We’ve been involved in a years-long home remodel…basically since we moved in to the old money-pit, we’ve been fixing something. We demolished the office and bathroom in the lower level. When we did that, we found water issues and that’s really sort of what started our whole foundation project. So, the foundation is done and working well. I am pretty much out of excuses so I am back to working on the home project.
Our house was built in 1939. I think that was before they invented cold because there is absolutely no insulation in our house. Well, there was no insulation until I started another project earlier in the year. Still, a too-large portion of our house is uninsulated. As a part of the lower-level basement and office construction, we are studding out new walls from the existing masonry walls that work as huge temperature conductors presently. In order to re-stud the walls, I had to move a bit of the bathroom plumbing. Sweating copper is not too big of a deal, so I cut off the water using one of the many shut-offs we are fortunate enough to have in the water lines.
So, the clues start rolling in as soon as we try to turn off the water. First of all, the valve had hieroglyphics written on it. As I turned it, I could hear the old washer inside grinding away. The water would not completely cut off of course. It just kept on dripping…not full blast, but dripping. I was left with no alternative but to cut off the water to the whole house. That valve is new and worked! So, I turned off all the water and started cutting out the old pipe so I could hook up the new pipes around the studded out walls. (jump ahead…once I got everything hooked up, I turned the water back on and the old valve started leaking out the top…the washers inside had disintegrated indeed….that project will be next on the list!)
Cutting copper pipe is no big deal at all with a handy pipe cutting tool. They’re cheap and easy and work so well…unless you have ancient pipe. They made serious pipe “back then” apparently. My cutter’s blade was not able to cut the full depth of the old pipe. I got a good groove cut into the old pipe, but had to finish it off with a hacksaw. Luckily I had room to work! At first, I wondered if the pipe was in fact copper. It looks like copper. It was definitely not steel or iron. Maybe it was brass but I can’t imagine brass pipes…not as much as I have in my house.
Anyhow, I got the old pipe out and the new installed. I decided to sweat the bulk of the pipe outside away from the dry wood that makes up the interior of my house. A good plumber might not burn my house down but I had no interest in testing my skills as a good plumber. So I got all of the fittings and pipe joined outside and simply had to carry the joined pipes inside and make one connection to complete the project. I could have soldered the last connection, but I found this great “push together” connection at my local big-box home improvement store. Just shove pipes in each end and they’re joined. These fittings are too expensive to use everywhere but one connection is within my budget!
So, the project is progressing nicely, but of course, it’s never as simple as it seems!
What about you…do you have any good home repair stories? Please tell me I am not alone! I beg you!