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      04-20-2017, 12:15 AM   #1
M_Six
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The Joys of Home Ownership

We got notified today by our water company that they thought we had a leak due to a sudden high consumption rate. There were no obvious signs of leaking in the house. No wet spots on the ceilings or walls. The toilets aren't running and cutting off the dishwasher and washing machines didn't help. We could hear water running in the pipes, but even cutting off the main valve inside the house didn't stop it. That left only the crawlspace.

We have the crawlspace from hell. It's actually just a 3x3 pipe chase that runs between the garage foundation and the foundation of the house. To access it I need to remove a panel high on the wall of the furnace room in the basement and then squeeze my big ass up through the opening. Just what I want to do at 10:30PM. As I was removing the screws holding the access panel, it suddenly popped loose and cracked me in the head. Great way to start.

As soon as I removed the panel I knew I'd found the leak. I could hear the water dripping. I got up into the space as far as I needed to shine a flashlight and sure enough, the main water pipe coming up out of the ground had three pinholes right where the first copper fitting is. Water was spraying against the garage foundation wall, which was a lucky break. If it had sprayed the other way, it would have ruined the sheet rock in the furnace room or the ceiling of the furnace room.

So the next step was to access the meter pit outside and cut off the flow of water to the house. That was loads of fun late at night, but it went easier that I thought it would. Tomorrow I need to find a plumber willing to come out on very short notice. Never an easy thing around here.
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      04-20-2017, 01:20 AM   #2
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At least you found the problem, and no sheet rock needed replacement plus painting.
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      04-20-2017, 01:21 AM   #3
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That's awesome that you were notified like that though!
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      04-20-2017, 02:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post

I got up into the space as far as I needed to shine a flashlight and sure enough, the main water pipe coming up out of the ground had three pinholes right where the first copper fitting is. Water was spraying against the garage foundation wall, which was a lucky break.
Copper plumbing is easy. Are you sure it is just the three pinhole leaks? If your pipes froze they sometimes split. So long as the pinholes/split don't go behind any concrete it is an easy fix. You cut the pipe at two points outside the break. You'll need two sleeves and some new pipe. You apply flux to the new joint and then heat the spot you want to solder. Then you apply silver solder and the melting flux draws in the solder. You'll want to drain the system first and leave a faucet open while you are doing this. Two hours max, including the four trips to Home Depot. Bimmette has a how to video also...
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      04-20-2017, 06:06 AM   #5
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Bimmette offers also plumber videos? Wow...now I am really impressed!
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      04-20-2017, 06:50 AM   #6
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Be glad you got a notice. My pipe broke while I was out of town. Got a $3000 water bill. Said I used 500,000 gal. Not a happy camper about that.
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      04-20-2017, 07:19 AM   #7
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We used to live in a 3rd floor flat and the pipe came apart under our floor before the stop tap. Flooded all the flats below as water straight from the mains was going for well over an hour until we could find where the stop tap in the road was. As it was all on our water bill we worked out roughly 8cu.m of water worked its was down the building.
Honestly never seen anything like it was coming though light fittings that fast it filled a kitchen bin in 5mins.
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      04-20-2017, 08:24 AM   #8
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I'm not messing with this one. It's not a pure copper-to-copper fit. The main line coming up through the ground is some sort of black plastic pipe, as far as I can tell. Then there's a copper fitting somehow attached to that. Then the main copper line for the house comes off the fitting. It's the plastic-to-copper fitting that is cracked. This needs to be done right. I've done plumbing work while building environmental remediation trailers when I was in that field of work, but it's been 20 years and that was standing up in a nice clean shop. Trying to do this laying on my side in a tight crawl space ain't happening.

Worst water leak I ever saw was at a condo the ex and I had. The washing machine hose in the utility room next door to our unit broke at night. The cats woke me up with their howling. I got out of bed and stepped into 2 inches of water on our floor. That mess took months to clean up with numerous carpeting and linoleum flooring replacements. Our current washing machine has a cutoff valve which is always off when we're not doing laundry and the hoses are braided steel instead of rubber.
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      04-20-2017, 11:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post

Worst water leak I ever saw was at a condo the ex and I had. The washing machine hose in the utility room next door to our unit broke at night. The cats woke me up with their howling. I got out of bed and stepped into 2 inches of water on our floor. That mess took months to clean up with numerous carpeting and linoleum flooring replacements. Our current washing machine has a cutoff valve which is always off when we're not doing laundry and the hoses are braided steel instead of rubber.
Always have a floor drain in your laundry room.
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      04-20-2017, 12:19 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear this my friend.

We've been in our house for 17yrs, and thank God nothing negative has happened other than our A/C condenser unit going out in the middle of Summer a few years ago. That was the worst timing EVER with 100 degrees in Texas!
And take it from me... GET ESTIMATES! At least 3. When Repairmen KNOW you need repairs, that's when they start licking their chops.

