About a month ago, I was washing dishes and all of a sudden, the water simply stopped. My first thought was that the water main buried outside must have broken, but upon further inspection, I found that the water to Florence was flowing perfectly and with a decent amount of pressure. Because the water would flow from the storage tank when the pump was on, that told me that everything was working inside Florence as well. The only point where water didn’t seem to be flowing was at the point where the outdoor hose attached to the side of Florence, a strange little hookup marked “City Water Inlet.”
I didn’t know much about the City Water Inlet (and I don’t really think I know that much more now…) but I learned that what appears to be simply a male connection for a female hose, actually has a bunch more going on. The inside of the connection contains a small white plastic box that contains a pressure regulator. It’s a little device that ensures that water coming from the source isn’t so pressured that it will blow your plumbing apart inside the Airstream. I also learned that the valve is especially prone to freezing. When they freeze they lock up, and boom. That’s it. They’re kaput and need to be replaced.
Plumbing is well outside of my areas of expertise, but the adventurous side of me decided to give it a try.
My first move was to remove the old valve.
It was a tougher job than it appeared to be. There seemed to be a lot of screws (4 inside that were VERY long and 4 outside that were very short), and it was very challenging to work in the tight quarters under the sink. The inside of the valve attaches to a little female receptacle that has a daisy wheel around it to tighten or loosen. It was pretty easy to loosen. Then, I had to pry the old valve off the side of the Airstream, because it had this sort of grey caulk goop all around it.
When I pulled it off, there was a noticeable hole in the side of the Airstream.
I plugged the hole with a towel to keep water and critters out and ordered a replacement valve. I also ordered a 90º elbow too. The elbow goes on the outside and helps to secure the hose to the City Water Inlet valve, without putting pressure on the valve itself.
The new valve slid right in the hole, but aligning the interior connection with the daisy wheel took some effort. I tightened the daisy wheel to a point where it thought it was tight. It wasn’t. As soon as I turned on the water main, water squirted out inside of the Airstream. I turned off the main and tightened it until my fingers really (really) hurt. That seemed to be tight enough. No more dripping or squirting, a nice dry seal, and perfect running water in Florence once again!
I took some time to re-caulk the outside with some clear silicone caulk, and hopefully, I won’t have to replace this valve for a very long time!