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The Shut Off Valve Is Under The House!

The odyssey of adding a fabric pretreatment center continues…

I decided to move my 5 year old Neptune top loader washing machine into the Stitchery and get a new front loader for the house. So I got a call this morning that the new washing machine has come in and I set a delivery date for Thursday morning. Husband was in town for meetings so afterward he came to the house and we moved the old washer (which I dearly love for gentle treatment of fabrics) over to the Stitchery. We place it and leveled it.

Before hooking up we ran some water into a bucket and the water was red from rust. I turned on all the other faucets until all the water ran clear and then filled the washer. The water was opaque. Not red, just not clear so I found the drain valve on the hot water heater and using a cordless drill and a bucket I opened the valve…yup, too much crud in the water. I don’t have a garden hose so I thought I would drawn off 4 or 5 buckets of water to get the crud out of the hot water heater.

I tested the water valve again: it turned on and reversing the drill I easily turned it off again. No problem.

So I started draining and turned off the valve when the bucket was full. Went and emptied the bucket in the tub: back to it. But this time when I turned the valve on I opened the valve farther than I had before and when I tried to turn it off again, the drill bit couldn’t reach or something and

I couldn’t turn off the water. No water pan under the heater and no shut off valve that I could find anywhere! I did management to get the gas pilot turned off but

Oh shoot! Water gushed out in between bucket changes, all over the square of carpet under the heater and the 50 year old hard wood floors.

I had 2 bathroom waste baskets and one 5 gallon bucket. I had to fill one and slip the next under the wide open spigot and run to empty in the tub. Somewhere in there I needed to find the phone and call for help…somehow I did that…I have no memory of where the phone was. Got husband on the phone and he will have to drive 8 miles.

So I ran back and forth emptying buckets for another 15 minutes, shouting at dogs to get out of the way.

And Husband showed up, got a pair of pliers and turned the valve handle as far off as it would go. It was broken so the water was reduced to a dribble but not stopped. I used the flat head bit in the cordless drill to turn it the rest of the way off.

And I mopped up.

A shut off valve is less than $3. Why would it be under the house and not on the water line running into the heater???

Someone’s cheap home renovation. A 40 gallon water tank with no way to turn off the water. Joy….

But the good news is that the tank was almost completely drained and hopefully I will have fresher water for the first load of fabrics. I believe I’ll start with some very soggy towels.

After I catch my breath.


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

9 responses »

  1. I have a mental image of the Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice (when Mickey floods the workshop). I’m glad that you got the problem under control. 🙂 Once I had to have the hot water running all night in the kitchen sink because I couldn’t turn it off and I couldn’t find the cutoff. My landlady was not pleased….

  2. Oh my goodness! What a trooper you are to keep running back and forth and getting this done on your own. Thank goodness your husband was fairly close. So happy all is under control 🙂

  3. Theresa in Tucson

    The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is an apt theme for your adventure. Write it up and send it to Threads or Fine Homebuilding for their Parting Shots page! Then, when you’re rested, put the shut-off valve on the honey-do list.

  4. Sorcerer’s Apprentice indeed. Loved that film. Kudos on your resourcefulness.

    Reminds me of an old apartment.
    During a rainy night I came home after class, turned on kitchen light. Something looks odd. Kitchen is flooded…inches of water on the floor.

    Water is gushing from the light fixture in the ceiling. Seems the roof was leaking, NOT into the second floor apartment, but following the ducts and conduit to my ground floor unit. I ended up drilling holes in the floor to drain the water, and rigged a sluice to the sink with a plastic tarp. Landlord had a real mess to fix.

  5. MaryBeth where is your email contact?

    • Hi Heather: It’s in “About The Current Inhabitant” but I’ll give it here: mainlandlady at hotmail dot com. Please do not write to me about cancer, tho! (I know you won’t)

  6. This is so hilarious. I’ve been there – just a little twist here and little tweak there and of course the problem will be permanently fixed and on down the road, but noooooooooooo – the whole shebang has to fall apart while you’re balancing 40 plates on 39 poles and wondering where the help is!!! Glad it all got solved, but it is a little scary balancing all that while calling and emptying buckets and watching water flow like out of Niagara!


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