In our line of work we get into some pretty gross jobs. And as cringe-worthy as a backed up toilet may be (take our word: it can be BAD!) grossness doesn’t phase us. It can’t.
What does make us cringe? What causes a plumber to shriek inside with misery and loathing? What keeps us up at night in anguish? What makes us recoil in horror each time we see them?
1. Saddle or Needle Valves
These little gems are like weeds that just won’t go away. They are used as an easy and cheap way to provide water to humidifiers and ice-makers. They clamp over a water line and have small, sharp needle that pierces the pipe and allows water to flow through the attached tubing. Sounds great! … but they only work about 50% of the time. Worst of all the homeowner may never know it’s not working and, honestly, they don’t last. Trying to turn off an older saddle valve is like trying to bend a sewing needle in half in the dark. Just yesterday we had a customer call to have his week-old saddle valve replaced with a proper shut off valve (like you’d find under your sink) because it wasn’t working. Thankfully, the Ohio Plumbing Code prohibits them so you won’t be finding any on our vans. We recommend cutting a tee into the pipe and installing a quarter turn shut-off valve.
2. Accordion Drains
What can we say about this marvel of modern shortcuts? The accordion drain is a dead give-a-way that something about sink drainage isn’t right. What most people don’t know about this simple “solution” is that the accordion part usually ends up leaking or causing a leak on nearby piping. Whenever we see one of these we determine the reason it was “needed” and correct the problem properly, as a craftsman should.
3. The $19 Faucet
Call us snobs … yet no one would drive a “new” $2000 car or feel very safe going to the “discount heart surgeon” for a deep discount triple bypass. What about putting a roof over your head for only $600 when the average cost is $6,000? The same goes for buying a faucet. Sure, it’s not your heart but when it breaks in a month or so that leak may just ruin your sink cabinet. Actually, these all plastic faucets usually break while being installed – they’re that flimsy. And forget about repairing it! Faucets this cheap don’t have replacement parts. We recommend choosing manufacturers that specialize in making plumbing such as Delta, Moen, or Kohler. They’re durable and come with warranties – the kind where you call up the company and they send you replacements, typically free of charge.
Now that we got that off our chest we probably have some hair to pull out of a drain!