Giving Support - Securing Plumbing using Cool Tools.

I'm starting to repair the damage from the plumbing leak. With all plumbing itself fixed, including the brand-new shower valve, I needed to secure it in place before insulating and sealing the jagged hole in the wall. I needed to figure out how to install a piece of framing to do that.

I pulled a piece of 2x4 out of the scrap bin and ran it though the mighty B.A.M.S to cut it to exact size.

12" Dewalt Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The board had to fit between two wall studs behind the shower enclosure. There was no hammer swinging room in the dark hole to toenail a board in place. The big framing nail gun couldn't get in there either. My solution was pocket holes and screws. I don't like using screws for structural framing because of their lower shear strength, compared to nails, but for this application,.. perfect!

Pocket holes, of course, mean Kreg Jig time! The trusty Kreg Jig Jr. came out of its drawer once again. I love this handy little widget and use it every time I can find an excuse. (Read my review here). I drilled two pocket holes in each end of the board.

I slipped the board in between the studs and zapped a couple screws in with my handy upside-down impact driver.
Kreg Jig Pocket Holes

I'm not sure if they sell upside-down tools where you live, but they sure are handy. This particular one is a DeWalt. It's 100% identical to their normal version, but it is inverted, a perfect 180 degree brother. Even the lettering is upside-down. Genius.

I used the square drive extension bit and screws from Kreg to secure the board on both ends. I only dropped screws down the hole twice!

Kreg Jig Pocket Holes

Kreg Jig Pocket Holes

The back of the shower valve (with the mounting bracket) was now on the back side of the new support board. There was no way I could get a power tool in there to drive screws, unless I could find a widget that could help me.

As luck would have it, I had just the right thing in my magical toolbox of tricks and wonders. I had actually won it in a Facebook photo of the week contest, sponsored by DeWalt. This is the DeWalt Right Angle Adapter Attachment and it is a blessing from the gods in this situation.

DeWalt Right Angle Adapter Attachment
Shown installed in a right-side-up impact driver on a gorgeous, 1979 original
 gold ribbon, fake marble vanity top. 
I was able to stick this compact, impact-rated rascal into the narrow space and zap both screws in tight. I also screwed down the corner brackets for the PEX tubing (see "Replacing a Tub / Shower Valve - Scald Free after all these years")  the same way.

DeWalt Right Angle Adapter Attachment
Snug eh?
The valve was on tight but the faucet below it still had some wiggle to it. I had installed it with the push-in SharkBite connectors (see the same valve post above). I cut another board and pocket hole screwed it to the wall's base plate, running it vertically to my new cross piece.

Supporting Copper Plumbing
Bottom: Pocket Hole Screwed into the base plate.
Supporting Copper Plumbing
Top: Screwed into the cross piece and a spacing block.
To get the proper spacing to support the plumbing to the faucet, I raided my scrap box again and did some quick chopping on the miter saw. I MacGvyver'd  a spacing block to the right size to strap the pipe down tight. You may have gotten a sneak peak of this fine assembly on my brand new Instagram page. (check it out!)

Supporting Copper Plumbing

Quick tip! Note how I used a plastic support strap. You do not want to use dissimilar metal types against copper. Even copper straps with steel screws are bad news. They will corrode and may cause leaks. 

Done! This was actually a fun repair with fun tools. Both the  Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole System and the DeWalt Right Angle Adapter Attachment are awesome affordable, additions to your toolbox.


Non-Sponsored post. I just like this stuff and want you to know it.
(Affiliate links included)

Installing the New Shower / Bath Hardware

I just finished installing the new scald-free (thank God!) shower valve, so I can finally finish the project by trimming out the fixtures. I'm starting this post where I left off last time, with the new valve installed and the house water on.

Check out the post on replacing the valve. It's chock full of awesome, with modern plumbing materials that really made the installation easy.

Replacing the more cosmetic parts of the shower and bath fixtures is actually a very easy project*
*"easy" if the stars align and you don't live in a mutant house like I do. Around here, "easy" means "it could have been worse".

Replacing a Tub / Shower Valve - Scald free after all these years

After repairing the emergency water leak in our wall, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to replace the bath tub valve in our guest bathroom. Ours was an old-school classic, a 1979 "flush-the-toilet-and-scald-the-hell-out-of-you" style valve.

It was also in positively horrendous shape. In addition to the nice flush-n-scald  feature, the old valve's temperature selector was a dicey affair, requiring constant fiddling to get it just right. The knob fell off regularly, and the built up hard water stains made for an ugly mess.  I'd never replaced it, because the guts were hidden back in the wall, behind a one-piece fiberglass tub / shower enclosure (which we'd like to replace someday too).

Installing a Humidity-Controlled Switch for a Bathroom Fan

Leviton Humidity Sensor / Fan Control # IPHS5-1LW
Humidity Sensor / Fan Control
I absolutely love easy, home-automating gadgets. I'm drawn to devices that offer convenience, energy-savings, affordability, and a simple cool factor. So when I saw a switch to control a bathroom fan, activated by humidity, I jumped at it.

Leviton Manufacturing liked my Ultimate Workshop Power Strip post where I had used their devices, so they sent me their Humidity Sensor and Fan Control to try out. I've always liked their stuff and really looked forward to this one.

Why? Here's my reasoning. Humidity is never a good thing in the house, right? Mold. Mildew. Bacteria. Fogged mirrors. Turning on a bathroom exhaust fan during a shower (especially a lobster-boiling, steaming-hot one like I enjoy) is a good

Live Post! All we are is dust in the wind

July 3, 2014 We were getting ready to go out to see the fireworks tonight. I was going to post some nice photos for you. BUT,... all out cell phones started wailing their emergency alert signals before we left. Dust storms, or "Haboobs". Two of them had joined together in the south and were headed right at us. So instead of beautiful fireworks, I'll give you a skyline full of flying dirt.

Naturally, I grabbed the camera and a ladder and headed for the roof,... cause I'm a bit of an idiot. Because I needed the practice, I climbed down, actually grabbed the SD card for my camera, and climbed back up. Obviously, this illustrates that besides being a sarcastic DIY blogger, I'm a crack photojournalist. I bet the neighbors enjoyed me staring stupidly at my camera, on the roof, while thousands of feet of swirling dust madness bore down on me.

Translated: "AZ DIY Guy, head for the roof!!!"

I watched the wall of dust slowly engulf the neighborhoods to the south and west of us. Creepin closer and closer. I could see trees and rooftops nearby start to dissapear, so I headed for the ladder.

This neighbor won't have to worry about muddy pool water.
I was staring straight up at a wall of dust thousands of feet high. I scooted down the ladder just as the leading edge slammed in.

I heard a neighbor shout, but I was sprinting for the front door, getting my face sandblasted off, and didn't turn around to chat.

Still, he must have been running right behind me, because he knocked at the door as soon as I closed it. He had been racing towards his portable gazebo / tent thing to tie it down when it lifted, out of his yard and flew, pretty much right over our block fence (and my head) and tumbled into our yard.

We actually fished it out of the swimming pool, which was brobably the only thing that kept it from touring the neighborhood for a bit longer. Three of us peeled the canvas top back, since it was acting as the reverse parachute and tied it in place.

I lashed it to our pool fence for the night, with some #14 Romex electrical cable and we all ran back to the shelter of home. I guess I'll be getting to know the neighbors a little better tomorrow as we try to man handle this beast back over the fence. I may float the idea of staking it to the ground and see what they think.

Thunderstorms are rolling in now. Maybe we'll even see a couple ounces of rain here in the desert.

Enjoy your holiday my American friends! I hope they still have fireworks where you are.