Musings from Home

A Plum(b) Win

Part of an occasional series on moving.

A few months ago, before we replaced all of the toilets in the house, Jim and I had a plumber come out for a free estimate on a few plumbing jobs we saw potentially coming down the pike. One of the things we asked him about was our whirlpool tub, which we have hardly ever used, but which leaked into the adjacent linen closet where the access panel is, the last time we filled it up. The plumber told us that if he investigated or fixed anything, he would have to charge us for a service call, but if the tub leaked, it would have to be replaced because fixing whirlpool tubs is just too expensive. We believed him.

So, as we began to think about moving and as it became a certainty, we started to investigate the cost and logistics of replacing the tub. And both are huge. Since the access panel is not near the plumbing connections, we would either have to go through the ceiling below (in the kitchen) or rip out the tile around the tub to get it out, which of course means re-tiling — not cheap.

We started to get more than a little freaked out as our time-frame for getting the house on the market shortened and the costs of things added up. At least a thousand dollars for a whirlpool tub, half that for a soaker tub. That doesn’t include the repair costs associated with accessing the existing tub.

And then sanity kicked in.

One day last week, Jim suggested that we actually pay a plumber for a service call to find out what exactly is causing the leak and what it would take to fix it. We had assumed this wouldn’t be possible because the access panel is on the other end of the tub from the plumbing, so they may not be able to see the problem without taking out the tile. But then Jim thought about snaking a tube in . . . He called the plumbing company we used for the new toilets (a different one from the free estimate) and was told yes, they can certainly take a look that way.

The plumber came out on Wednesday, opened the access panel and immediately told me there was a nut loose. As he tightened it, I commented that it would be nice if that’s all that were wrong. He replied that it may be. These tubs are very sensitive, he said.

Could this be real????? All we had to do was tighten a nut??? Please, please, please let this be the case.

The very nice and very skilled plumber filled up the tub, turned on the jets, and alas, no leak. Then very scientifically, just as I would have done it, he loosened the nut to the degree it had been, and what do you know? It started leaking.

Wow, oh wow, wowwy, wow! A whole passel of weights zoomed off of my shoulders. It’s amazing I didn’t float into the air! I could hardly keep from laughing; it was all so ridiculous, in a way. And I couldn’t wait to call Jim and ask him how much he loved me for this news (although of course, the idea to call the plumber was his).

The other really cool part of this story was the girls. Little Sapphire had never seen this tub on. Like I said, we hardly used it even before the leak issue. She was truly entranced with the swirling water when the plumber had the jets on and was looking in the access panel for a leak. She dipped her hand into the waves and squealed with delight. The plumber and I couldn’t resist grinning from ear to ear at that girl. And of course, she asked if she could take a bath in there. I told her maybe later.

That afternoon, Jim picked Emerald up from band practice and on the way home, told her about our good fortune. She walked in the door asking if she could relax in there that evening. After dinner, both girls piled into the jetted tub and giggled and dipped under the water, and giggled some more. You would’ve thought they were in a swimming pool. It was the best bath EVER!

I have a feeling that if our next house has a whirlpool tub, it will not be as unused as this one has been. 🙂

It was certainly a “w”in of a Wacky Wednesday.

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Comments on: "A Plum(b) Win" (2)

  1. What a relief! Rob and I tried a plumbing job in our house once, and we decided the learning curve was extremely steep, which I guess is why plumbers can charge so much!

    We have a whirlpool tub, and have never used the jets in 14 years of living in this house. I tried it once, but preferred a bath without the jets. Then Emma came along, and she was terrified of the jets –even now at 11 she doesn’t like the jets in the hot tubs at hotels. I wonder, though, if ours are extra loud just because it’s an older system.

  2. To me, there is nothing better than a good soak in a tub.

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