The joy of home improvement projects is captured in this TikTok

Originally published at: The joy of home improvement projects is captured in this TikTok | Boing Boing


I recently went thorugh that process, but not before having paid a contractor to do it for me only to discover they could not functionally fix anything.


Make that guy 23% less effective (and about 47% less photogenic) and welcome to my life. Previously identified with the infinite recursive frustration of ‘Hal’ (Bryan Cranston/Malcolm in the Middle) replacing a light-bulb


Attention all BoingBoingers who live in climates that experience freezing temperatures: This split hose bibb could happen to you.

From what I could see in the video, this person already had a frost-free hose bibb installed, but it froze and split anyway. Why is that? Frost-free hose bibbs do not work properly if you leave a hose or a hose splitter attached during the winter months.

The way frost-free hose bibbs work is, when you turn the handle to shut them off, actually shut off back inside the wall 4" to 6" to 8" (depending on the length of hose bibb that you buy). The water on the other side of the shut off then drains out of the end (this is why they don’t appear to shut off immediately). You don’t have to keep shutting it tighter, this can actually cause damage to the internal seal, on some models.


If, however, you have a hose or hose splitter attached, as this person appears to have done, water cannot drain from the hose bibb properly. This water then freezes inside the hose bibb, expanding the metal. This may not break it the first time, but copper does not rebound when the water thaws. It will keep expanding each freeze cycle until a split occurs. You will not know that the split happened, until you attempt to use the hose bibb the first time in the spring.

This person purchased another frost-free hose bibb, but that will not fix the problem if they continue to leave a hose or hose splitter attached, during the winter months.

Also, when choosing a frost-free hose bibb, you want as long a one as possible. The farther back inside your house the water shuts off, the less chance of freezing there is. The hose bibb should also be pitched just slightly down toward the outside, so that the water can properly drain.

Another alternative to the frost-free hose bibb, is to make your own. If you install a ball valve on the line leading to the outdoor hose bibb, and the line attached to the hose bibb is pitched slightly towards the outside, you can just turn off the ball valve leading to the hose bib for the winter months. Then open the outdoor hose bibb and let it drain. That way no water is present to create the freezing condition, that would have split the pipe.

And yes, I could have just called it a spigot, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to type bibb like 100 times :slight_smile:


Great advice!


There’s a definite pattern to the people at Home Depot that I noticed over the years because I used to go a lot at all hours to a 24h one.

At 6am you have the pros. The guys who are working a job in the area and need supplies for the day.

Around 9am, the DIYers show up, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, determined to replace that water heater themselves.

At 10:30, the same people are back to buy a different plumbing fitting. They’ve got it this time, though.

At noon, you see those same people again- still enthusiastic, but a little disillusioned. This time they’re buying five of every plumbing fitting so they don’t have to come back.

At 4pm, the same people again, now staring at the plumbing aisle in bewilderment.

At 9pm, the same people again, and they look like they’ve been to war. Cold, wet, dirty, tired, and no longer understanding why anything in the world is the way it is.

At midnight, you get the hardcore. Nobody is gonna tell them when to call a plumber, goddammit.

At 2am, you get the people with nothing left to lose. Don’t talk to them. Back away slowly, making no sudden movements.


This is me, but put a month between each step.

Not included is the return trip because you purchased an item that was in the wrong bin, or where someone had removed something from the package then closed up the package and returned it.


I wasn’t aware of frost-free bibbs. Shortly after we moved into our house we had a minor leak when the pipe to our outside tap froze (one of the first of many introductions to home ownership). I installed a shutoff valve just inside the wall, and the last thing I do before freezeup is to remove the outside tap, replacing it in the spring.

Or the half hour going through every box on the shelves to find the misfiled part that’s the configuration you need. A Home Depot employee actually came along and helped me search, so good for them.

I just replaced our kitchen faucet, the one that never worked right since we had the kitchen redone ten years ago. I can’t count the number of times Delta sent me cartridges and diverters and o-rings trying to correct various problems. At last it developed a major leak and after replacing an o-ring the flow was down to a trickle. Finally Delta sent me a whole new faucet free of charge to replace the ten-year-old one that I had no receipt for, just on the basis of my word over the phone that I was the original purchaser. I figure in all, Delta sent me about $350 in new parts over the years. Yay, Delta!! They have my business forever.

Then I had to replace the contractor’s shitty shutoff valves under the sink—the reason for my Home Depot visit.

To do this, I had my wife close the upstream shutoff in the basement, and when she opened it again it started leaking quite badly. Fortunately I had a scrap gate valve in the junk box that I could cannibalize for the stem, so I didn’t have to desolder the existing one.

Now everything works, and we can’t pass the kitchen faucet without contemplating the marvel that is hot and cold running water.


Then there’s me; 7 pm, looking to buy both the appliance that’s shat the bed, and the installation/haul-away service for it, because frankly, I’m getting too old for that.

When I had my house re-plumbed after I bought it, I specified ball valves for everything that they were replacing, for exactly that reason. I have exactly one gate valve, and it’s the hose bib on the front yard, because sometimes I do actually need the flow control that it provides.

I have a separate rant about the remaining galvanized supply lines in the attic that I won’t bore you with; suffice to say, I’m never using the plumbing company that re-plumbed the house ten years ago. (They had full run of an empty house for three days- how the HELL do you miss an entire f%&king bathroom?!?!!?)

The last plumbing adventure I did myself was replacing the kitchen faucet with a nicer one with a spray hose, and putting in a filtered water dispenser and filter setup.


I replace with ball valves whenever I do any plumbing work. If I’m counting right, I have now installed ten of them. Only about six to go. :grin:


And every fixture gets a good cutoff valve for both hot and cold water (especially the tub), so I can replace the faucets when they crap out with something that isn’t El Cheapo house brand, and don’t have to cut off water to the whole house. AFAIK, there is no well-respected replacement for a toilet flush valve, all the ones I’ve used have tanked within 5 years.


No kidding. You remove the one from the 1960s that lasted almost 70 years with a brand new one, and the new one lasts five years. :angry:


Tiktok’s logo is a a statement of contempt:

We’re supposed to be misaligned! We don’t care about your graphics design hangups! We’ll use process color for Spot Color. We don’t care!

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Quality content! Thanks!


I always assumed it was supposed to be an anaglyph (red/blue 3D). You just made me Google it though, and it isn’t. The colours are right but the offsets are wrong, so it doesn’t make sense through old fashioned 3D glasses either.

In short, it’s even worse.


Since covid I go at 6am and I’m usually the only one in the store.

There are occasionally contractors.

I use the app to make a list of what I need and which aisle/bay stuff is in. I can fill up a cart and be out in 10 minutes.

I solve the problem of needing to go back by buying more stuff than I actually need, it can really add to the cost of a simple repair but I hate going into stores.

What I miss about the mom and pop hardware stores is when I’m working on something and I need a thing to do a thing that the thing wasn’t designed for. Way back when, the old gyy behind the counter could help you find something that would work

Now the guy in the aisle will say we don’t carry a thing to do that. I know but something in this store will do it, let’s brainstorm and figure it out.

Nope, you’re on your own.


DIY place open 24/7 there’s a novelty, every thing here shuts at 8pm, unless its Sunday, then god demands its closes at 4pm O and it can not open till 10AM because its its Sunday, and that’s in the UK, From my time in Germany, All shops will be shut on a Sunday, even food shops…

I bet they have not sourced that in the uk…

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