Complete Idiot Plumbing
Posted by Dean Smith on July 14, 19100 at 01:48:07:
I had just mastered sweating copper pipe, so last October I decided to try to fix my outdoor faucet (sillcock) that was leaking. First I tightened the nut to squueze the packing tighter, but that didn't do it., so of course that meant I had to replace it (Washers?? Nah!).

So I loosen the fastening screws & twist the faucet a bit with a wrench in case it screws off. No go. I pull it out a bit (there was a fair amount of back & forth play) & notice an odd size copper pipe. What the hell, I grab my trusty pipe cutter & start in. Boy, it sure seemed thicker than the copper pipe I had worked with, but that doesn't discourage me as I eventually break through and pull out some long rod thing with a washer at the end. I sensed something was up, but it was too late. I

Now I need to put the new faucet on the old pipe, and the copper 1/2" or 3/4" male adaptor doesn's seem to fit onto the odd sized pipe I have. Eventually, I find some weird brass nipple thing that happens to have an inside diameter that fits my pipe. I solder the REGULAR, PLAIN OLD FAUCET on, screw on the new faucet and pat myself on the back for my cleverness in solving this dilema. No leaks, no problems.

Less than two weeks later, I'm watching some home improvement show and low & behold, they talk about sillcocks! The host went on to explain how in northern climes the recessed washer on sillcocks is needed so the water doesn't freeze in the faucet and "flood your whole house". Panic sets in, as my master bedroom is in the finished basement DIRECTLY BELOW THE FAUCET!! What have I done?!?! How do I fix it?

Well, I AM a little proud of my solution. I can't go in through the basement bedroom-it would involve drywall, painting etc. So I cut a hole in the floor ABOVE the plumbing (after pulling up the carpet, luckily there's no wood or tile) and I CORRECTLY cut out my mistake & install a proper sillcock & seal things back up. I noticed that my twisting on the old faucet had twisted the copper 90 degree fitting deep in the wall, so if the frozen faucet hadn't gotten me, I'm sure the pipe would have given out anyway!

What did I learn? To ask people (like Terry Love) what to do before you go chopping things. To look for the easiest solution (REPLACING THE WASHER!!) instead of looking to strut my newfound rudimentiary knowledge with a big project. This didn't dampen my DIY plumbing yen, I am now remodeling/replumbing a bathroom, but it made me a LOT more careful!

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