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Anyone in town know a good plumber?
It's not an emergency, just a leaky faucet. Actually, not only is the faucet leaking, but I can see water seeping from the valve, so that's basically busted too. Maybe it only needs a new washer. Fortunately, the faucet and valve are both over the utility sink in the basement, so it's not dripping on the floor or onto woodwork or anything. It's even the cold-water valve that's leaking, so I'm not even paying to heat this wasted water.

Seriously, there's no real time pressure. I don't live in a drought-prone area, and a lack of water conservation isn't going to hurt anyone here -- just our wallets, since we pay for water and sewer. The drip and seep probably isn't much, so I wouldn't be surprised if paying for a plumber to come in here and fix it wouldn't even be cost-effective.

Heck, the job is simple enough, and so non-priority enough, that I could probably do it myself. I might even go as far as to simply cap the pipes rather than put in a new faucet since we never actually use it -- the sink is only used to catch the drainage from the washing machine, really.


I traced the water pipes back.... From the faucet, you first hit a T fitting, with the stem of the T going to a valve leading to the washing-machines. Then you hit the stem of a T fitting connecting to the main cold water distribution line for the house. Tracing back to the source, we have a T going to the kitchen and outside faucet, a T going to the hot water heater and boiler, and then a straight shot to the bypass valve on the water purifier, then straight to the water meter, and then into the concrete basement floor.

So if I'm understanding this, there is no way to shut the water to this faucet off without shutting water off to the entire house, possibly at the curb (or wherever the city has a shutoff valve), and no way to work on the faucet without potentially draining all the pipes in the house. If I have this right, if something catastrophic were to happen to the faucet (or, for that matter, several others), there would be no easy way to shut off the water before huge parts of the house were flooded. Did I mention that the boiler, which is within 10 feet of the leaky sink, has an electronic ignition and natural gas supply? Or that to get to the fusebox I have to walk between the sink and the boiler? The more I'm thinking of this, the more I'm not liking it.

And fixing this situation seems to require turning off the water (somewhere), cutting sections out of the copper pipes at various strategic places, and putting in valves. That seems like it's probably a bit beyond what I should consider doing as a handyman.

As it stands, I don't have the fundage to deal with this, professionally or DIY, right now. So for now, the sink will get water dripped on it.

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Each faucet doesn't have its own turn-off valve somewhere underneath? If that's the case, then you might have a code issue and I don't know how plumbers can/are-required-to deal with that. And there's no turn-off valve in the water meter area? That seems odd to me, but then again, the plumbing in my parents' house is it's own sort of odd (more valves than seems necessary, really), so I can't say for sure. Maybe make a simple diagram and talk to the good folks at Bishops (or Lowes or Home Depot) and ask for their advice on a quick fix and/or a plumber?

Good luck!

At the very least, put a pan under it and use it to water cats/plants/etc.

At least one cat has been known to drink from it. I don't want to put anything (like a pan) into the sink because the sink fills pretty regularly with grey water from the washer. So either (a) the pan will get filled with grey water as well, or (b) the pan will block the drain and the sink will overflow. I think either is an inevitability.

Sounds as if it needs a new stem, not just a new valve; faucet stems are readily available in any hardware store. There are zillions of different stems, though, so it's best to take the old one with you when you go.

I'd find it very odd if there weren't a shutoff valve for the entire house somewhere where you could get at it. If you're renting the place, you need to ask your landlord... and, technically, it would be his responsibility to get it fixed, especially if it turns out that a failure in that run of pipe could cause far more serious damage. But at the very least, he should be able to help you find the shutoff.

In the meantime... depending on how fast the drip runs, you can conduct the water away from the sink below it by tying a piece of string (soft white cotton string works best) around the faucet and letting the drip run along the string - put the other end of the string in a pan and let the water accumulate there. This won't help with water flowing out of the faucet body itself, but it'll at least save some of the water for the cats...

there is no valve by the meter, they usually install one when they put the meter in

In my house the main shutoff is way over on the other side of the house from where all the connections to the various T-pipes and distribution lines go. If I should burst a pipe - I have to run through my whole house... into the garage and flip the lever that is down close to the floor behind a bunch of storage shelving. I discovered this fact when I tried to replace a stem ... for much the same reasons as you. The flood was minor. The adrenaline rush was spectacular! :-)

The main shutoff is somewhere. Your landlord probably knows.

Re: mainline .... water

If I had a landlord, the issue would be moot -- I'd just tell him/her a faucet is leaking and have him/her deal with the maintenance -- that's what I'd be paying rent for, really.

However, skitten owns the house we live in, and I don't consider our relationship to be landlord/tenant. If I want the faucet fixed, I have to do it myself (or make appropriate arrangements with a plumber).

I've had good luck with Benjamin Franklin plumbing on a similar issue (a leaky valve in the middle of a length of copper pipe a few years ago). I can give you more details on what it cost and how they operate if you're interested.

In general, I've found them to be good at handling leaks and drips, but I'd go with someone else (Drain Brain) to deal with unyielding clogs.

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