Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lessons in commitment

Here is some plumbing jargon you might find interesting.

'Letting by' -- this is a specific kind of leak. It's a lot smaller than the 'pissing out' kind of leak, but it can really spoil your day. 'Letting by' leaks are usually found on valves which are designed to isolate bits of pipework so you can work on them. You can still work on them, but you get wet. And you can't sweat up (qv).
'Sweating up' -- this means soldering with a blow torch. I don't know why it's called sweating up, but it does make you sweat. First you sweat with naked fear, and then you sweat because you get really, really hot. Usually at this point the smoke alarm goes off.
'Committed' -- this is where there's something you can't move that you have to work around. As in... 'we're committed by that soil stack'.

On Monday, I was battling a complicated bit of pipework in a cupboard. The isolation valve was letting by, but on the outside rather than the inside. I was thinking I'd worry about that later. My immediate problem was that I couldn't see how I was going to sweat up the new joints, as I couldn't reach them. I'd done some nifty bending, but there was one corner that had to be jointed, and another bit where there was a T for a new feed to the WC.

I rang J the plumber, who was doing something filthy and industrial. Help! I said, I can't sweat up, there's no room! Use compression fittings, he said. Well I could, I said, but I wouldn't be able to get onto them. Take it out, do the joints and put it back, he said, it's all on isolators isn't it? Yes, I said, but I won't get it back in if it's jointed. I'm committed by this cupboard.

Jo darling, he said, that's not committed. If the cupboard's in the way, get rid of it.

Oh, I said. Right.

He's never called me darling before. But I think he meant it benignly.



Anonymous Tom Meegan said...

I was blogging about commitment this morning and came across your post while researching a bit.

Beautifully written.

I remember sweating a lot more than pipes when my Dad tried to teach me plumbing. Wish I'd been more committed.

Best regards,


1:21 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Thanks Tom. The terror is less than it was when I started doing this, but it's still very much there! (Though a little bit of terror is probably healthy).

5:26 pm  
Blogger bedshaped said...

Stupid cupboards. Why are they always so small and cramped. It's a bad design, I tell ya.

11:34 pm  

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