Help! Please..we are out of town

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by dmj4, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. dmj4

    dmj4 New Member

    My 20 year-old is staying at home by herself and we are on vacation. She took a shower and the hot water faucet will not turn off. We have a shower faucet that is the stem type, possibly American Standard. We walked her through taking the faucet cover off and trying to tighten the stem, but the hot water is still flowing. I feel sure we would not be able to walk her through changing the washer. It is a difficult one to repair.

    Is there anyway to plug the faucet to stop the water flow until we get back or would plugging the faucet blow out the pvc pipes? I hate to have her turn the water off to the entire house. We have cut-offs for the sink, toilet, dishwasher but NOT the tub. How stupid is that?

    An emergency plan to stop the water flow to that one faucet would be of great help to me.

  2. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    You could shut off the valve to the hot water tank but the power should be shut down as well to avoid burning out the elements. If gas, shut off the gas valve that feeds the tank.

    Some shower valves have integral stops that are accessible when you remove the plate, it will have a slot for a flat head screw driver, turn this to stop the flow.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  3. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Why would it blow out the pipe, what do you suppose shutting the valve off does?

    It is not stupid that there isn't a shutoff for the shower valve, it's extremely common.

    Have her shut off the water to the house, and call a plumber.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    I've had that happen when the hot setting was very high. The metal expanded enough so it wouldn't move. The easy fix may be to shut off the main supply, let things cool off, then shut the valve after it cools. If you WH is set above say around 120-degrees, the safest thing to do is add a tempering valve to limit its output to that. Unless something else is defective, it takes REALLY hot water to let that happen. Maybe she was trying to steam some clothes, and just had the hot on for awhile.

    For the future, it's probably time to replace that valve with one meeting current safety codes. Then, this would be unlikely to happen.
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    The showerhead should be a standard 1/2" pipe thread.
    That means that a 1/2" cap on the end of the shower arm, or a 6"x1/2" nipple with cap would do it.
    That would also cause the water to cross over in the valve and mix in the walls, not a big deal, but things like hot or warmed water would be coming out of cold taps.

    You could also turn off the water supply to the hot water heater, making sure either the breakers are off, or tuning down the gas to the vacation setting.

    Since you have separate handles, I'm assuming the home is 60's or older with galvanized pipe. Little chunks can break off and flow through the system, sometimes blocking a valve, but more likely damaging the rubber washers. At some point, you may want to replace with a new pressure balanced single handle with remodel plate.
    Those old shower parts you have are going to be harder and harder to find. The new single handle faucets are also easier to work on.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I've had that happen when the hot setting was very high. The metal expanded enough so it wouldn't move

    You must be one of the lucky ones, because I have NEVER had that happen in 60+ years regardless of how hot the water was. In fact, by that time the heater's T&P valve should have functioned unless it was inoperable, did you test it?
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    This happened once on a rudimentary brass faucet on a laundry tub. Ran hot for awhile (only), and couldn't move the handle to turn it off. Turned the house water supply off, let things cool, and the handle would move fine. It's the only time I've ever noticed it, but it did happen, and no, the WH setting wasn't super hot. Didn't happen if you also ran some cold, since that seemed to limit how hot the whole thing got.
  8. thiggy

    thiggy New Member

    DMJ4, how did your daughter resolve this problem?
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