Perhaps one of the funniest and most frightening experiences with my mobile home was the day our bathroom faucet exploded. This may have never happened to you (and I hope it never does), but it’s one of those unexpected mobile home repairs that you should know how to do, just in case something like this ever happens. If you follow these helpful steps, you’ll be better prepared in the event that your own mobile home bathroom springs a leak.
An Exciting Event
(Or the day Murphy’s Law installed a fountain in my manufactured home)
I was sitting at my desk, working away, when I heard this loud pop. Shortly thereafter, there was a bang as something fell to the floor and…was that a tap being turned on? Wait – no one was in the bathroom!
Opening the bathroom door, I was greeted by what can only be described as a geyster of hot water (yes, it would happen to the hot water tap) erupting from where the hot water tap used to be, shooting straight up to the ceiling and then raining down in an acid-hot shower. I started to run in there, but after being hit with several generous dollops of hot water, I yelped and retreated. What to do? What to do?
Grabbing a towel from the linen closet, I yelled for my son and passed out the instructions. “I’m going to go in and cover the faucet with this. When I do, get down under the sink and turn the valve to shut the water off. On the count of three!”
Step One: Learn How to Turn Off the Water in Your Bathroom
Not every mobile home is the same, so you want to familiarize yourself with where all of your shut-offs are, prior to an occurrence such as this. I learned the hard way. Take my advice, be on the safe side and go look – now.
Mind you, the first 2 minutes of my plan worked like a charm. I covered the fountain of water and my son dove for the cabinet under the sink. Opening it up, he was greeted by two valves. “Get the one on the left,” I instructed and he started to turn…only to discover that it wouldn’t turn.
He grabbed a wrench from the tool drawer, but to no avail. Time had solidified that valve into a cemented creation that had no intention of ever turning, ever again. Ugh. The hot water had soaked through the towel and was now scalding my fingers. Retreeeeeat!
Step Two: Learn How to Turn Off the Water in Your Mobile Home
Water was seeping into the carpet from under the door and the entire bathroom was soaked from ceiling to floor. At this point, I had no clue how to fix this problem or what, exactly, had even happened. I was too shell-shocked to care. Through the panic, however, I remembered that all homes have a master shut-off for the water lines. I recalled this after remembering my mother explaining how she turned off the water at her place before she went up north, and how you should turn off your water when you evacuate for a hurricane. Somewhere under the house. Somewhere.
So, yeah… If you don’t know where the main water shut-off is for your mobile home, please take a few minutes and go outside right now. I’ve discovered that they are under the house and seem to be in the vicinity of where your hot water heater is located. While this isn’t always the case, it at least gives you a ball-park figure to go on.
Knowing where your main water shut-off valve is, prior to having a geyser erupt in your bathroom (or kitchen, for that matter) can certainly save you valuable time.
Step Three: Buying a New Faucet For Your Mobile Home Bathroom
Upon turning off the water main in our mobile home, we were now able to assess the damage in our bathroom. Wow. Water was pooled on the floor and steadily soaking into the bedroom and livingroom carpets as well as soaking through the lovely particle board floors. Good thing I knew how to replace floors by this point.
Apparently, the hot water faucet on the bathroom sink had given up the ghost and simply broke off. I suspect it had something to do with the cleanser I had been using earlier, never having realized that the majority of bathroom faucets, installed in mobile homes, are actually chrome-plated plastic. Note to self: Lime-Away and plastic taps do not mix.
Another important thing to know, prior to repairing the faucet in the bathroom of your mobile home, is that many mobile home faucets and sinks are different sizes than the standard taps that go in other homes. For this reason, you may find it more beneficial (and time-efficient) to go to a mobile home supply company, rather than checking out the local hardware supply shops.
After about an hour of boggling over all of the different bathroom faucets on display, I finally found the exact match to my old faucet, way down at the end. Where all the other faucets came in fancy cardboard boxes, my mobile home faucet was enclosed in a plastic blister pack and priced at $12. I just knew this was going to be fun.
Step Four: Installing a New Faucet in Your Mobile Home Bathroom
For this task, you may want to invest in something called a basin wrench. Basin wrenches are strange-looking tools, built specifically for the purpose of working in hard-to-reach places and are definitely worth the investment. A brief search online reveals that a good basin wrench can be purchased from anywhere between $5-$35. If you don’t invest in a basin wrench, you may want to limber up with some yoga classes or try and rope yourself a contortionist. In my case, I tried using a teenager. Basin wrenches are much easier to work with.
Going underneath and behind the bathroom sink, you will need to unfasten the water lines from the damaged tap and remove it. In our case, the water line was attatched by two plastic nuts that screwed up onto the water tap. The process was surprisingly simple and quick to do. In fact, the lengthiest part of this process was coercing the teenager to get under the sink in the first place. Again – basin wrench.
Once you’ve lifted out the old faucet, clean the area well and then replace it with the new faucet. Once this is done, you simply reverse the process and reattatch your water lines to the faucet and ensure that they’re nice and tight. If you also have plastic nuts on your water lines, ensure that you tighten them securely, but don’t overtighten or you run the risk of cracking them.
Once you’ve installed the new faucet in your manufactured home, I highly recommend keeping a flashlight on the water lines for a few minutes while you have someone turn on the water and let it run for a little bit. This will give you a chance to see if you’ve gotten a tight seal or if you’re going to need to tighten things up a bit more, in order to prevent a leak. Not catching a drip can lead to water damage, mildew and the growth of black mold in your mobile home. Taking the few minutes to do this check will save you time and money down the road.
Replacing the faucet in your mobile home is a surprisingly quick and easy task. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be better-prepared in the event that you have to replace one of your own. Let’s just hope it’s not because Murphy’s Law turns your mobile home into a fountain.
Personal experience as a mobile home owner
http://www.plumbersurplus.com/Cat/Basin-Wrenches/618/List: Information and prices on basin wrenches