No cold water in new shower

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I hired a handyman for another job and asked him to check a leak in a shower.

He found a very old shower mixer valve that leaked and said I needed to replace it. He gave me a good price to trash the existing bathroom and replace the shower walls, tile, tub, sinks, etc.

Then the adventure began. He took about twice as long as he estimated.

When he exposed the plumbing behind the shower he found two shutoff valves. I glanced at them and readily understood the flow of water. The house had an addition added before I bought it, and the pipes brought water to the tub, went through the shutoff valves, and disappeared in the wall, obviously heading towards the addition.

But my "master plumber" could not figure this out and closed the shutoff valves and began cutting pipe. Pretty soon his assistant came running down the stairs and dove into the basement to shut off the water by the mains.

The handyman said he had to run to the store for parts and asked if I wanted shutoff valves added to the shower. I said we'd never had them before, so no. When he returned from the store he disappeared into the bathroom. After some time the assistant appeared and said the handyman wanted me to come up.

When I went up he said he purchased to new shutoff valves for $70 apiece and urged me to let him install them. I'd been out of work for six months and had to keep expenses at a minimum. However the original leak was coming down through my kitchen ceiling, mold had formed in the sheet rock, so I really wanted it fixed.

I again told him we didn't have valves before and I didn't want to buy them. Then he claimed they were not returnable, which they certainly were.

Then he said he was going to redo the plumbing so the valve and shower head were centered. He spent the rest of the day working on it.

Later when the job was nearly done, I noticed the shower head and control handled were not even close to centered.

Curiously the shutoff valves had been buried in the wall all this time, so I had him add an access panel from a room on the other side of the wall.

After he was done and gone my daughter complained the tub would not hold water. I played with it and fixed it.

Then she complained the new sink was leaking by the trap. I had another handyman at the time and he found a broken compression ring and replaced it.

Then my daughter complained there was no cold water in the shower.

The handyman gave me a fixed price for the work, and I was surprised to discover he would not allow me to select the sink faucet and shower hardware, even if I offered to pay the difference.

He had purchased cheap hardware and I'm sure took a mark-up on it, but was not bright enough to realize he could let me select other options and pay the difference.

He threw away all the manuals as well. At one point I discovered a manual for something else in the garbage, grabbed it, then asked him to leave all manuals with me. He gave me a look like I was crazy and failed to leave me with any other manuals.

I texted him asking for the valve brand and model, but he never replied. The helper he hired came by one day so I asked him about it. The helper said the handyman could not remember what valve he gave me, and was so poorly organized, had lost the receipt.

The helper reminded the handyman that he could go to Home Depot and show then his credit card and they could pull all purchases bought with that card. However the handyman, for some reason, does not want to do this.

All I know about it is the handle is a single handle that goes from cold to hot. But when you position it for cold, hot water comes out. If you position it for hot, hot water also comes out. The handyman did say the valve had a feature to prevent being scalded when someone flushes the toilet.

Since this is new I have to think it was not installed correctly, or some part broke.

I don't want to see that handyman any more. He made various claims, such as he's been doing this work for 30 years, and he can do any plumbing. He also bragged about his caulking ability. One day he reported the bathroom "finished" (actually the third day in row). I went to look at it and found there were several things not completed yet.

I prefer not to caulk because when I do, it looks amateurish. So when it looked at his caulking work, I swear I could have done a better job.

I had water in my basement when my main sump pump broke and my backup pump had s bad switch. The backup pump was water powered but I had bought a cheap model prone to switch failures. I found a good quality pump to replace it. Revewers said they had to hire a lumber to run water to the pit, but they generally got it installed themselves in 2-4 hours.

Now I already had a water line, with a shutoff valve in the pit from my broken pump, so I had my handyman install the new one. It took him three days.

When we tested it he discovered he needed a check valve on both pumps. The water powered pump worked, but the water just ran to the point where both pumps were joined to take the water up and outside. So the water simply went back down towards the main pipe and back into the pit.

The problem was obvious, but it took twenty minutes of discussion before he saw the light and agreed to install a second check valve.

