When I bought the place, the outside tap was strangely attached to the garden hose with plumber’s tape. Tiny alarms went off in my head, but I ignored them (mistake one).
During the first week after moving in, I put together my ‘garden’ in pots on the deck. I started using the garden hose twice a day to water my flowers and tomatoes. The hose would not stop dripping. I decided cranking the tap really hard to the right would fix it (mistake two).
The hose continued to drip. Each time I turned off the tap it dripped a little more, like the shut off was failing from the inside. So until I had time on day 14, I had a bucket under the reeled hose to catch water (this wasn’t a mistake – this probably saved a lot of water waste).
Day 14 comes around. I decide to find the interior shut off valve for the outside tap. I crawled up, half on a chair, half on my washing machine, to reach up the basement wall. I felt around and found a round tap. I was very confident I had found what I was looking for (mistake three). I cranked the tap to shut it off properly. Water sprayed everywhere and chaos ensued.
I ran to shut off the main water supply to the house and, soaking wet, I went back to puzzle over what the hell just happened. After mopping up water and putting out buckets to catch remaining drips, I found the culprit.
We’ll call him Builder Bob. He is the previous owner of my imagination, who is a little bit handy and a lot incompetent. He had switched the exterior tap from the main copper line to a secondary plastic pex line. Which is all fine and dandy, but he left the hacked off copper line LIVE. No cap on the end where it was cut, just that turn-off valve to keep my whole basement from flooding. I was not impressed. So what I had found in the wall was originally the interior shut off valve for the outside tap, but it was now turned into a scary water bomb.
This is what differentiates me from Builder Bob. I did not do an apprenticeship in plumbing. I don’t know how to fix water lines. I phoned a plumber of good repute and he capped the line to save my house. I could then turn back on my main water supply.
He showed me more strange things when we popped up ceiling tiles in the basement and started tracing that plastic line.
My new plumber friend then quoted me a price to properly replace the outside tap and fix the weird pipe spaghetti Builder Bob installed.
Yep. That was Day 14.