Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
Wow, didn't see that coming! Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Wow, didn't see that coming!

    When you have done plumbing for many years and have learned the ropes, you get to a point where you can handle most anything without surprises. Today I had a pretty good surprise I did not see coming and it will change the way I handle things in the future and how I advise others in order to avoid potential disasters.

    Here we go:

    I was doing the simple job of replacing a kitchen type faucet in a multi-miillion dollar home in southern California. I wanted to get started and after inspecting under the sink discovered they had the one piece type angle stops with corrugated water supply lines - "all in one". I told the owner's wife that I would need to replace the existing "all in one" angle stops/supply lines with new angle stops and stainless steel braided supply lines. She was fine with this, but advised me I couldn't turn the water off to the home as her husband was running late for an appointment and would be jumping in the shower any moment. I told her not to worry and that I could shut off the water in 15-20 minutes when her husband was finished.

    I turned off the water to the 2 angle stops so I could get started right away. They had the traditional handle that you turn several times to get it into the full "off" position. I turned on the kitchen faucet to verify the water was actually fully off. I noticed a very small drip, but decided I could deal with it by just using a bucket to catch any residual water below the sink.

    I disconnected the hot and cold supply lines from the old faucet. The hot side was the one dripping very slowly. I removed the old faucet and was just getting the new one in place when hot water started blowing out the end of the supply line on the hot side. The angle stop valve that I had turned off was now fully "on" in a split second.

    The first reaction anyone has to water blowing (flooding) out of something is to try to put their hand on it. This worked for a few seconds while I made the agonizing conclusion that I was screwed and would have some degree of flooding no matter how quick I got to the house shut off.

    I directed the line further down into the bucket I had - which was actually a plastic shoe box and made the dash to the shut off. I was able to locate the hot water shut off and get it turned off within 20 seconds.

    Went back into the kitchen and was able to mop up using a bunch of Costco microfiber towels in less than a couple minutes. Whew - disaster averted!!!!

    I have never seen an angle stop just open randomly ("fail") when in the closed position. I have been called in to work on numerous kitchen/bathroom remodels that were started by others. After shutting off the angle stops, they rip out the old vanities and counters. I get called in later in the process to put in the new stuff. Often I find dripping supply lines and these are usually directed into the remaining p-trap.

    Now that I have witnessed an old angle stop just suddenly blow open after appearing to be off, I will be telling my associates not to trust them and not to leave them open ended.

    Even if turned off, don't leave old angle stops open ended if they are to be unattended for any length of time. Run a supply line from one angle stop to the other if you need to leave them unattended. If they are the one-piece angle stop/supply line all in one, replace them with new and run a supply line from one valve to the other for good measure.

    Oh, and by the way, the owner did get his hot water shut-off while mid-shower and had to finish with cold water only. He seemed to be understanding, but this was purely on a social level as you could imagine.

  • #2
    Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

    While I'm not a plumber, I do work on my own stuff (damn HO hacks) and will have the occasion to work on some rentals that mom and dad own and one that I own. I'll keep that tidbit of info in mind.

    Thanks for posting!
    www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

      dakota, i imagine you're dealing with the brasscraft oval handle shut offs. the problem was the stem being plastic was so worn that there was not enough thread to hold it shut. the chlorine and chloramines weakened the plastic.

      now the round handle stops with multiple turns use the handle to screw the stop shut. the stem is just floating and the handle is the thread.

      the old 1/4 turn brasscraft were junk. these were made of a "space age polymer" that i knew was going to be an issue and advised the shop not to use them. i was right

      you got lucky and did a great job in responding so quick

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

        My number one plumbing tool I use on every job to have on standby is a 5 gallon shop vac. I can't tell you how many times it saved me from unexpected disaster! Instant damage control! Don't leave home without it!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

          Wow, well good reaction time! Thanks for the info, I hate one piece type angle stops especially in condos where there is no individual shut off. I have had people get mad thinking I am ripping them off because I tell them I have to replace it even though it turns off and on. I wont mess with them unless I am replacing them. Usually I will disconnect the fixture first, but not anymore!
          Ray

          “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
          Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

          www.mauiplumbinginc.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

            i've not run into the all in one valves... I hope not to

            My trick for angle stops (yes, it was learned the hard way) is to keep a few compression caps on-hand.