Between that time and the time he went to the store to pick up the second valve, he seemed to forget why we needed a second check valve at all, and we had to discuss it a couple more times.

By the time he installed the second valve, for some reason he decided to move the other valve, and he moved it into a location that prevented it from working.

I caught this by chance and asked him to fix it.

I have a second pit that collects water from a sink, the air conditioner, the humidifier, etc. and pumps it into the sewage line. I had another new sump pump so I asked him to install that as well so I'd have some sort of backup for the second pit. This request just confused him, and at one point he decided I must have a third pit! I had to take him down to the basement and show him what I wanted done.

Then the next morning he showed up and announced both pits gets water from the drain tiles. I knew this was incorrect but didn't think it would hurt, and left the comment alone.

Later I took a look at the pits and sure enough, only one pit was connected to the tiles. I mentioned this contradiction to him, nd he didn't answer.

By luck I happened to be in the basement when he was about to leave for the day and found both pumps unplugged from the electrical outlet. I ran outside and caught him sitting in his van smoking a cigarette with his helper. (He had left cigarette butts all over my garage and scattered about my front lawn).

When he heard about the pumps not being plugged in he said they shouldn't be like that and he returned to the house to plug them in. He came back up and said his assistant forgot to plug them in.

The next day his assistant told me he was arguing with the handyman about the very same issue. He said the handyman told him he didn't think the pit would over flow overnight, and purposely left them unplugged.

Sorry but I'm just getting started. I'll skip the rest, but I was amazed with this guy. He ended every conversation with "God Bless" and claimed I wouldn't go to heaven even if I went to church every Sunday, and was a good person. Apparently the only way I'll get to go to heaven is if I join HIS church.

He lied a lot for a religious man. We had several political discussions but they stopped when it became clear he knew nothing about politics. On day he claimed Obama was ruining the economy, so I simply stated the data didn't support that conclusion. He looked perplexed so I told him the economy was tanking as Bush left office and six months later it had turned around and we;ve had growth every month since.

"Who told you that" he asked angrily, as if I'd been duped by someone making up statistics.

"Um, the news, the economists, my little brother, a very conservative banker, even Fox news." I've never heard that" he stated doubtfully.

My questions are:
1. What can I do to determine the problem and fix it. 'm fairly handy and would prefer to fix this myself.
2. What are good sites to publish an honest and accurate review of his work.




Master Plumber
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Cave Creek, Arizona
I would not discuss religion or politics, especially Obama, with you as a customer. It appears that this handyman is a super salesman, since you seem to keep having him do the work. I doubt that he has ANY contractor licenses so the regulatory boards would could only institute a lawsuit to shut him down, and since that is time and money intensive, they seldom bother. IF you had used a plumber it would probably not have happened in the first place, but if it did the licensing board would have the authority to make him redo it properly, or possibly have it done and charge the original contractor for it. You went the "cheap" way with a handyman and you have little recourse other than to call someone else and have the problems corrected. "$70.00 valves"? I don't believe it.


The Plumbing Wizard
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Bothell, Washington
I hired a handyman :(

So sorry.

Like hj mentioned, you may want to check to see if he is even licensed to do work in your state.
In addition, plumbers are "required" to have an apprenticeship of three or four years, pass a written test, and keep current on their plumbing knowledge.

My son and I just finished up setting trim in a four bath home that a handyman had started. We had to redo a lot of the work that had been started and left dangling. Even some of the work that he had completed, we had to take apart and redo. It's all good now though.

Any pump connected to a sump requires a check valve to prevent the pump from running day and night.

We always leave all paper work with the customer.

You may want to post some pictures here. 800 pixels or less.

We do work for everyone. I don't concern myself with what their personal beliefs are. I'm just there to fix and install things.
That's plenty enough to worry about.
Seattle is a huge melting pot. I get to work with people from all over the world. I like it.

You may want to pull the plate on the shower valve and see if you have a hot line coming into the valve. Run the shower and feel the pipes coming in, and check to see what side the hot is plumbed to.
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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