M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, April 05, 2011  

Vanity Unfair

We keep a small sponge behind the faucet in the downstairs bathroom that we use for wiping down the sink. The other morning, I noticed that it was pretty well soaked and sitting in a small puddle of water. In fact, the puddle had spread, and was dripping over to the corner of the sink, where it was slowly dripping down between the side of the vanity and the wall, into a dark, inaccessible alcove. I mopped up the water, tossed the saturated sponge into the tub, asked Trash when she'd last used the sponge (she hadn't), and forgot about it.

But I was reminded of it when I went downstairs to do laundry that night and found a small lake in our basement.

It was obvious what had happened. Somehow the faucet was leaking not from the tap, but from the base where it joins the sink counter, and obviously had been doing so all day. And all that water was now on the basement floor. And, as an added special bonus, in the catboxes.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be) I have some experience drying that floor. Between spring snowmelts, rainstorm runoff, a leaky roof, a blocked laundry drain, and that time the chest freezer got unplugged, I've gotten entirely too good at this. IT's just a matter of finding the bath towels stained from the previous occasions and trying not to be too bothered by the fact that I'm going to end up killing half a roll of paper towels before transforming the floor-pond into just a giant damp spot.

So with that emergency taken care of, I still had to figure out how to stop it from happening again. Which is something I had no idea how to accomplish. What I'd ordinarily do is call the incompetent loser plumber who "fixed" the faucet last summer and raise some hell, but since said plumber was me, that wasn't going to get me anywhere.

It was Trash who came up with the idea for a temporary fix, which was to simply shut off the water supply to the faucet. That's what I did a couple of times overnight, but it was an imperfect fix; most of the time you don't want the second thing you do in the morning to be reaching under the sink to turn those little handles so you can wash your hands.

Another backup plan was to jam a bath towel into that crack between the vanity and the wall, where the water had pooled up and leaked into the basement in the first place. And that worked, too, because it was pretty wet when I pulled it out.

But all of this was putting off the ultimate solution, which I knew would require me to put all my paltry plumbing skills to bear. And I was going to be gone all day Saturday, and I didn't want Trash to deal with that mess and M. Edium --or M. Edium to have to deal with that mess and Trash, had that been the case.

I looked at where the water was coming from, and where it was flowing, and knew what I needed to do.

Water flows downhill, so I just needed to change which direction is downhill. And to do that, I used some of the building material with which I've always been the most skilled:


Yes, that's a Lego, elevating the back of the sink so that water leaking out of the faucet base will trickle into the sink and down the drain instead of behind the vanity and into the basement. Brilliant, yes?

Yeah, that's what I thought, too. More later.

posted by M. Giant 10:24 PM 0 comments


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