Best Laid Plans, Blah, Blah, Blah
At 9:00 o'clock, last night, I went into my bathroom to get ready for bed. I wanted to get to bed, early, so that I would have plenty of time to get bundled up for the cold bike ride to work. Unfortunately, that didn't work out quite the way I planned it.
As I walked through the bathroom door, I heard the unmistakeable sound of water running inside my wall. The cold water pipe to the tub had broken. The pipe which comes up out of the ground is galvanized, and, at some point in the past, someone had mated it to a copper fitting in order to hook the faucet/mixer up. The pipe, itself, was fine. But, the threads inside the copper fitting were completely rusted away, and the water pressure pushed the two pieces apart.
After getting completely soaked, and shivering uncontrollably until I changed clothes and put on a rainsuit, I managed to get a hose slipped over the pipe (a shampoo hose, which fits on a faucet, so you can wash your hair in the sink, or wash the dogs, etc.). The water was flowing so fast that the tub drain couldn't keep up with it, so I ran the hose into the toilet.
With the danger of imminent flooding of the entire house overcome, I started trying to get a plumber to come out. I called Roto-Rooter, PlumbLine, Appletree and a couple of mom-and-pops. No one was available, until morning.
Finally, I did what I should have done, first, and called Denver Water. Thirty minutes later, they showed up and cut the water off, at the street. (My house does not have a cut-off valve on the meter, or between the meter and the house. At least, it doesn't have one that I can find, anyway.)
By the time Denver Water left, it was eleven o'clock. I didn't get to bed until 11:30, and I knew that I had to come home and deal with the pipes, so I ended up driving to work.
Grrrrrrrr! I wanted to ride the bike!
I came home at lunchtime, and grabbed the copper fittings and pipe (for sizing purposes), and headed to Ace Hardware.
Looking at the copper fitting, with the remains of the galvanized threads in it, I think that the dissimilar metals set up a Galvanic reaction, which ate the steel threads. The pipe is in good shape, as I said earlier, but the threads were reduced to powdered rust. I actually scraped the threads clean with a screwdriver. There wasn't even a solid piece of metal to unscrew.
At Ace, I got a galvanized compression fitting and a galvanized nipple. I installed the faucet pipe union onto the nipple, then connected it to the faucet. The compression connector tied the nipple into the existing water line, and everything was back together, without the short length of copper pipe and the threaded copper fittings which had been there.
I called Denver Water, again, to have them turn the water back on. The people there were very pleasant to deal with. They not only set me up to get the water turned on ("between 2:30 and 5:30, but I'll try to get him there as soon as possible"), but the lady also advised me to check my water bill and report it if the leakage had increased my charge, significantly. If so, they will help me out with a flood charge adjustment.
The Denver Water technician showed up at 2:25, and opened the valve for me. I turned all of the faucets off, and we checked the meter. No leaks!
So, hopefully, I can put this behind me ... until the next time something in the palatial mansion destroys itself, anyway.
Oh, well. Compared to the flood damage that the McGradys and so many others, here in Colorado, suffered in the September floods, I got off easy! So, no more complaining, from me.
Until, as I said, next time...