The Anti-Scald Law here in the Golden (Rusty) State

by cheri sabraw 👧

With age, things fall apart.

Our bodies do not function as well as they did when we were in our twenties, nor do they look as good. I noticed these progressive losses about five years ago when I threw my head back to laugh at a silly joke and wrenched my neck.

How many times in my youth did I throw my head back so far in giddy hysterics out on the school lawn or shake it in a flirtatious hair-flinging motion designed to tease my boyfriend with no damage whatsoever?

Those days are gone. Those days where as a girl you didn’t consider the tops of your hands or the back of your heels or your gums or your knees or joints. You just didn’t because all those parts were young and fluid and strong, and you felt so good about yourself. You knew you would never break.

Our plumbing doesn’t function as well either.

You may be thinking that I am getting ready to write a treatise on digestion, pro-biotics, prunes, and fiber.

I’m not.

I’m referring to faucets and shower heads.

Only two states in the United States (I learned yesterday at the local plumbingimages-2 store) California (naturally) and Vermont have strict anti-scald rules that now prevent plumbers from installing fixtures in the shower or tub with  separate hot and cold handles. Really. I’m serious.

Clearly, the lawyers in California have caused this rule and regulation.  I imagine that a ninety-year-old woman got into her shower and instead of turning the cold handle, she became confused and turned on the hot, thus scalding her thin skin. I imagine her damages were worth the $250,000 settlement; after all, she still had years to live. Can you imagine a state like North Dakota buying into an anti-scald law? Or how about Montana? Or how about Arizona? No, only states like California, Massachusetts, Vermont (New Hampshire will be next) and dare I say, Connecticut???

Big Dave at the local plumbing store told me, “Heck, if we came out  and installed separate hot and cold handles, we could get a 10 thousand dollar fine!!” I raised one eyebrow and threw my head back, and said, “Ouch! You’ve got to be kidding.”

So, if your plumbing fixtures of twenty-years ago break, as our cold water handle did in the guest bathroom–where I take my nightly bath–you can no longer legally replace it, unless it is with one fixture, the type that is round and looks like a clock with a valve that moves hot and cold along in an arc. These are the types of fixtures at Holiday Inn, Express or Motel Six.images-1

The solution for a broken cold handle? Dave suggested we cut the tile ( ka-ching, ka-ching) to take out the old fixture, try to match new tile (ka-ching, ka-ching) and have a specialist (double ka-ching) come in and grout it and replace the fixtures with one device.

I came home and delivered the verdict to the man of the house, who did not take the news well, ranted and raved, and asked me, “Cheri, what are you going to do about this situation? I threw my head back and said, “Ouch! Isn’t this a guy thing?”

Meanwhile, in order to add cold water to my bath, I now have to take the handle (which is resting in the soap dish) and manipulate it onto the threads until the mixture of hot and cold is the right cocktail.

Is this a great state or what?

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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23 Responses to The Anti-Scald Law here in the Golden (Rusty) State

  1. Brighid says:

    This is when you contact your friend’s friend that has the ol style hardware store in the back of beyond of Oregon and have him send you the part from his stash… easy peasy

    • Cheri says:

      You are so funny, not to mention the voice of clarity, responsibility, and logic. Ya know, I now have a relative and his kids (my son, his wife,and MY granddaughters) that moved last summer to Oregon, so securing the part will be as you say, “easy peasy.” (Richard, look that one up. Its etymology harkens back to the early Normans). My problem (Cyberquil will will explain in a minute) is that I do not have a plumber. Plumbing is the one skill the man of the house does NOT have and getting one to risk a 10k fine will be tough, but with the appropriate “tip”, I think I can do it.

  2. Richard says:

    ka-ching? had to look it up – must have been old a long time – in fact always was – remember looking up from pram unable to move – glenys good with broken handles – great pictures – hope granny state passes law against aging – don’t think i’ll comment on this one … Ouch! *****

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Counselor, I am so happy that your hackles (word etymology from early Mesopotamia) were not raised by another anti-lawyer comment. ( I am waiting for my lawyer-friend Linda to jump on this one). Your comment is so funny that I laughed OUT LOUD…Ouch! I wish I could tell you how I handled the local authorities when they sent me a citation yesterday for failing to pay 22.00 to register, get ready, my CAT.

  3. Cyberquill says:

    Why must you take your nightly bath in the guest bathroom? Given its broken faucet, why don’t you ask the judge for permission to use the main one? Sounds like a reasonable request.

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Cyberquill (with two l’s), The man of the house has suggested at least 100 times that I take my bath in our master bath but I decline. The tub in the MB is too big and uses all the hot water in our hot water heater. To my knowledge (I could be wrong) he has never bathed in that tub and to think it has Jacuzzi jets. I like a small dark bathroom where I can light my lavender candles and feel cozy. Just another little weird practice that has come with age, a practice where all my “ouches” are worked out.

