Thursday, January 17

Hydrant hatred

Pictured here is a despicable piece of plumbing. A fire hydrant that leaks no matter how much you try to shut it off. The valve is closed so hard it will take a herd of oxen pulling on a 6-foot-long pipe wrench to open it. The cap is put on so tight it will take carefully aimed hits with a 12-pound sledge hammer to get it off. By the time I gather and hitch up all the oxen and remember where I put the pipe wrench and hammer, whatever caught fire will probably burn itself out.

The arrows in the picture point to two drips as they fall off the cap chain. Billions of drips have dropped, soaking the ground under the hydrant to the point where I could plant large fish. It's hard to show the rate of drippage, but I can give you an idea—dripdripdripdripdripdripdripdrip.

I walked up to our water tank and shut off the valve so I could work on the hydrant. And guess what? The tank valve leaks! So I can't shut off the water. It's a gate valve, my second-most-hated valve. Come to think of it, I don't like any part of plumbing. Guess I've spent too many years repairing the vile stuff.

It would be nice if we knew where to buy good parts. Plumbing products made in certain countries are really junky; don't buy any of them. As a helpful guide, I have compiled a list of the countries that make the worst plumbing parts.

4 comments:

Pete S. said...

You have my sympathy for the bad valves. The gate valves on my house never shut off when I need to work on the plumbing. The municipal valve on the street always works. I used to replace the bad valves until I noticed the new ones didn't worked the next time I needed them. Now I only use the municipal shut-off and leave the bad gate valves alone.

I wonder where the city water department buys its valves?

Susan said...

Glad you have taken the leap into the Blogosphere, Uncle T. Hi Pete. As for plumbing, the only recent story I have involves a slow leak in a pipe near the back door, 4' underground. By the time the ground was soaked, our excess water bill was huge. Colin had to dig down to find it, go to the hardware store a couple of times to get parts, ask a friend who drives a bobcat to come and give an opinion - it's fixed now and he just finished paving the hole over....

Gayle Manning said...

Leaky pipes! I certainly do hate them. Fortunately, leaking is easy to track and repair. Commonly, they are found in the fittings and couplings. Replacing them with a new one will definitely solve the problem.

Tom Hurley said...

Thanks, commenters. It's nice to see that the hatred of plumbing is near universal.