Monday, July 20, 2009

House Fun : Fixing Leaks

We have a long list of things to fix at our house. Some are needs (a Furnace before winter!) some are wants (new paint job in the boy's room and office). Some are in between.

Like the slightly leaky pipes. There was a tangle of pipes that lead to the dishwasher, the kitchen sink and the washing machine. There were three different places in the pipes that were leaking, two places where tightly bound electricians tape suggested there might be a tiny leak, and one patch that was definitely a leak repair.

Did I mention that the old cement sink was really really really gross? Or that we wanted the free-standing basement shower out eventually?

Saturday night I was headed to Home Depot to get the parts to fix the leaks (just the leaks!). I realized that to replace the leaky sink faucet, I would need to get an old style direct-to-the-pipes faucet. When we would eventually replace the washtub, we would need to get a new faucet again at that point.

I called Caroline, and she agreed that we should just replace the washtub at the same time, and not buy a faucet that we would only use for a few months. Then I suggested tearing out the basement shower at the same time too. I figured since we were already messing with pipes, we might as well do it right once, instead of doing it twice. We would be taking a big load to the dump soon anyways, so the shower could just join the pile.

An hour an a half later I walked out of home depot with $190 worth of plumbing supplies, instead of the $30 or so I had been planning on.

Caroline and I then (at 9:30 PM) started what we thought would be a quick job of replacing the leaky pipes and faucets and removing the old washtub and shower.

By 11:00 PM I had finally gotten the hang of soldering the pipes, and we had installed local shut off valves. Before those were installed, we had to have water for the whole house shut off, which meant no way to even shower before church if we had to give up for the night!

Caroline was an amazing worker. She wielded the hacksaw of fury and measured each length of pipe just right. She also showed nerves of steel while holding pipes in place while I used the torch to solder them together.

We replaced the leaky stretches of pipe, removed the shower and the pipes that had run to it, broken up and removed the gross washtub, fixed the leaky tee that went up to the dishwasher, installed normal faucet connectors and installed non-leaky washing machine connectors.

Finally we fixed two connections which I hadn't quite soldered correctly, then turned the water on again. No leaks!

By that time it was 2:30 AM, and we were tired and very dirty, so we cleaned up and went to bed.



Rachel C. said...

Woohoo! You guys are awesome! We wish we had a house to work on. It's Derek's favorite thing to do.

Plumbing is hard work! I'm glad you guys were able to get it working in time for church! :)

Michael said...

Doing these pipes wasn't too bad, but we're probably going to need to hire a contractor to put in the basement shower p-trap and drain.

There's this business of "code" and "permits" and "inspection" that worries me a bit about bigger projects...

AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Yuck, that does not even sound fun to have done. But I'm sure it will be. I'm impressed by your skills, Michael, though I still wouldn't trust them in my own house. No offense. :) Love you guys!

Caroline said...

Ha! Hacksaw of fury, indeed!

Bart said...

Very impressive. I'm especially impressed that you got everything you needed at Home Depot the first time. I've found that I end up going back at least two to five extra times to get the right pieces and parts.

Well done!

Lindsey Hicks said...

What? No before and After pictures?

Michael said...

Maybe Caroline can post an after picture?

Lindsey Hicks said...

Thank you for the pic. I await the "after."

megan said...

I realize I am commenting very late, but I never did, and wanted to say... WOW! You guys are brave and amazing. When the plumbing or electrical got too tough in our house... we hired it out. Nice work.