Keeping us on our toes

We we’re expecting a quiet, uneventful week in Montrose, CO, but RV Life™ always has other plans…

Last Sunday started out amazing.  We got up nice and early and spent most of the day exploring and hiking around Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  The weather was ideal and it was great to stretch our legs and take in some truly beautiful sights.

After we got back from the park we were looking forward to relaxing the rest of the afternoon and getting ready for the upcoming workweek.  But then I tried to be a little too handy.

We had been having some weak hot water pressure so I thought I’d take a look at the plumbing to see if one of the lines was clogged.  There is a check valve installed on the outlet of the hot water heater (used to prevent the water from backfilling into the water heater) that I had heard from some of the people on the RV forums I follow often gets clogged or breaks and when I took a look I saw that our check valve was leaking a bit.  Not a lot, but there was a noticeable leak.

I thought, okay, cool, I’ll take that off and see if I can’t clean it out and figure out what’s going on.  But, as I was trying to remove the check valve (which was made of cheap plastic) it broke in half leaving half of it stuck in the hot water heater with no way to get it out.  It broke off flush with the outlet and no matter what we tried we couldn’t get any leverage to unscrew the remaining piece to get it out.

Luckily Montrose has a Home Depot, but unluckily everything we bought and tried didn’t work, so in the end I had to use the hole punch tool of our Leatherman with a hammer to chisel the remaining plastic bits out.  Oh, and even after going to every hardware store in town that was open on a Sunday we couldn’t find a replacement check valve.  So even though we got the bad check valve pieces out of the water heater we didn’t have a new check valve to install.

At Home Depot we did find a stop plug that we put in the plumbing line that used to be connected to the water heater so we could turn the water back on and at least have running cold water, even if we didn’t have any hot water.

I spent most of Monday and Tuesday afternoons after work hunting down the right replacement check valve part (I ended up finding one at an RV supply store just outside town but also had ordered one from Amazon to be delivered to the campground). 

Around dinner time on Tuesday I had everything installed and back in place and turned the water back on and… there was still a leak.  So I took the wrench and tightened every fixture as tight as I could but I went too far and the plastic PEX fixture that attaches to the check valve burst with water spraying everywhere.

Luckily this was solved with a quick trip back to Home Depot since they had plenty of those PEX fixtures in stock.  A few hours later I, again, had everything installed and back in place and turned the water back on and… yep, there was still a leak. 

This time it wasn’t the check valve or the PEX fixtures, though, it was the fact that I didn’t use enough plumbers tape and sealant around the fittings.  Apparently water heaters are under a bit more pressure than regular plumbing fixtures and need a really tight seal.  It was too late to deal with it that night but by Wednesday afternoon, after yet another trip back to Home Depot for the right kind of sealant (and after 3+ days of trial and error), we finally were leak-free and back to normal.

After that less than relaxing week in Montrose we made the long drive down to the Mesa Verde National Park area yesterday afternoon.  Today we’re going to head down to the Four Corners Monument and run some errands and then do our best to relax the rest of the weekend.  Next week should just be a normal workweek for us but next weekend we’ll head into Mesa Verde and explore the park.  We’ll be here for a total of two weeks and I’m really looking forward to not having any unexpected issues pop up (knock on wood). 

6 thoughts on “Keeping us on our toes

  1. Tracy Machacek

    I love that you’re learning as you go. And honestly, the issues tend to make fun and memorable stories later. I am so surprised that RVLife means so much time spent in Home Depot as I thought that was only for new homeowners. I love all of the beautiful scenery that you’re sharing.

    1. The Duck Post author

      We’re definitely learning as we go. I figure we’re two steps closer to being certified plumbers at this point. And as much as I don’t miss the back and forth trips to Home Depot that were all too common as a homeowner, we sure do appreciate when there is one close by when we have an issue!

  2. Terry Penney

    Nice to see these regular updates on your adventure Scott! It’s these learning events that you’ll remember in the long run of the journey. Got to poke the Buffalo to share in the writing of these updates!

    1. The Duck Post author

      We sure are racking up those learning event memories! And I agree, the Buffalo needs to come out of hibernation and share some of her thoughts!

      1. Alicia

        Amazon delivers to campgrounds?!? Sounds like your persistence paid off, nice job.

        Hope you get to see some fall colors in the Mesa Verde area! If they’re doing small tours of some of the dwellings we highly recommend that, rope ladders and all (get reservations in advance).

        1. The Duck Post author

          Some campgrounds allow deliveries, but not all. We just lucked out!

          We just had our visit to Mesa Verde NP and we were able to book a tour of the Cliff Palace, it was very cool!


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