Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Under Pressure

I spent a good portion of my day yesterday (13 hours... ) listening to the plumber making a LOT of noise in my basement and talking about water pressure. Since I have been hearing "Under Pressure" in my head going on 2 days now I figured it was an appropriate blog title for today.

We were so excited when the plumber called us last week to set up our time to have our water supply lines replaced. The water pressure in this house has been one of our biggest issues since we moved in. The pipe issue was also a big step for us in getting ready for the kitchen remodel which will give us the end result of having an INSTALLED dishwasher instead of having one taking up the corner of the foyer.
It's just not useful sitting here plus it's not all that great to look at either.

I took some before pictures of our pipe situation in the basement so you could see what we were working with. This isn't one of the "pretty" before and afters but as far as function goes it is one of the best things we have done with this house. Here was our list for the plumber.

1. Remove and replace water supply lines. Our water lines were mostly the old galvanized steel pipes. We had several spots where the pipes weren't just corroded on the inside. They looked like they could burst at any moment.
The insides weren't in any better shape. I didn't take any pictures of the insides because they were pretty gross. The plumber said they were among the worst he had ever seen and he was surprised we had as much water pressure as we did. We also had a lot of pipes to no where going on.
There were more abandoned pipes than I realized because the amount of pipes in our basement were drastically reduced.

2. Fix awkward laundry situation.
This corner of our basement is not going to win any beauty contests and we were ok with that but the awkwardness was maddening sometimes. The way the water supply lines and power sources for the washer and dryer meant that the washer and dryer overlapped and couldn't face the same direction. It's hard enough to reach into the bottom of the washer when you are 5'2" but when you can't really stand in front of the washer because it's mostly blocked by the dryer makes it even harder.

3.Remove the radiator from under the kitchen sink. When we put in the new cabinets we can have storage under the sink instead of an ugly radiator.
Under our kitchen sink it totally gross and quite frankly I am a little afraid of it. I cannot wait for the day that I can think of this as Usable space.

The plumber got to our house about 8am. Remember I said he was here for 13 hours? We had a few hitches along the way, but we started off great. We had already used the water that we needed to use so he was able to get right to work. He started cutting out the old pipes right away. Talk about noisy! The kids (and the dog) were totally freaked out. The vibrations made stuff fall off the table. It was crazy. When the racket finally stopped around 10 (just in time for nap time!) there was this outside in the driveway.
It took me a little while to remember where I had left the camera so this isn't even the whole pile. The plumber's helper had already cut some of it up and put it in their van. Like I said, there was a lot of abandoned pipe!

After the pipes were all removed they got started on installing the Mana block. We decided to install pex instead of regular pipe. If you don't know what pex is, it is a flexible tubing that connects to what looks like a circuit breaker, called a Mana block. A picture will explain this so much better so here you go:
Kind of crazy looking right? This is what they put in new houses. It's nice because each of those are labeled and we can turn off only what we need to. He also installed a water filter ( the blue thing at the bottom of the picture) which will make this crazy momma feel better about using water out of the tap.The spots where there is no pex attached are extra spots to add stuff in like the dishwasher when we get to that point. He even has a line for the ice maker but that one isn't hooked up yet since we aren't sure yet what we are doing with the floor in the kitchen. Now we get to the ironic part. He hooked up the upstairs and the water pressure in the tub is at least double what it was. The powder room sink was Blasting when it came back on. The kitchen sink- the last sink he did, and the sink we REALLY were excited to have some water pressure in- was less pressure (flow) than we had before. What?!?! I was sooooo disappointed. What it was, is that all the crap that had been in the pipes, and not in the way before, got knocked loose by having an unrestricted water flow reach it and clogged the diverter in the faucet. Total let-down. We are debating installing a cheapy to get us through the next however many weeks until we tear out the cabinets. I think we are going to give it some time to see if the extra pressure knocks the crap loose. Sigh
Well at this point is when the inspector showed up. West Reading is totally crazy about permits and since we have the code enforcement guy driving past our house at least once a day we are trying to do it all by the book. I would say it was about 3pm. And this is where our plumber went from having a 9 hour day to having an 13 hour day.

The inspector noticed there was no trap on our laundry sinks. That is where our washer drained. He was fairly certain it didn't lead to the sewer pipe because the pipe was several feet higher and there was no pump to get the water there. That meant that it was completely out of code and had to be changed. We either had to get rid of the sinks and move the washer OR install a pump for the sink and washer. Either way it was an additional $700.

It ended up being a no brainer because we wanted the laundry sinks and moving the washer meant having to relocate electric. We really just weren't having any luck yesterday but now we at least have a nice, normal laundry set-up.
 And here is our new little pump.
It could be worse. Because of the whole no trap/pump situation the pipes under the laundry sinks had to be replaced and the old pipes had been leaking, which we were unaware of. So that is a positive. These are the types of things you have to be ready for when you buy an old home. It's just a shock in the moment. The other good news is that because I found the plumber on Angie's List there was a 10% off coupon that he is letting us use off everything he did yesterday which will really help offset the extra cost. I felt bad watching them leave at 9pm last night. It was definitely a long day.

Oh and the radiator? it's cut and capped and ready to come out when the cabinets come out. There was just no way to take it out without destroying the cabinets.

So that is our adventures in plumbing. Step 2 in the kitchen remodel is DONE! Woo Hoo! Next comes the good part. Aaand since you read this whole thing you get a gratuitous kitten shot because they are just too adorable.
They are 3 weeks old today!

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. oh my what an adventure! Great writing Rosemary! Love Momma