Saturday, February 14, 2009

It all started with...

It all started with the shower head.

Anyone who owns an old house knows about calcium deposits that break off and clog shower heads and faucet aerators.

About once every year, or year and a half, I remove the shower head and aerators and clean them out.

About two weeks ago SWMBO said the shower head was acting funny. Well, time to clean the calcium deposits.

SWMBO had a business trip last Thursday and Friday so I figured then would be a good time to do it. I took the shower head off, cleaned it out and then let it set over night in diluted CLR.

This would allow her to have a nice surprise on Valentine's Day.

After removing the shower head, and before the CLR, I removed the aerator from the faucet in the 2nd floor bathroom. Look what the house gave me as a present!!

How sweet...isn't it just beautiful?

It's the ENTIRE aerator assembly. Plopped right into my hand.

Well now...that answered a question for us. Turns out the copper pipe that connected to the aerator was rotten and from the looks of it it was slowly leaking. We knew we had a leak somewhere, but could never find it.

So now the house has thrown a monkey wrench in my plans for the rest of the week. All I needed to do was replace the faucet. Figured I'd just get an el'cheapo since we were planing on redoing the bathroom about this time next year.

But gets better!!!

I made the first trip to Lowe's to get the faucet and pick-up SWMBO from the rental car place.

Got home and installed the faucet. Looks great. In fact, looks just like the one that was replaced. I then went to attach the water lines. The end of the copper pipe (hot water) that connects to the faucet crumbles. DANG!!!

It's 8PM and we now need to make a mad dash to Lowe's before they close. We get there and buy a couple of flexible water connectors.

I get home and connect them.


The male end of the water riser is a nipple connection and the water connectors I bought won't fit!!!

Okay...nervous breakdown...fight the urge to hide under the bed.

It's too late to go to Lowe's now so it has to wait till the morning.

Saturday morning I run to Lowe's (remember, it's about a 20 minute trip one-way each time). I take the old copper line with me so I can make sure the correct type of fittings are purchased. Got them and rushed home.

Here are the parts. Since no one seems to make a 1/2 female to 1/2 male brass coupling I had to get two types of fittings to make it.

Okay, I attach the first one. Guess wouldn't fit!! The 1/2 coupling, while it fit the nipple, would not tighten down at all!! Water went every where!!

Okay, next trip to Lowe's - the 3rd one for this project.

This time it is serious. The hot water Shutoff valve is not shutting as well so there is a slow leak. AND there is now a water stain on the ceiling in the kitchen!! YES - my newly primed kitchen ceiling!!!


I get to Lowe's and this time I get a specialized coupling that I wanted to avoid from the beginning, along with another specialized nipple. I run home hoping the new fittings will work.

Here they are. They are special nipple couplings as well as 1/2 to 1/2 connectors.

They work!!!!


So, I decide to go ahead and install the new drain that came with the faucet.

The old one was so corroded it would not come out, nor would it go back in!!! I was what? I grab the sawzall and attach a supper short blade. I cut the messed up part off and the thing came out.

I then cleaned up the opening and prepped it for the new one. I install the new one. Guess what...the tail pipe of the new drain is a hair too long. Not a big deal. I make the adjustment and go to reattach the p-trap and the slip-nut washer is so worn it will not compress enough to the new tail pipe!!!


So...I remove the trap part and the slip-nut, replace the washer and go to re-attach the trap to the drain out-let.

The drain out-let fell fell over....




The stupid thing broke off...under the vanity cabinet floor!!!

So, now I had to get the Multimaster out and cut enough of the vanity bottom out so I could see where it broke off. Go figure...even with the floor.

Mystery #2 solved. Turns out that the drain out-let had been even more rotten the the pipe that snapped off at the aerator. All this time I thought the funky smell was coming from the toilet. I have changed the wax seal on the toilet several times thinking it would solve the problem, but it didn't. So we then chalked it up to the fact that the plumbing up stairs had been leaking for so long it permeated the woodwork. Now we know where the problem was!! It wasn't the toilet at all - it was the lavatory drain!! Since it was hidden under the vanity we couldn't see it at all. There is no telling how long it had been leaking and causing the smell. It also answers the question as to why new stains would show up occasionally on the kitchen ceiling.

Before I show you a picture of it let me show you this one.

This will allow you to see the connection I had to make for the water lines. At this point the floor of the vanity is gone.

Do you see how nasty it is under there?!?!?!

This is so embarrassing and humiliating!!!

The yellow bucket is to catch the dripping water.

In order to see just how bad it was I needed to remove this part of the vanity cabinet which meant that the top had to be removed and the vanity removed.

Take a look at this.

I've thrown this picture in so you can see what the walls of the bathroom use to look like - brown and gold!! Don't forget that the woodwork was painted a cross between hot pink and purple. Man - the 70's were a wild time!!!

Okay, this next picture is not for the squeamish - you are warned!!!

This is the break.

Can you believe how nasty this area is?!

I told you it wasn't for the squeamish.

Here's a close-up.

You can see just how rotten the pipe was. It's a wonder we weren't getting flooded out each time we used the lavatory! There is an instillation stamp on the vanity. We know that it, as well as all the piping, was installed in 1973!!

Time to get the Multimaster out again. I had no choice but to cut out some of the floor so I could see if there was more damage.

Here's the floor with the tile removed.

The original flooring is still there, however, it has been subjected to this slow leak for so long it is heavily warped and spongy.

It was so bad some of it just disintegrated on contact.

FINALLY!!! For once I've had some luck.

All the piping is galvanized and the connections are close together. This means I don't have to remove anymore of the floor at this point.

In this close up you can see the spot where the drain outlet pipe broke off.

The blackish looking stuff at the pipe joints is not a sign of leakage. It's the original pipe dope from the 70's. This might make things difficult for replacing the water pipes and the drain pipe.

Right now the hex nut is soaking up some PB Blaster. I can't get it to budge.

Tomorrow I will bring out the big guns in order to remove this puppy. I will also have to turn off the water to the house so I can remove the water supply lines. As of now we can not find shot-off valves to the 2nd story.

I guess at least one more trip to Lowe's will have to be made tomorrow.

Pray for me....

Here is one more picture to leave you with.

This is just so you can get a better view of the crap found under the floor boards. I even found a large piece of glass that was about 1/4 inch thick. Now why would that be in there?

It's going to be interesting when we do re-do the bathroom. We plan to remove the original floor, since it is ruined for the most part, and replace it. There is no telling what we'll find when we do this.

I'm telling you, it's either me or the house. One of us is not going to survive.

Well, till next time...



Britten said...

I don't know anyone who has a multimaster and am considering getting one as a birthday gift for my husband. What do you think of yours? Has is proved useful enough to justify the cost? I would appreciate your opinion. Thanks,
Wenatchee, WA

PS Sorry to hear about your plumbing woes. I've been there and it SUCKS.

Jenni said...

I have just about decided that plumbing should never be inside of walls. It should just be out in the room, an abstract architectural element. Really, who's bright idea was it anyway? The idea of placing plumbing IN the walls.

Hope your house treats you better this week.

Blue Shoe Farm said...

Reading that blow-by-blow description and the pics just entirely stressed me out. It always cracks me up how something supposedly simple can lead to multiple car trips to the hardware store and many colorful words. It is endlessly helpful that you share this.

Sandy said...

Anything you think will take 5 minutes doesn't.