Glenn Butcher

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I HATE PLUMBING!

Yesterday I had to do an emergency reconstruction on my kitchen sink hot water feed. I've been replacing the floor of that cabinet (another evil plumbing story), and I noticed a drop of water oozing from the sink feed compression fitting. I'd been moving the pipe a bit to build a wooden dam around it (when water leaks under there again - and it will - I want it to go anywhere but under the cabinet), so I didn't think much of it and put a wrench to the nut to tighten it. Well, 1/2 turn later, I'd stripped the threads on either the nut or the valve, I couldn't determine which. And this was the valve that was attached to the copper supply pipe no less. After consternating about cutting and soldering a new section of pipe, I inspected the thing closer and found out that it was a compression fitting. Hooray, I could replace it. Quick trip to Home Depot (I have a coffee cup with my name on it there), 15min to put in the parts, and we're back in the water business. 'Till then, all Sherry could think about was, "...no shower..."

Yes, all's well that ends well, but dangit, my success rate with pluming is not good. Just about every sink cabinet we have has experienced stray water resulting from my misguided attempts at home improvement. That's why I'm building the kitchen sink cabinet floor with a 1" lip, dams around the water pipe holes, and an Envirotex waterproof finish. I have about a 50% success rate with compression fittings: undertighten and they leak, overtighten and they strip and leak.

Now, the fittings I bought for last night's job were better than what I was getting 10 years ago when I remodeled the kitchen. Back then, supply pipes were that - chrome-plated brass with compression flanges. Today, I didn't see them; instead, there were braided flexpipes with integral nuts and sealing plastic flanges. They seem to work much better. Let's hope they hold...


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