Good luck with the fix...
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      04-20-2017, 03:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MrRoboto View Post
Always have a floor drain in your laundry room.
Basement has one. No floor drain in the upper floor laundry room, though.
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      04-20-2017, 03:37 PM   #12
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My usual plumber came out today and fixed it. I felt bad for him having to crawl into that wet and muddy crawlspace. He got it done, though. I imagine the bill will reflect the nastiness of the job.
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      04-20-2017, 04:58 PM   #13
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I love old houses, have never owned anything less than 50 years old, my current and hopefully last home is over 100 years old in a Heritage area. We've had the place for 3 years now and have been renovating it as it will be our retirement home. I find that it seems that on a somewhat regular basis I have to stop my reno work and repair something as there is always something that needs attention, I'm good with that for the most part. Keeps me out of trouble. Thank god I can do most of the work myself, if I needed to pay a contractor I'd have gone broke....
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      04-20-2017, 07:56 PM   #14
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I love old houses, have never owned anything less than 50 years old, my current and hopefully last home is over 100 years old in a Heritage area. We've had the place for 3 years now and have been renovating it as it will be our retirement home. I find that it seems that on a somewhat regular basis I have to stop my reno work and repair something as there is always something that needs attention, I'm good with that for the most part. Keeps me out of trouble. Thank god I can do most of the work myself, if I needed to pay a contractor I'd have gone broke....
I envy folks who can do their own home maintenance. I can work magic with networks and computers and electronics, but I'm a walking disaster when it comes to things like sheet rock, plumbing, painting, flooring, or other do-it-yourself stuff. Every past attempt has ended in a mess and a call to a contractor.
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      04-20-2017, 08:39 PM   #15
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At least they told you and you caught it before any real damage was done. When we bought our house, over the course of the month that it sat empty, a small water leak turned into a $5k water damage bill.
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      04-20-2017, 08:50 PM   #16
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Your avatar really sums it up! But glad to hear it has been fixed.
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      04-21-2017, 01:27 PM   #17
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ahhhh...i feel your pain OP! bought my house back in Dec 16' and we really didn't move in until March 17' as moving in the winter would have sucked and besides my youngest is a Senior and we did not want to yank him out of school in the middle of the year. we would bring stuff back and forth on the weekends and one weekend there was a puddle of water on our floor from the ceiling above. come to find out the Master Bathroom sink leaked between the drain plug when you fill up the sink. the Home Inspector apparently missed it as you can clearly see the previous owner used some type of clear epoxy to seal it up. apparently when we use the sink when we were there on the weekends the water would just seaped between the seal and drip down the cabinet and make it's way down to where it would just pooled up on top of the ceiling. you could see all the joint tape just wet looking from the main floor when you look up. being a handyman i'm pretty good with drywall and what not. but i ended up tearing part of the ceiling down and replacing it than retexturing with a hopper. this picture just show the new drywall installed and mudded. this would have easily been a $1,000+ job to hire a contractor to repair! ah the Joys of being a home owner !
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      04-21-2017, 01:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
I envy folks who can do their own home maintenance. I can work magic with networks and computers and electronics, but I'm a walking disaster when it comes to things like sheet rock, plumbing, painting, flooring, or other do-it-yourself stuff. Every past attempt has ended in a mess and a call to a contractor.
being a previous contractor from back in the day it really does pays off when you can build things your self which really saves you a butt load of money such as this pedestal i built for my new my new front loader Samsung Washer/Dryer which Lowe's wanted $300 each so $600 for 2 basically metal boxes! building one myself only cost me $69 in materials and of course labor free!





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      04-21-2017, 01:51 PM   #19
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^^^^We had a similar, although smaller issue like your leak a few years back. The upstairs shower stall drain pipe developed a leak at the goose neck and started dripping onto the ceiling of my office downstairs. We have textured ceilings downstairs as well. I hate them. I had to have a plumber come out and cut a hole through the ceiling of my office and fix the drain, then patch and re-texture the ceiling. Don't remember what that cost us because it was probably a decade ago. We'll see what the bill for this latest fiasco runs. It only took them an hour or so and the part had to be dirt cheap, so I'm hoping it won't be too bad. It depends if they charge us for an "emergency" call.

Damn nice job on the pedestal. Looks great. But you might think about braided steel hoses. See my post above about our nightmare flood when a rubber washing machine hose broke.
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      04-21-2017, 02:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
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^^^^We had a similar, although smaller issue like your leak a few years back. The upstairs shower stall drain pipe developed a leak at the goose neck and started dripping onto the ceiling of my office downstairs. We have textured ceilings downstairs as well. I hate them. I had to have a plumber come out and cut a hole through the ceiling of my office and fix the drain, then patch and re-texture the ceiling. Don't remember what that cost us because it was probably a decade ago. We'll see what the bill for this latest fiasco runs. It only took them an hour or so and the part had to be dirt cheap, so I'm hoping it won't be too bad. It depends if they charge us for an "emergency" call.

Damn nice job on the pedestal. Looks great. But you might think about braided steel hoses. See my post above about our nightmare flood when a rubber washing machine hose broke.
actually i didn't show it but those were the old hoses left from the last owners. i swapped them out with braided hoses before i installed the washer/dryer. your situation doesn't look too bad but boy a plumber will really make it sound like it's really bad lol! hopefully they don't use the "Emergency fee". one thing i learned when it comes to plumbing is these new PEX and Sharkbite fittings are AWESOME! no need to use copper tubing and trying to solder stuff anymore. pretty much cut to size, push in and that's it! but those connections are a bit pricey. do you have pictures of the leak? if i was close to you i'd help you out!
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      04-23-2017, 02:48 PM   #21
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OP i feel your pain.

Back in 2010, i went into my crawl space to clean out the pool filter. It was getting late, so i decided to continue the next day. I left the pool filter and hose open but i forgot to unplug the pool pump. The pool pump automatically turns on every day at noon.

The next day, when i came back from work, the entire swimming pool was emptied into my crawl space!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's just say the next few days were hell!
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      04-23-2017, 08:45 PM   #22
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^^^^^^

That had to suck!
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