Friday, July 13, 2007

Bark: Plumbers are cunts

I hate being right all the time.

Still, it wouldn't be Friday the 13th without at least *one* unmitigated disaster.

The charming gentleman who fitted the washing machine I'm having replaced sometime this afternoon left me with a nice present when I tried to disconnect the pipes from the back of the washing machine. If you've never done this kind of thing, the plumbing behind a washing machine is fairly simple. You typically have three pipes that connect from the washing machine to the water system. One is the waste pipe, where all the water that drains out of the machine goes. The other two are the hot and cold water input pipes that fill the machine. These usually have little right angle isolating ball valves on them, so that you can disconnect the washing machine without having to turn off the mains water.

Mine were no different, so I thought, "oh, this will be easy". Fatal fucking mistake. This is because the cunt of the plumber who'd done the original connection had removed the screw from the handle of the ball valve on the cold pipe. Meaning that you could twist the plastic handle all you liked - without the screw (which simply don't go missing on their own) the handle didn't have enough purchase to shut off the valve. And when I tried to shut off the valve directly using a spanner, the little metal spar that the handle would be screwed onto simply broke off, because it had gotten so old and weak. Which was precisely one of the things my Dad had warned me might happen.

So great, thinks I, now I have to replace the entire isolation valve. A quick trip to Homebase to pick one up later, I shut off the water supply and use a couple of adjustable spanners to remove the valve. Wait, it gets BETTER!

Not content with hobbling the handle of the isolation valve, this cunt has soldered the valve's olive to the pipe, leaving me with about 10mm of pipe to try and fit the new valve onto. The alarm bells are starting to clatter in my mind now, but I give it a try and put on a small twist of water pressure from the mains stopcock to test the seal. The predictable happens. FOOOM! The new valve catapults off the end of the pipe, and by the time I get the water turned off again, the kitchen is a couple of millimetres deep in water. PERFECT.

Another quick trip out to the local supermarket to get half a dozen rolls of kitchen paper to mop up the mess later, and I'm REALLY hacked off. Appropriately, out comes the hacksaw, to cut the end off the pipe to remove the fused on olive. Of course, cramped under the kitchen worktop, there's barely any room to move, so I end up putting a very deep cut into the end of my left thumb while I'm hacksawing off the end of the pipe, because I'm having to use a very unorthodox grip on the saw. Which does WONDERS for my mood, as you can imagine.

I finally get the little bit of piping cut off to free up the end of the pipe and create a clean seal. I sand it all down so that I can fit the new valve's olive on the pipe and then fit all the various bits of the valve together, which compared to the rest of the procedure, turned out to be fairly simple. I test the integrity of the seal again (this time remembering which direction you have to turn the stopcock in to stop the flow of water in case of disaster...) - phew, no leaks or water-jet-propelled pieces of plumbing.

Now all they have to do is deliver the new machine, fit it and then take away the old one... I mean, what could POSSIBLY HAPPEN??
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