Bryce the Plumber

So, believe it or not, there’s actually an area of my house that I haven’t yet griped publicly about, but which has been a major irritant since DKC and I moved in. In fact, I’d say it’s been one of the major irritants–not because it was so awful, but because it was so constant, like a pebble in your shoe in the middle of a race. What is it, you ask? The hot water pressure in the shower.

It has been low since the day we moved in. We had plumbers come to inspect it–they blamed the heating people. We had heating people come to check–they blamed the plumbers. So we had the plumbers come back, and the cycle repeated itself. Somehow in that great big cloud of blame, DKC and I found ourselves alone. The heating people and the plumbers had ducked out amid the confusion, and we still didn’t have good hot water pressure. It was marginally better, but great it wasn’t.

Enter This Old House, the magazine. DKC and I used some of our expiring Delta frequent flyer miles to subscribe to this gem a few months ago. I look forward to each issue. In the latest one, there was a detailed diagram of a shower, showing how you take it apart, and giving some suggestions on how to fix common problems.

I decided to give it a whirl.

Naturally, I decided to do this on a Saturday night at about 9. The night before church. Neither DKC nor I had showered yet. In hindsight, we really ought to have gotten that out of the way first. It could have been ugly.

Using my trusty Leatherman Wave, I had the shower dismantled in under a half hour. The problem was, the shower I had didn’t really match the shower that was in This Old House. That’s when I started to wing it, pulling things out, tweaking things to see what they did–likely doing everything an amateur plumber should not. I was disappointed to see a lack of Things to Clean Out. I had hoped the hot water pressure was caused by build up of debris in the line. I found no such thing. However, I did notice that the hot water came through one valve, and the cold water came through another. We had never had problems with our cold water pressure. After tinkering a while longer, I gave up and put it all back together, resigning myself to further water pressure problems in the future. On a whim, I did swap the hot and cold water valves.

Surprisingly enough, that fixed it.

Well, it fixed the hot water pressure. That’s going gangbusters now. The cold water is now the one suffering. Which is just fine by me.

I don’t like cold showers.

It just goes to show that sometimes, the elephant in the china shop not only doesn’t break anything, but he manages to dust off the china while he’s in there.

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