Saturday, September 13, 2003

Adventures in Home maintenance

Owning stuff is hard. You can't just buy stuff and never maintain it. Stuff is always breaking, and needing fixing up. My shower had been "broken" for a while now. I have been robbed of a pleasant shower experience. I visit hotels and am awed by their shower facilities. Showers account for 20% of all indoor water use, well I am fixing to make up for lost consumption.

I hated my shower. Note the past tense, while I have yet to use my "new" shower, I anticipate loving pleasure.

The Past

  • I would turn on the water and have to wait 5 minutes for the water to get hot

  • I would practically have to stand on a chair and crawl up under the showerhead to get wet

  • Overtime my showerhead also developed a leak

The Solution

So I set out to try to solve the problems. Given the popularity of Home Depot, (if you don't own a home you have probably never been to this Mecca of do it yourself housewares), and the overwhelming number of products you would think you could get parts for your shower there. Don't be deceived, they don't carry every brand. I have Kohler shower fixture (I bet you don't even know your shower brand, I didn't prior to taking pictures of it to take with me on my plumbing journey). Home Depot doesn't carry Kohler, so they sent me over to General Plumbing Supply in Walnut Creek.

Prior to this I did learn two interesting facts. First, that the cause of my leak was in the cartridge which is actually behind the shower handle. Secondly, and most importantly to me, was the fact that federal standards by the EPA dictate that showerheads must have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute at 80 psi. AHAAAAA! Well take away my Sierra Club membership and call the federal government, because I was about to break federal regulations. I premeditated my crime, I schemed and I planned. Back to my story though, after driving to General Plumbing Supply I found that they didn't carry Kohler either and I would have to drive to Oakland(!), but they had already closed. This Saturday I made my way to Oakland got the replacement parts ($43) and came home and prepared to dive into plumbing repair. Come to find out my leak was solved by two tiny rubber o-rings. To test out my theory of flow regulation, I took the shower head off, and then turned the shower on, plenty of pressure. So I removed the a large rubber o-ring from the shower nozzle and found the enemy, the pink flow regulator.

I removed it and replace the showerhead, turned on the water.. Ahhhhh the sweet sight of full blown water flow.

I can't wait to take a shower and increase my consumption! Call me evil, restrict my mountain bike usage. But don't try to mess with my shower.


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