RSS Feed

Going Plumb Crazy


So I sprung a bit of a leak at 9pm last night. It wasn’t major, but it was enough that I decided to turn off the main water supply to avoid having to wake up every 20 minutes to dump the bowl. All I had to do was find it.

I decided to pull out a diagram that I got with the water conditioner to help track that sucker down.



As you can see, the water conditioner looks very similar to the diagram. The water heater isn’t attached to it because it is in another room in the basement near the boiler. That was ok though because the diagram showed that the main shut off valve wasn’t near the water heater, but on the other end of the two pipes coming up from the water conditioner. When I followed the two pipes upward, all I saw was this….

No valve. And the blue knob is a bypass valve which wouldn’t help anything.

No valve

So I decided that MAYBE, just maybe the shutoff valve was, for some crazy reason, on the other side of the ceiling and upstairs under the kitchen sink…

NoBut alas, no.

Then I got the even CRAZIER idea that these people put the valve up through the ceiling and then through the wall outside. This was a very unlikely place to find a valve in Michigan (because it’s so cold, they’re usually inside) but I had nothing to lose. It was now 10pm and I was tired of dumping my little bowl of water every 10 minutes.

So I grabbed the only flashlight I could find with batteries. It was great that it also happened to be the only flashlight that growls when you turn it on, so that was a happy bonus.


I got outside and looked at the area that I thought the pipes would lead if they went outside…


And it was our freakin’ deck. I decided that NO ONE would be stupid enough to build a deck over a shut off valve, so I just decided that I was looking in the wrong direction and headed back inside.

I went back to the basement and decided to check out our water heater. Although the diagram said the valve shouldn’t be near it,  I know that many of them are. So, please tell me if you can decipher which valve it is…


Because I sure as hell couldn’t. We have boiler heat, which relies on water to warm. All of this piping really confused things because they carry water too, but for the love of God could I please just find the MAIN VALVE. It was now 11pm. I’m getting texts from Kyle to call a 24 hour plumber, but due to a series of unfortunate events I am broke as a church mouse and have no money for that luxury. I had to keep looking.

I saw a pipe and a knob that looked  like it could be the one! So I twisted and twisted and twisted…and then it started leaking…

Really? What now?

Just as a side note, that black dot on the wall next to the valve is the biggest spider in history…

So now I have 2 leaks and am getting chased by spiders. I decided to head back outside because a lot of valves are near meters. I just had to find a meter and find a valve.


Well, I definitely had no shortage of meters to choose from. But I (thank the Lord) was able to identify them as gas and electric. Could you imagine me trying to wrench on a gas valve?!? I would have blown up the house.

After dumping my bowl a few times and crying about twice, I thought again about our crummy Michigan weather. Most valves aren’t outside, but IF they are outside, they are in in some sort of cabinet. So I went looking for an outdoor cabinet at 11:40pm. AND to add insult to injury, it started raining and thundering. As they say, when it leaks; it pours (as opposed to when it rains, it leaks.)

Behind cabinet number 1?

Door in the floor

 A drain 😦

wah wah wah

And behind cabinet number 2?


Who the hell knows? It was screwed shut. Even after I got a flat head screwdriver, there was ANOTHER screw that I had no idea how to loosen. But I figured the shut off valve wouldn’t be there.

So after crying spell number three, I decided to go back to the boiler and twist random knobs and valves. Not recommended, but I was desperate, and they didn’t work. So I went back upstairs, dumped the bowl and started twisting the knob that was leaking under the sink. Lo and behold the leak stopped! WHAT?!? It dried right up! Then I went downstairs to the other leaky knob and decided that I was a moron.

You see, leak number 2 WAS THE SHUT OFF VALVE! I hadn’t turned it far enough (because it had started leaking) so it didn’t shut off the big flow of water, it just slowed it down and only an hour later did it stop the leak upstairs. So I twisted this farther to the right and even this leak slowed down. It didn’t stop, but it slowed. I wrapped some electrical tape around it and went to bed at 12:30am.

A this point, I smell a little gnarly and have no running water. I will eventually be able to afford a plumber, but for now it’s 1910 in the VanLoon-Higgs residence.

Moral of the Story? Find your main shut off valve. …No seriously, go do it now, I’ll wait for you right here.


About Kristen Van Loon

My name is Kristen Van Loon and this is the chronicle of my search for *Oomf!* Not only have I deemed myself qualified to revamp, repair, refurnish and refine my house, but I also jump into any DIY project that my friends, co-workers, family and practical strangers stumble upon. I would love to tell you that this is my full-time job and my complete life mission, but I make my bread and butter elsewhere and raise a daughter (Olivia). I have some experience but no time, no formal training and no money. My only saving grace is that I love figuring things out, I’m great at improvising and I’m always inspired. For the record, some things that I do (play with electricity, for one) may seem risky, and some of them are. I will always tell you what I’ve done, but I won’t ever suggest things for you that aren’t safe. Even though I push the envelope, I am only marginally incompetent. If sources (father, my brain, Google) tell me not to do something then I usually won’t. But if I do try and it blows up in my face (figuratively or literally) you will hear all about it, and you hopefully won’t attempt it. At the end of the day, I hope to inspire you. Space-Lift isn’t just a blog, it’s a verb. It’s an action that brightens your surroundings by assaulting everything that needs improvement. Nothing is off limits, and all possibilities will be considered.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: