DIY plumbing…

This post is not just a story. There is also some basic advice here – what to do, what not to do – stuff like that. However, this is not a “How To” post – sorry if you are looking for that – it isn’t here. This is more of an inspirational post. It is a “You Can Do It” kind of post – if you are so inclined. Plumbing repairs have become really, really easy. So easy, that you don’t really even need a “How To”. Just joking. If you haven’t ever done any plumbing repairs before, a walk down You Tube Lane is probably in order. With all that said, I won’t be offended if you skip the story and go directly to the advice section – it is at the bottom. However, the story does support the advice so it might be worth it…

Ok. Now for the story.

We are “those people”.

We failed to disconnect our hose from the outside spigot. I am guessing you know what happened next. Yes, the water left in the spigot froze, causing the pipe to burst.

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The plus side to this is that it burst in front of the valve so I discovered the leak only after turning on the spigot outside. It could have been a lot worse. It could have burst behind the valve and filled the basement with water. I know this because it has happened before – in our basement – because I forgot to disconnect the hose for the winter.  You’d think I would learn – but no. I cleaned up the mess and broke the bad news to Tad.

Tad seemed almost excited – maybe, even happy. It was weird. Why would Tad be sort of excited and/or happy about a plumbing repair?

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Well.  I soon discovered that Tad had been looking forward to this moment for a while.  Plumbing advances and technology have made some pretty big strides the last few years. So, of course, Tad was hoping for an opportunity to use all that new technology. Our burst pipe was just the moment he was waiting for…

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This moment involved PEX tubing instead of copper piping, and Sharkbite fittings rather than flux and a propane torch.

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We got to skip calling in an actual plumber. Tad was happy about that. I was happy about that. That saved us money and time – and time is money (or so they say). So, you know, it saved us extra money.

And – Tad got to try out Home Depot’s price matching policy. Did you know they have a price matching policy? They do. That saved us even more money – about 25-30% in supply savings.

We got to spend our saved money on dinner at Bang! I had the grilled salmon. Tad had the chicken fried chicken breast. I also had peach cobbler. Yum.

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My job for this project was to hold the flashlight – and provide advice. I am pretty good at both.

Here is the list of things we needed for this repair:

  1. A new 12″ anti-rupture spigot. Though, the anti-rupture label does not mean that it won’t freeze and burst if you leave the hose on during the freezing winter months.
  2. A shutoff valve with appropriate Sharkbite fittings. It is nice to be able to shut off just the affected area when doing plumbing repairs – rather than the entire house. You can take your time, do the needed research, and get it done correctly – without the pressure of knowing you need to get water running again. DSCN5180
  3. A Sharkbite fitting to attach the spigot to the PEX tubing.DSCN5172
  4. A small length of PEX to attach the spigot to the shut off valve.
  5. A 90 degree PEX bender. We first bought the plastic one – it broke – PEX is not as flexible as you would think it should be. We then bought the metal one – it worked great. Buy the metal one. DSCN5182
  6. Some plumber’s tape – for the threaded connection between the spigot and Sharkbite adapter.
  7. Something to cut the PEX with – we used our copper pipe cutter.
  8. Silicone – to seal around the outside of spigot.

Here is our repair – fixed and good to go…

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I am going to guess that it took us 15-20 minutes total to complete this project – excluding research and Home Depot time. Tad likes to do research, so we don’t really count that time. We also like going to Home Depot so that time isn’t a big deal either. The point is that this repair was easy, quick, and did not require any special equipment or skill.

Do you feel inspired?

Here is the advice part:

  1. The best advice is prevention. Avoid the need to do spigot repairs. Disconnect your hose from the spigot before freezing weather sets in.
  2. Just do it! A little research and planning is all that is needed. It is pretty easy – really.
  3. Use shut off valves. It is worth it to be able to shut off a single area rather than the entire house when a repair is needed.
  4. Use PEX and Sharkbites. No special equipment or skills needed. The tubing and adapters just fit together without glue or solder or anything. It just doesn’t get any easier.
  5. Utilize price matching policies at the home improvement store. It can save you significant pennies.
  6. Did you know you can use string to cut PVC pipes?  You can. We didn’t get to do that with this repair. We used string for another repair recently – the overflow drain in the laundry room was leaking – annoying. Anyway, it worked perfectly – and it was fun.
  7. If you are ever in Denver and needing some dinner, look up Bang! It is delicious.