As I’ve said before, elementary plumbing is nothing to be afraid of, and knowing your way around your bathroom fixtures can save you a lot of money and time.
When the Pie and I first moved in together, we had a massive apartment in Ottawa’s Little Italy: fifteen hundred square feet. Three bedrooms, each with its own sink, two bathrooms, and of course the kitchen sink. And every single faucet dripped. Not only was this loud and annoying, but a complete waste of water.
When confronted with this conundrum, my landlord, whose grasp of English was rudimentary at best, thought hard for a minute before telling me to “just-a turrrn eet reeeel a-hard.”
Not surprisingly, this rather simplistic solution had already occurred to me. And of course simply turning the tap “reeeeel a-hard” did nothing.
Fixing a leaky faucet is probably one of the more simple things you can do yourself, however, so I was able to fix the six sinks myself in no time.
Faucets usually leak because the washer in the faucet needs to be tightened or replaced. In most cases, a simple tightening will do. Each tap handle has a little cap on it, usually the thing that tells you whether the tap is HOT or COLD. Use a putty knife or other flat object to pry these caps off.
Underneath you will see the screw that holds the washer in place.
If the washer needs replacing you can just unscrew it and stick a new one in, but most of the time you just need to stick the screwdriver in and tighten the screw as far as it will go.
Replace the caps, maybe after cleaning around the hole a bit first, and there you go. No more leaky faucet. Five minutes of love gives you so much peace.
And speaking of getting the love, today is our second wedding anniversary. Love you Pie! Seven years along and still going strong …
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Sunday night: a raging downpour that continues to Monday. Kº hears a steady dripping sound in his bathroom ceiling. Is it the rain, or is it something else?
Monday evening: the dripping continues, despite the fact that the rain has stopped. All Elizabeth residents, Il Principe included despite his age, are called in for consultation. The bathroom ceiling is noticeably bulging. The Pie, given his freakish height advantage, gives the ceiling a good poke. Everything is squishy. The dripping can be heard by all present. This is obviously an internal leak, and as our bathroom is directly above KK’s bathroom, the culprit is either our ancient sink or our even more ancient toilet, which our landlord has decided not to replace, as the matching green fixtures are kitschy and cool. Landlord and contractor are notified. We wait. I didn’t take pictures, sorry.
Tuesday morning: the ceiling, full of water, gives way (obviously). Elizabeth is full to the brim with unintelligible Newfoundland handy men and their tools. The carpenter’s pickup is pulled into KK’s driveway (the bed is full of pieces of wood, that’s how I can tell), and the plumber’s pickup is pulled into our driveway (the bed is filled with tubes and piping, that’s how I can tell).
Tuesday afternoon: the ceiling comes down and is taken away. KK’s bathroom is full of people fixing it, but the water is turned off in our apartment, because the pipe behind the toilet is spraying water everywhere downstairs. Nobody can pee. My research proposal takes a back seat to the chaos that reigns in the house (and the fact that my new kitchen scales and artisan bread book have arrived). At one point the plumber comes in and drills a hole in my bathroom floor, and sticks a tube in it.
Later he comes back and attaches a small pipe to the toilet.
Later, the water comes on and spurts and burbles all over the place. Then it goes off again.
Tuesday evening: the super-nice plumber leaves for the night. KK’s ceiling is completely missing but nothing is leaking. The contractor will replace the ceiling in a couple days.
Interesting information: the carpenter tells Kª before he leaves that Elizabeth is actually one of the oldest houses on the whole street (which is a freaking long street, for that matter), and that back in the day (this is circa 1920 or so), it was quite the fancy establishment.
More interesting information: you can see the old crown mouldings in the bathroom after they removed the ceiling.
The contractor told me there was a double floor there that they have removed. Lending credence to my belief (judging from the decor of my kitchen) that the house was converted to apartments in the 1960s, the carpenter found a beer bottle in the ceiling, an old one (India Beer is a local brew – the logo is a Newfoundland dog – it’s not bad).
The date on the inside of the label says 1 63 5 (5 January 1963? 1 May 1963?). The modern stuff is made by Molson and looks like this, but I just found a link that told me bottles like this from the sixties are selling on eBay for $20. Go figure. Kª saved it for me, and it’s on my mantle now. I think my dad might get a kick out of it.
What’s awesome is I took a ‘before’ picture of the bathroom to get a good perspective if they were going to take out the floor or whatever. Aside from that little pipe, nothing has changed. I feel bad because the leak was all because of our toilet, and it’s KK’s bathroom that got destroyed.
Kª has taken some pictures, too – I’ll post them if I can get ’em.
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