#HomeImprovementHell – More joys of old-house plumbing troubles…

I’ve discussed the joys of having a 60+ year-old house before. The latest saga…

Son is home for a visit. And when I was standing in the kitchen yesterday, I heard the hot water heater running. Which, to be honest, I’d heard before over the past couple of weeks, but attributed it to normal use. Except…

No one was using any hot water at the time yesterday, and no one had recently used any.

So I dragged my butt outside to take a look and found a lake under the house…


Taken after I got the water shut off. This whole area was flooded with water. And I’d already dug out the small bush that was in the way.

Cue a panicked call to my dad. We have a well, and there is a shut-off valve by the house in addition to by the well. When I turned off the valve at the house, the leak stopped.

Okay, so that was good, it meant it was past that valve. (I should take a moment to add that the well isn’t 60+ years old, the plumbing from the well is around 35 or so, but the house plumbing is 60+.

This is what I found when I got the area cleared out. Yes, that’s electrical wire in the background. Apparently, Grandaddy thought it was a GREAT idea to run the Romex for the well pump under the ground as-is alongside the pipe from the well. (Hey, logic, you can find it… *head/desk*)

As you can see in the above pic, it wasn’t a pretty sight once I got it dug out. The leak was between that T on the right going down into the elbow below it. The pipe coming up from that T is actually another spigot that we don’t need, because there’s another one RIGHT NEXT TO IT, piped directly out of the supply line before the shut-off valve. My Grandaddy’s motto, as I’m discovering, was apparently, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”

Did I mention how much I love my dad??? #worldsgreatestdad

So my dad came over. I should note, I can’t do copper or galvanized plumbing. PVC and CPVC, yes. Not to mention I didn’t have the physical strength to break the connections apart. #ihatefibromyalgia


All the old stuff yanked out. (You can see the “extra” spigot.) Yes, that’s HUGE water line going to OUTSIDE spigots (seriously, that’s all it services) on the other side of the house. #overengineeringFTW

My grandfather was totally a DIY kind of guy. I have NO idea why he used a HUGE pipe like that instead of 3/8″ to service two outdoor yard spigots. Eventually, I’ll end up replacing all that. #nottodaysatan

My dad putting the new parts together.

Of course, the fitting sizes, lengthwise, were different than the originals. (Not the threads/openings, the physical dimensions of the new T and new elbow.) So I had to make a second trip to Ace Hardware for different length nipples to see if we could get the gap closed up. (We were lacking about 1/4″ to make the new connections fit up to the old one at the supply valve.


I asked my dad to just leave the spigot pipe off that had come up there. No reason for it, to be honest. Not with the other one literally right there. #overkill

I still haven’t filled in the dirt yet. #paranoid I wanted to make sure it was all good before we do, since he had to jiggle some of the other connections there, too. If any others start leaking, I wanted to be able to see it before another problem cropped up.

And of course, today I can barely move. *head/desk* But at least I don’t have a lake under my house anymore.


What’s the best/worst home improvement hell story you have?

compressed-homeatlast2Just a couple more days until Home at Last (Suncoast Society 40, MM, BDSM) releases! You can pre-order it at BookStrand:



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#HomeImprovementHell – More joys of old-house plumbing troubles…
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2 thoughts on “#HomeImprovementHell – More joys of old-house plumbing troubles…

  • December 3, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    My house was built in 1948. In my first year, I endured termites. They couldn’t harn the house since it’s solid oak. Next was the plumbing going into the main stack pipe. Yum. Disgusting water backing into the tub.

    I had two repairs this year. My water tank which I caught before it flodded the basement and the chimney to the furnace. That’s 3k of repairs.

    Still, I wouldn’t trade this house for anything. It’s solid construction.

  • December 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    We loved in a house with a basement when the kids were little. They had all their toys down there. One day, I went down to get something out of our freezer down there and found water dripping from the entire ceiling. It took me a moment to realize what happened. The kids had turned the temperature control on the hot water heater up all the way and it burst. The water was condensation because it was cool in the basement. They literally turned the basement into a steam room.

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