            There was a time that if the HO didn't wanna replace it, even if it would not shut off all the way, I had to just make it work.

            Fortunately, those days are GONE.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

              I've had brand new valves do that. Thats why when I install one of those fancy satin nickel, or venetian bronze valves, on a toilet, or lav, I now make sure, the supply outlet is either capped, or connected up to fixture. Very scary when your in a multi- level house, or bldg.
              I also had an issue on a standard Brass Craft R-19 angle valve. Turned water off at stop, & hot water dripped a bit. So I gave it a little snug, after I disconnected supply tube, & it started spraying out. I hooked up a new supply tube, quickly to direct it into a bucket, & thankfully homeowner, was able to go turn water off for me. I grabbed every pan in sight, to fill, while waiting for water to be turned off.
              What happened was the washer had come loose out of valve stem, & was lodged partially into the opening, to supply. It was brittle, & broke the rest of the way, when I tried to snug it.
              I always gotta find the main shut off, & know where it is, when doing these type of jobs. Thats why I avoid multi- unit bldgs. Something happens in one of those & your SOL. And the previous guys there never wanted to shut bldg down either, so these supply valves, & stop & waste valves, that have washers in them, are disasters, waiting to happen.
              Last edited by Don the plumber; 04-21-2010, 07:17 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                Doesn't this make you think about that "crazy guy" who actually installed 400 angle valves in 1 day. Hey Rick, you think that guy capped all those valves, or what

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                  Originally posted by Dakota View Post
                  When you have done plumbing for many years and have learned the ropes, you get to a point where you can handle most anything without surprises. Today I had a pretty good surprise I did not see coming and it will change the way I handle things in the future and how I advise others in order to avoid potential disasters.

                  Here we go:

                  I was doing the simple job of replacing a kitchen type faucet in a multi-miillion dollar home in southern California. I wanted to get started and after inspecting under the sink discovered they had the one piece type angle stops with corrugated water supply lines - "all in one". I told the owner's wife that I would need to replace the existing "all in one" angle stops/supply lines with new angle stops and stainless steel braided supply lines. She was fine with this, but advised me I couldn't turn the water off to the home as her husband was running late for an appointment and would be jumping in the shower any moment. I told her not to worry and that I could shut off the water in 15-20 minutes when her husband was finished.

                  I turned off the water to the 2 angle stops so I could get started right away. They had the traditional handle that you turn several times to get it into the full "off" position. I turned on the kitchen faucet to verify the water was actually fully off. I noticed a very small drip, but decided I could deal with it by just using a bucket to catch any residual water below the sink.

                  I disconnected the hot and cold supply lines from the old faucet. The hot side was the one dripping very slowly. I removed the old faucet and was just getting the new one in place when hot water started blowing out the end of the supply line on the hot side. The angle stop valve that I had turned off was now fully "on" in a split second.

                  The first reaction anyone has to water blowing (flooding) out of something is to try to put their hand on it. This worked for a few seconds while I made the agonizing conclusion that I was screwed and would have some degree of flooding no matter how quick I got to the house shut off.

                  I directed the line further down into the bucket I had - which was actually a plastic shoe box and made the dash to the shut off. I was able to locate the hot water shut off and get it turned off within 20 seconds.

                  Went back into the kitchen and was able to mop up using a bunch of Costco microfiber towels in less than a couple minutes. Whew - disaster averted!!!!

                  I have never seen an angle stop just open randomly ("fail") when in the closed position. I have been called in to work on numerous kitchen/bathroom remodels that were started by others. After shutting off the angle stops, they rip out the old vanities and counters. I get called in later in the process to put in the new stuff. Often I find dripping supply lines and these are usually directed into the remaining p-trap.

                  Now that I have witnessed an old angle stop just suddenly blow open after appearing to be off, I will be telling my associates not to trust them and not to leave them open ended.

                  Even if turned off, don't leave old angle stops open ended if they are to be unattended for any length of time. Run a supply line from one angle stop to the other if you need to leave them unattended. If they are the one-piece angle stop/supply line all in one, replace them with new and run a supply line from one valve to the other for good measure.

                  Oh, and by the way, the owner did get his hot water shut-off while mid-shower and had to finish with cold water only. He seemed to be understanding, but this was purely on a social level as you could imagine.
                  I think you should be nominated just for your fine dash to the shutoff all by itself! The instant failure is something I'd never heard before. thanks.
                  Time flies like an arrow.

