The Six-Hundred Dollar Drip

It wasn’t a fast drip, only about every ten seconds or so, but it was loud and irritating. The distance from the shower head to the shower floor was at least six feet, the fall long enough to make not a drip, drip, drip, but a SPLAT, SPLAT, SPLAT. I’m half deaf and I could still hear it from my bedroom. Something had to be done.

The fixture was a Delta brand, a one knob affair. Turn left for hot, right for cold. Been working fine for fifteen years. No more. Got to be some kind of little O-ring, right? Cost, maybe fifty-cents. Problem is, I hate plumbing. Every plumbing job I ever attempted turned into a disaster with water everywhere ending with a call to somebody who knew what the hell they were doing.

Did I learn from the past? No. Instead, I watched a You Tube video of a guy changing the O-rings on an identical fixture. It was so simple. Turn the water off, remove a set screw, remove a lock washer, slide the fixture out, pop out the bad rings, replace, reassemble. How tough could it be?

I made it as far as Step Three. The lock washer had been installed by a gorilla. After several attempts to break it loose, I noticed a drop of water hanging from a weld on the input pipes. Not good. A closer look revealed green corrosion slowly but surely eating away at the connections, any further disturbance was just asking for trouble. I carefully put everything back together, held my breath, and turned the water on. Drip…drip…drip, not only from the shower head, but from the corroded pipe as well, dribbling directly to the slab between the wallboards. CRAP!!!

The new drip is barely dripping, so small that I can stuff towels between the walls and keep the water on, but not for long. Every plumber I call has a recording. “Leave a message.” I do. “EMERGENCY. EMERGENCY. MY HOUSE IS FLOODING. PLEASE CALL BACK IMMEDIATELY.” There was no sense being meek about it. Twenty minutes later, I get a call back. The plumber says he’s pulling off the job he’s on to help me out.

The plumber’s name is Steve. Steve examines my barely damp towels. I got the feeling his definition of emergency was different than mine. He delivers the bad news. “This faucet is no longer made and will have to be replaced. I will need to go through the wallboard to repair the pipe. I can do it for, oh… (long pause while he figures out the cost of the faucet, his time, and how much penalty money to assess for dragging him off the previous job), $650. My response: “You gotta be shittin’ me.” He wasn’t. I got him down to $525, but that was it.

That was last September, eight months ago. I wake up when Minnie the cat jumps on my belly at five a.m. indicating, “I’m hungry.” And then I hear it, drip…drip…drip. CRAP!!!

I wait till working hours and call Steve. I make no mention of an emergency. Steve says he’ll be out the next day. A different guy shows up. He takes everything apart again and finds a couple miniscule grains of debris inside the works. He wipes it clean and turns the water on. Fixed. “Seventy-five dollars please.”

I kind of thank the man and wave goodbye. Ten minutes later, drip…drip…drip.

I stab the guy’s cell phone number. Voice mail. I wanted so bad to say EMERGENCY, but instead, left a message in certain measured tones that I was not happy and the problem still exists.

Three days later, I’m still waiting for a call back.

Found an easy fix. Buy a shower head with a hose. Lay shower head in bottom of shower at night. Can’t hear the drip. Hey, simple solutions to complex problems.









Published in: on May 25, 2016 at 12:54 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. You should feel lucky. My neighbors attempt to change the oil ring (she had done it before at the old house) was $800. So far. She still needs to replace Sheetrock. And texture. And paint. See. You are one lucky duck. 😂

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