Reconciling myself with wasting water?
May 2, 2005 10:32 AM   Subscribe

One of the few repairs that needs to be performed on our next apartment is a leaky bathtub faucet. Not mere drips: a constant steady stream of water is wasted. If they are unwilling to fix this leak, would I be silly not to take this otherwise perfect apartment? How guilty should I feel about so much water wastage?

No, I won't have to pay the water bill. And the reason they might not be willing to make the repair is that they would have to turn the water off to the entire building, including to the four star restaurant on the ground floor.
posted by skryche to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
If they are unwilling to fix the leak, who knows what else they'll be unwilling to fix? I'd pass.
posted by kindall at 10:37 AM on May 2, 2005

Agree with Kindall: I've had a terrible experience with a management company that ignored our reports of problems with an apartment. The result? A 100 pound chunk of plaster dropped out of the ceiling and smack onto my pillow, which luckily I was not using at the time. Unless there's a crazy shortage of housing in your area, I'd run away from any landlord that shows the slightest reluctance to make a legitimate repair.
posted by handful of rain at 10:45 AM on May 2, 2005

A building that doesn't have an isolation valve for each apartment? Doesn't sound good to me. A bathroom that doesn't have an isolation valve somewhere to turn the water off to it? Also not a good sign.

On the other hand, replacing a worn out washer is a very small job for a plumber, or even for us normal people with a few of the right tools. I second the notion, if the landlord won't do such a small repair, forget about it.
posted by gaby at 10:48 AM on May 2, 2005

I'm with these two. If they won't maintain the property now, they won't when it's something that makes your life miserable.

Having said that, you should know that this repair will likely cost between one and ten dollars in parts, and less than an hour in time to fix. It's something you can do, but if they won't do this little bit, I wouldn't trust my living environment to them.

Oh, I guess I should tell you what the fix is likely to be. A rubber washer (for two-handled faucets) or a cartridge (for single handed faucets) needs to be replaced. If you have a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench, you're set.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:59 AM on May 2, 2005

Response by poster: I really should have mentioned that I'm friends with the previous tenant; he's lived there for two years and has been very happy with the upkeep.
posted by skryche at 11:08 AM on May 2, 2005

I tend to forgive most of the little problems in rentals as long as there is clear recourse for the big problems and I will fix them myslef and on my own time. The last time I rented for a long period of time, I redid the valve seats in the sink and cartridge in the shower. No big deal, and I could do it on my time.

I've always tried to establish a good working relationship with my landlord so that it was understood that I could save them a lot of money by doing the repair and that they would reimburse for parts and they would get quality work in the process.

They also got a whole more responsive when I thought that something was out of my league.

Having to turn off the water for the whole building is unforgivable in design. Per floor is still bad. There should be a shut off for each apartment. One way to accelerate the repair is by saying something like "I had some clothes drip drying over the tub and one fell in and blocked the drain. I'm glad I noticed it before it overflowed. Maybe we should get the drip fixed?"
posted by plinth at 11:26 AM on May 2, 2005

Yeah I also agree that you should pass on it. I had a landlady once who refused to send out an electrician to investigate when we had a spark/fire in one of our outlets. Her attitude put my life and posessions in danger as far as I'm concerned and I won't go back to living like that. Who knows in the coming years if worse things than a leaky faucet will arise? Perhaps there's whitewashed fire damage in the walls, or holes in the roof you don't know about yet, or an ant infestation waiting to bloom. Ready to tackle all those on your lonesome?

However, if you do take the apartment and this is the only problem you ever have with it, you should consider keeping a bucket under the faucet, and using it to flush your toilet. Just do your business and then pour the bucket of water in. Tada! The toilet flushes. It's a good way to pur rainwater / greywater / otherwise wasted water to use.
posted by scarabic at 2:52 PM on May 2, 2005

What does your previous tenant friend say about the pest situation? I would be reluctant to take an apartment in any building with a restaurant on the ground floor. Add a constant source of water, as in your leaky faucet, and it sounds like a recipe for a serious vermin problem.

I'd take a pass.

A good friend of mine lived in a place with a restaurant on the ground floor, and every time the restaurant sprayed for bugs, she would know, because her bathroom would be filled with hundreds of dead and dying cockroaches fleeing the fumigation. I'm just sayin'.
posted by ambrosia at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2005

Take it if you want it, but assume you'll get no maintenance.


Having to turn off the whole building to fix a faucet is absurd. While the water is off they should install a shutoff for your whole apartment.
posted by Ken McE at 4:19 PM on May 2, 2005

Put a bucket or something underneath the faucet to catch the water; use it for watering plants or something. It's clean water and all... run it through a brita and drink it!

Don't let something small like this prevent you from getting what sounds like an apartment you really want.
posted by elisabeth r at 5:59 PM on May 2, 2005

Having water constantly run in your bathroom will really increase the amount of mold there. One thing to consider.
posted by reverendX at 6:50 PM on May 2, 2005

Best answer: How guilty should I feel about so much water wastage?

since no one else touched this...

about 1% of the world's water is drinkable in its original form.

millions die anually from disease related to contaminated water
. Potable water supplies are actually decreasing worldwide; a President of the World Bank even once stated that the next world war will be over water.

Of course, if you're concerned about wasting water from a running tap, you should be truly worried about that new computer you're thinking of buying.
posted by poweredbybeard at 7:17 PM on May 2, 2005

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