                  Fruit flies like a banana.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                    First off, good reactions on your part!

                    I encounter many of these and always replace them first before starting the balance of my work. I had one valve that didn't blow completely, but let enough h2o out to cause problems. Fortunately I had the trap open and simply diverted the supply line into it while I ran downstairs to turn off the house h2o. I've yet to have a Customer say no to switching them out after explaining the potential issues. Funny thing though, with as many of these that are installed from decades ago, I think there are more sudden failures with newer braided lines.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                      I kind of wish I was there just to wash the mad dash and to see your face

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                        Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
                        Doesn't this make you think about that "crazy guy" who actually installed 400 angle valves in 1 day. Hey Rick, you think that guy capped all those valves, or what
                        i did this for 15 years and always walked the building when i turned the water back on.

                        sure you had times when the drywallers and painters opened the valve when the water was still off and didn't shut it. that's why i walked the units when i turned it back on. every now and then there was a valve left open.

                        these were the 1 pc. corrugated stops. typical in new construction residential work. no simple way to cap them. commercial was always 2 pc.

                        but i do remember the time i forgot to install an icemaker stop on the 4th' floor and figured that i just turned on the water and had time as air was still in the system. so i took a chance and cut the bullet. go blasted by air and then the water, but i got it on and tightened and all was good. this was a compression stop. it would have been a nightmare if i couldn't get it on.

                        so in the 15 years of construction plumbing, i've had very few valves that were open when i walked the units. there were always enough trades that would either catch it before me or start yelling for me.

                        remember there were uncapped valves for many weeks before fixtures were ready to be installed.

                        rick.
                        phoebe it is

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                          Originally posted by mpm View Post
                          Wow, well good reaction time! Thanks for the info, I hate one piece type angle stops especially in condos where there is no individual shut off. I have had people get mad thinking I am ripping them off because I tell them I have to replace it even though it turns off and on. I wont mess with them unless I am replacing them. Usually I will disconnect the fixture first, but not anymore!
                          Me too. My policy is to always replace the one piece units. I don't trust the old rubber compression piece at the end of the corrugated tube. It is usually hard and dry after sitting around for years. In my early days, I once tried to re-use one. The thing blew off the toilet tank connection about 30 seconds after turning the angle stop back on.

                          I understand what you mean when you say some customers think your trying to rip them off. I politely tell them that I will not do the job without replacing them due to the extreme liability. I stick to my guns diplomatically. By the time I am done with the job most customers in this category have gained trust in me as they have gotten a chance to get to know me. I will take the time to show them the old part so that they can understand too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                            the threaded cone washer are replaceable. what i find is the chrome corrugated tubing is hard and no longer flexible. they tend to crack when moved.

                            i used chrome stops on the toilets and rough brass unplated on all the cabinets in new construction. these were much more flexible and didn't develop the hardness and breaking tendency when flexed years later.

                            i come across these 1 pc. all the time. my policy is if i have to change the faucet and have to flex the feed line to a different location, then i change the stops. if i don't disturb the flex, then i change the threaded cone washer.

                            toilets get swapped when i replace the toilet. usually theses are the first ones to crack when the owner hits them with a mop.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Wow, didn't see that coming!

                              Originally posted by JeffH View Post
                              First off, good reactions on your part!

                              I encounter many of these and always replace them first before starting the balance of my work. I had one valve that didn't blow completely, but let enough h2o out to cause problems. Fortunately I had the trap open and simply diverted the supply line into it while I ran downstairs to turn off the house h2o. I've yet to have a Customer say no to switching them out after explaining the potential issues. Funny thing though, with as many of these that are installed from decades ago, I think there are more sudden failures with newer braided lines.
                              I have seen a failure with a stainless braided line once. There had obviously been some leaking under the sink as the stainless steel braid was rusted badly in several spots. The inner rubber tube expanded and ballooned out through a rusted section. Fortunately the homeowner was right there when it happened and knew what to do.

                              It's interesting that a lot of people do not know what the angle stop is for and do not know where the water shut off is to their own home. I often quiz people on what to do if they have an emergency flood. I show them where their house shut off is. If it is an old gate valve I usually make the recommendation to replace it with a ball valve. I am not pushy on this, just let them know that it would be a good idea and a lot of people just have replace it then and there.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X