The joys of homeownership

Didn’t someone recently do a post on the fun of plumbing in old houses?  Mine’s not even that old (barely 20yrs), and we’ve now had fun with the plumbing twice (in the year and a half we’ve lived here).

Last year about this time the hot water line from the water heater sprung a pinhole leak.  Turned out whoever plumbed it in hadn’t used “pipe”, instead they’d used grey electrical conduit from the heater itself to just before where the pipe goes into the floor.  Don’t ask me why, I have no idea.  Lots and lots of warm water spraying UP at a high velocity.

This afternoon after I got home from work I set a bag of chicken breasts into the sink to thaw.  Ran the sink full of cool water and left the cold tap just barely running on it.

Came back, about an hour ago, and discovered water on the floor leaking out between the cabinets and the stove.  WTF?  There’s no water line there……at least not IN the house, god I hope something UNDER the house isn’t spraying water everywhere…..Grab a couple towels to sop up the mess and start trying to figure out where the water was coming from.  First thought was that the sink overflowed.  It shouldn’t, its a double sink, overflow from one just goes into the other to drain, and sure enough there’s no water trail on the counter.  Sigh.  Start opening cabinet doors, the one closest to the water: no wet inside, the next one: no wet, the two directly under the sink: soaked.  F*ck.

I know, doesn’t look all that bad in the picture right?  Well, that “wood” is cheap pressboard, the water soaked in, it bowed, and promptly funneled it down the hole the pipes come up, where the natural slope of the floor carried it under the cabinets over to the stove, where it promptly seeped out to the middle of the room.

Turns out where the cold water line meets the sink its leaking.  Its not the HUGEST leak ever, I had a hard time finding it actually, which makes me think its been doing that for a few days at least.  F*ck.  Mold.  Ewwww.

Cold water line is shut off with one of those handy little shutoffs you see there (which were MISSING on the water heater I might add).  My father-in-law will be over in the morning to take a look and see what needs replacing.  Not sure how he’s going to fit under there, we might have to figure out if those shelves come out (they don’t look like it), but I think we were going to have to figure that out anyway considering how soaked they are.

Oh, and all of this was done while defending my towels from a giant gold fluffy puppy who thought they made THE BEST toys to take and barrel around the house with EVER, and a little brown puppy who thought they were the BEST tug toys ever…..oh, and that nasty colored water seeping from under the cabinet is YUMMY!!!!!

Why can’t we come into the kitchen anymore???!!!!!

3 Comments

  1. Ping from KurtP:

    You'll need a 'basin wrench' that doesn't look like a wrench at all to get to the fitting that's either loose, or needs to come off for a new washer.

    Good luck!

  2. Ping from Mrs. S.:

    Sorry to hear about the recent plumbing adventures. Count your blessings; your puppies are staying out of the kitchen. Chloe would hop over that gate like it wasn't even there.

    That thing about someone using conduit instead of pipe on the water heater reminds me of a story my dad told. Before he retired, he worked as an instrumentation tech in a paper mill. He had the misfortune to find that some pipe fitter mistakenly hooked up a water supply line to existing conduit with live wires inside it. When he opened a conduit fitting to fix the instrument, he got quite a shower. Thankfully, that paper mill has been torn down. It was sad for dad, but the facility really was a safety and maintenance nightmare.

    Scary to think that the trouble with your water heater could have been worse; at least there were no wires in that conduit.

  3. Ping from Ruth:

    Kurt, FIL is a former handyman/plumber, he showed up this morning with a very odd looking wrench that I assume is exactly what you're talking about.

    Mrs S. I have somehow convinced 3 of my 4 animals (including both cats) that baby gates mean “stay out”, god only knows how. We're still working on Arty. And: Good grief, that is seriously scary, I assume he'd turned off the power there first?? This appeared to be an honest attempt to “save money” by using the wrong kinda “pipe”.

    The bad news is it wouldn't leak while FIL was here, the “good” news is that he did confirm that the connector was loose, he tightened it (using the funky wrench) and told us to keep an eye on it. So we'll see.