects; I check YouTube to find out how one does things like that. I really love how you can learn almost anything from there! Clumsy academics who have been renting for 40 years can just go and repair whatnot if they just watch a few YouTube videos. It's amazing!

The first thing to do was to flip off the caps that hid the bolts that kept things together. That was easy. Then I had to undo the bolts. That was quite easy as well. And then it became difficult. Then you are supposed to be able to slide the knobs just off. But that never happens in my house! Everything is always rusted in position. And it was like that. These knobs were not going anywhere! I just liberally doused them in penetration oil, and tapped them with a heavy wrench, and left them for a bit. I regularly topped up the penetration oil. And after about 24 hours I managed to get them off! Would that have been the most difficult part? I was about to find out.

The next step was to get the actual tap out. That means unscrewing it while holding tightly on to the snout of the tap so you're not just twisting the piping. But how to hold on to the snout? The shape is awkward for holding on to it with any type of pliers. Ideally, I would just slide some tube over it, and hold onto that. But what sort of tube? Where would I find a tube? I scratched my chin. And I rummaged a bit in my cupboard. And then I thought of my snow shovel. I have one, for winter hiking! And the handle comes apart. And it is wide enough to slide over the tap. It didn't immediately work, but after some more dousing with penetration oil the taps came out! Success! Partial success, at least.

The washers actually looked fine! The metalwork, however, not so much. It looked rather corroded. In the long run, I am sure I will need to have some of the piping replaced. If it would be only the tap I could just buy new parts and put them in! But this was the actual pipe, and that is beyond my capacities. But I think it will last me for a few years more.

What I decided to do was to clean the threads with a wire brush and some metal wool, lubricate it, and put it all together again, but then with the hot water tap and the cold water tap moved around. It's the cold water tap that does all the work; it can take a break now being inserted on the hot side. And that's what I did! And the dripping is over. Success! And if I now want to do something like that again, it will probably be a lot easier, as it will probably be before everything has had the opportunity to seize up like it had done now. And I have learned stuff again!

The easy work is done

Snow shovel to the rescue!

I'm sure it is not supposed to look like that inside

Success! Everything has come undone and can be put back together again. And then I tidy up the growing mound of tools…

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