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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The "Phuck It Chronicles With Pictures"

If you ever think that YOU have it really bad with your house remodel then you need to read THIS blog every spring when I go through my water woes. The good news is that every time this happens my plumbing creativity gets better. If my plumbing problems are limited to the basement this year then I am lucky. This proves that no matter how well you think your lines are drained there is always some water left that will freeze and expand causing pipes to separate or splinter. I shut the water off and drained the lines in November. Then I cross my fingers and hope the basement won't freeze.

The worst part about the current problem is this;

Or more precisely, this;

This is the shut off valve. The pipe is 1" dia. and has separated above the shut off. I have no idea if water is in the valve or if the valve has cracked so I called the water department and asked them to shut off the water and remove the meter. If they remove the meter then I don't have to pay for water service so this will save us about $20 a month until I have the water turned back on. That valve above the shut-off is a pressure control valve. It costs $150 to replace so I am hoping that hasn't cracked on me. It is set at 60 lbs pressure but the city water comes in at 40 lbs on a good day so I question it's functionality. The problem is that soldering anything to the supply line takes forever because it usually has water in it. I'm hoping that if the meter is removed near the street then the line will drain and I can solder properly.

What I plan to do now is cut the pipe down nearer to where it enters the wall and put a shut off valve at that point followed by a boiler drain and then another shut off valve. That way if there are any un-repaired leaks that become apparent after the water is turned back on, I will at least have water via the boiler drain to use. If we ever have to go through this again I can drain the line back to the boiler drain. If I'm clever I will use a compression fitting in the line so that it can be disconnected readily.

Then there is this. It looks bad but this is the easy repair;

Another reason to use cpvc! Nothing beats the convenience of gluing and twisting! This is near the location where the water heater is going. I'm glad I didn't put that in yet! I will re arrange this section and add some shut offs to the supply lines that feed the second and third floors as well as a draining valve so water doesn't collect in this area again. I am going to wait until April or May before I fix all this stuff. I still have to run lines to the first floor powder room and while I'm at it I may as well run the lines to where the water heater will eventually end up so I don't have to do it all again later!

The most annoying find is this;

The 2nd floor toilet valve.



At 2/09/2007 2:06 PM, Blogger John said...

Wow. That is a very special hell (the ninth circle of hell was ice, no?). I'm guessing that wrapping the pipes wouldn't be any help either?

I've heard of people using a heated coil that is made for wrapping pipes, basically an electric blanket of sort for pipes. I've heard that they can cause problems with pvc/cpvc pipes but copper ought to be fine.

At 2/09/2007 2:50 PM, Blogger Ms. P in Jackson said...

I've had really good luck with heat tape. You have electric at the house right? Buy some, buy several strands and wrap the most vulnerable pipes. We probably haven't seen the last of the freezing cold.

At 2/09/2007 5:46 PM, Blogger Ranty said...

Oh my... I feel your pain!

A few years ago I had similar problems with pipes freezing and bursting in my basement.

And then the waste pipe (cast iron) cracked too.

And then the gate dropped in the water meter shutoff and the whole thing had to be jackhammered out of my (dirt) basement floor and replaced.


I'm impressed that you are doing the repairs yourself. All I know how to do is pvc...

At 2/12/2007 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is some cold sh!t.

(I let my wife do all the plumbing.)

At 2/13/2007 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An old plumber's trick, if you can't drain all the water out of a copper pipe to solder back together, stick a piece of bread in the pipe. The bread will stop the water from expanding and leaking into the joint you are sweating and when you turn the water back on it gets blown out and dissolves in the water. I have used this trick several times and not had a clogged pipe yet. The only pipe I wouldn't use it on is a very small diameter line like an ice maker.

At 2/19/2007 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, replacing a 6" piece of pipe resulted in running all new supply lines. Feel free to check out our renovation fun, http://journal.halcyonniche.com/.


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