Archive for August 2009

Plumb Satisfied

There is nothing more satisfying than not having to call a plumber. Doubly so when you have completed a task yourself for which most mortals would call a plumber. It is a feeling of joy from both having completed a home repair task and saved $75 bucks for a house call!

Case in point: Our upstairs sink faucet’s hot water valve had been leaking for months. Maybe even more than year. In addition, the rod that controls the sink stopper had rusted away. While having the water heater replaced recently (for which I did call a plumber!), I had the plumber look at the sink. He didn’t have the parts (the valve or the rod) and couldn’t identify the brand of sink. I watched carefully as he disassembled the various components, though…

He didn’t look hard enough for the brand info, it turns out. I discovered the sink brand on the front of the faucet aerator and located the manufacturer’s website. A phone call later I had the form to fill out by e-mail, and within 10 minutes the form and a check for $9.95 to cover shipping was in the mail. (Turns out the valves were still under a 10 year warranty, and they threw in the rod for nuthin’.)

The parts arrived today. In about 10 minutes I had the the sink stopper control rod and the hot water valve replaced. No muss, no fuss, and no mishaps. And virtually free.

Now that is satisfying!

Caulk ’til You Drop

There are certain home maintenance jobs I do not particularly enjoy. Re-caulking the bathtub is one of them. I especially dislike this job when I have to do it twice in a 2 week period!

I had the perfect scenario a few weeks ago: The family was away, and I would be joining them for a few days, leaving the house empty, and more importantly the tub and shower unused, for several days. A perfect chance to recaulk the tub and have it perfectly cured when we all returned. Or so I thought.

I went to Lowes (because it’s closer than Home Depot) to buy a new tube of caulk. My preferred brand and variety, a GE Silicone with an anti-mold additive, was not to be seen. I bought something else which seemed like a perfectly reasonably substitute.

In about an hour’s time I had removed the old caulk and had applied the new caulk. It looked wonderful. Bright, clean, and more importantly, done for a good, long time.

Sadly, and much to my chagrin, when I returned from the weekend away, I was greeted with my worst caulk nightmare: shrinkage! I knew that a re-do was in the offing, but when to do it…?

As luck, circumstances, and vacation planning would have it, another opportunity presented itself last week to re-caulk the tub. The family was away again, but this time I wasn’t going anywhere to meet them. This meant that I had to find a time where I could do the job early enough after I had used the tub and before I’d use it again the next day to allow the new caulk to properly cure.

I made a mental plan that I would attack this problem last Wednesday. This time I went to Home Depot and acquired a new tube of the right product, GE’s Silicone Tub caulk with the anti-mold additive.

On Wednesday I awoke at 0530, showered, and dressed. By 0600 I was removing the defective caulk, and by 0700 I had once again re-caulked the tub.

It looked wonderful. Bright, clean, and more importantly, really, really, done for a good, long time.

By 0700 the next day, the caulk was properly cured, and this time, without shrinkage!