      • Cyberquill says:

        Thanks. Master. That’s the word I was looking for but couldn’t think of. Not main. (I come here to learn.)

          • Cyberquill says:

            Why don’t you fill your guest tub with scalding hot water and do some yoga or meditation while you wait for it to cool down into the legal temperature range? See, your problem is that you’re always in such a rush. The universe has rendered inoperable your cold water handle for a reason.

            Just be grateful you’re still allowed to have a bathtub, at least for now. Anti-drown legislation is in the works.

            • Cheri says:

              In California, anything is possible and Jerry Brown is always looking for revenue. We now have a huge surplus, some of which he is going to throw back to the schools (still an institution without any accountability). After meeting with our accountant, I noticed that the state income tax rates have not gone down, despite the surplus. Just curious: what is the tax rate in Austria? Is it worth it?

              • Cyberquill says:

                Not sure if there is such a thing as a uniform tax rate that applies to everyone. I don’t know. It’s complicated. Plus I’m not earning any money, so your question is above my pay grade (and quite literally so). Based on hearsay, though, I’d say Austrians are heavily taxed. Austria is, after all, the prototype of the Western European welfare state that the American right keeps railing against.

  4. Linda says:

    Welcome to California. How about this one? When we bought our home, the inspector told us the single handle faucet was installed backward so that the hot and cold directions were reversed. I said no problem we will just have our handyman take it out and install it properly. Guess again. When he took a look at it it was installed behind a stud so the only way to remove it was to carve a hole through the wall in the adjoining bedroom. I threw my head back(though without the same result as you) and said “fat chance”. I then set about to find a creative solution. I removed the red and blue sticker on the faucet and reversed it. Now the red (or hot) color corresponds with the hot direction. After all – the only folks that really know that hot is to the left are plumbers and inspectors. If the next user can’t recognize that red is hot – well then….

  5. Cheri says:

    The verdict is in: I need to get Linda on this problem. You all do not know Linda, but when she puts her mind to solving any problem, believe me, it gets solved. So Linda, what do I do? The handle and the fixtures in the guest bathroom are breaking. I want the same type of fixtures. The man of the house refuses to deal with the problem because he is working too much (again). I am now interviewing stone masons, garage organizers, plumbers, and electricians. I am also looking for a job because I don’t want to be handling these types of problems. A part-time job will get me out from under the household secretarial responsibilities. Then, nothing will be done.

  6. Outrageous! Who passed this law? Someone got paid a lot of brass. Jan’s guestroom shower/bath has this control, and I consistently turn it the wrong way. I remember a trip to Yosemite with your parents, while staying at the Ahwahnee. Your Mother and Dr. Advice were still in their rooms, and your father and I went to breakfast. On the way he began to give the desk clerk a huge piece of his mind, saying that his wife nearly scalded herself in the shower. I quickly moved away before they thought I was the scaldee. There is no one like Dr. Advice or Dr. Block in advocating for a principle. (You and Cori are pretty good, but no contest.)

    • Cheri says:

      Oh, I never heard that story!
      You put me in the back seat of our Vista Dome Buick or out to breakfast when the coffee arrived cold.
      You also made me laugh.

  7. Don says:

    I must say I am impressed. Without paying undue attention to our dysfunctional Democrat-controlled Legislature, I just assumed they were doing the feel-good tax-spending legislation such politicians are presumably wont to do. But no! They were also cozying up to the plumbers unions and fixture manufacturers, the very same industries that cozy up to the backbones and backsides of the nation. Such patriots they are after all!

    Since I rent a house it’s “not my problem”, except the owners don’t fix things because the house is fifty years old and all they want to spend is nothing until the market rebounds enough for them to sell. The plumbing is our particular bugaboo, in that the old cast iron water entry pipes have mineral build-up and the water pressure is really really low. But since this means less baths and showers (or at least much slower ones), the fixtures are bound to last longer. Every cloud has its copper lining!

  8. Christopher says:

    I’ve just checked my shower. As I feared, it has two taps (faucets) – one for cold, one for hot. Which means I’m a prime candidate for scalding.

    I’m now consumed with a paralysing anxiety about this, compared with which my other paralysing anxieties – about being abducted by extraterrestrials in the dead of night, about being incinerated by a nuclear missile also in the dead of night, and about disappearing in an earthquake that could happen not just in the dead of night, but any time – seem now piffling.

  9. Cheri says:

    Well, first of all, I love your last word ” piffling.”
    I had to look it up.

    You sound like you ought to consider some new fixtures. 🙂

    I ought to write a post about my anxieties!!

  10. wkkortas says:

    “Then came the churches,
    Then came the schools,
    Then came the lawyers,
    Then came the rules.”

    –Dire Stratis, Telegraph Road

  11. Cheri says:

    Good one. Where does the Obama administration fit in? 👸

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