Work Around for a Failed Water Shut-Off

By , February 28, 2013

We’re very concerned with water conservation on the homestead for a variety of practical reasons. Because we burn scrap wood to heat water, we must conserve hot water in the shower.

To do this, we installed a low flow, handheld shower head with a button that cuts off the water flow. We turn the water off when we’re soaping, shaving, or performing other tasks that don’t need running water. We’ve become very habituated to this, and we can shower three people and wash several days’ accumulation of dishes on the heat generated by one 5-gallon bucket of wood scraps.

Unfortunately, the shower head we installed several years ago slowly weakened, until activating the cut off did little more than reduce the flow by half or less. We still saved some water by using it, but not much.

stop cock for shower head

A stop cock at the base of the shower hose makes it simple. Yes, the tannin stains are ugly. Yes, Michelle’s going to kill me for posting this photo . . . (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Obviously, we had to take the unit apart and repair it, either by clearing mineral deposits from the inner workings, or maybe replacing a valve or seal. We quickly found that we couldn’t do it—the shower head had no screws or other fasteners with which to disassemble it; we would have to cut open the plastic housing to get inside.

Instead, Michelle installed a stopcock at the point where the shower head’s hose attached to the spigots. This not only solved our water cut off problem, it improved the performance of the whole system. We found that blind groping for the stop cock proved much easier when the valve could be found at the spigots. The valve also sealed off the flow far better than the shower head button ever had.

Michelle used a stopcock left over from setting up a water catchment system for the greenhouse, so we employed a surplus piece rather than finding and purchasing a replacement head similar to the original, which would most likely fail after a while.

Read more about our hot water heater here.

Read an overview of our “homestead’s water system here.

One Response to “Work Around for a Failed Water Shut-Off”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Since I been fighting a leaking valve in the tub your article struck home. This has been an off and on exercise for awhile. The lines coming in to the tub have no shut off valves. I am sure the guy got paid for putting them in but didn’t. Changing washers has had various moments of success. As of yesterday I have it stopped, but have not tried to turn it on or off. Got to work on the knobs to make sure they are not bottoming out before I get things turned completely off. I could put in shutoff valves in the line, but if they leak I really have a problem. Now I can turn off the master valve and stop the leak when we don’t need water. Going to test it out here in a little while. – Like the little Dutch boy. Put a finger in the dike – Have a good day.

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy