Archive for the 'Plumbing' Category

Moen Can Bite My Ass

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

[[This took place on December 23rd, but it's part of my "catching up" on stories about the house that occurred before and after we moved in.]]

M. had spent the whole day baking cookies (mmmmm… cookies…), so I ran out to pick up dinner while she washed up in the kitchen. I came back, and when I walked in the door, she had that look on her face that just screamed “Something Bad Happened Just Now, And I Don’t Know How Bad It Is, But It’s Bad.” Turns out that when she went under the sink to get something, she found a lake of water.

A little history: When we had the inspection of the house, the kitchen sink was leaking. The owner fixed it before we closed (where “fixed it” means “encased every pipe joint in glops of silicone caulk”), and sure enough, when we moved in, there was no leak down there. However, not everything was right:

  • First, while the hot water worked fine everywhere else in the house, it ran pretty slowly in the kitchen sink.
  • Second, under the sink was a mess of copper tubing where they had hooked in the dishwasher line, and where the copper tube came out of the supply line, it had a bit of a kink in it.
  • Third, just for good measure, the faucet was piped backwards (the cold side was hot and vice versa).

So when a few days before, the hot water in the kitchen slowed even further to a trickle, I bit my lip and wondered when I was going to find the time to do something about it. Well, at least I didn’t have to wonder for too long.

It turns out that it wasn’t the sink leaking at all, it was the faucet. The faucet was a Moen brand faucet–you know the commercial: “Buy it for looks… buy it for life.” Before we moved in, we had a condo with a Moen faucet in the kitchen, and, sure enough, it leaked too! I managed to fix that by getting a new part, but this just put me over the edge. MOEN CAN BITE MY ASS. I AM NEVER BUYING ANOTHER FAUCET FROM THAT COMPANY EVER AGAIN.

This is just great. We’ve got to cook dinner for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and start prepping for having 30 people over on Boxing Day. There’s no way we’re going to do this in a kitchen that has no running water.

It’s 9:00PM at this point, but I grab my toolbox and remove not only the faucet, but the mess of copper tubing as well, and I high-tail it down to the Home Depot* while M. watches in atavistic terror, wondering if she’d ever have running water in the kitchen again. I mean, who in their right mind starts a plumbing project at 9:00PM? Me. That’s who.

Arriving at Home Depot, I quickly find a decent Delta faucet and, with the help of a very knowledgeable employee, compose a replacement for the whole copper tubing mess using just two flexible hoses and a tee connector.

I get home by 11:00PM, install the faucet, repipe the hot water under the sink, and not only do we have a non-leaking faucet, but we have glorious glorious hot water pressure in the kitchen! Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!

By Midnight, I was in bed. And Moen can still bite my ass.

* You know you’re a homeowner when you know which Home Depot out of the half-dozen in the city is open til Midnight, and which one is open 24 hours.

Plumbing the Depths

Tuesday, September 28th, 2004

This morning, The Plumber came to take a look at our catchbasin and sewer infrastructure. He referred us to another company who can come and pump out the catchbasin (’cause who knows what’s in there), and went into the basement to take a look at our sewer line.

When our inspector went into our basement, he spotted a small (12″ x 14″) steel trap door which was painted shut and remarked that “It looks like you’ve got an FCS, but it’s not working. I found out that FCS stands for “Flood Control System” which I suppose would have been nice to have working, I guess.

Well, The Plumber tried to crowbar this door open, unsuccessfully, so went back to his truck and came back with a 5 pound maul and started banging on that door like it had run over his dog. Eventually, the door loosened up, and he pulled it open to discover what I thought was just a bunch of dirt

He scraped away the dirt to find the end of a piece of 6″ ceramic sewer pipe with some sort of plug in it. When he pulled the plug out, I looked down about 4 feet of pipe to see the main sewer line that goes from the catch basin (behind the house) to the city sewer under the street. No FCS anywhere in sight… just an access pipe to the sewer. Real exciting stuff, I know, but it was all new to me as I had no clue that anything was going on that far under my basement.

So The Plumber got his sewer rodding machine out and rodded out the sewers, sending a 4″ cutter back to the catch basin, and a 6″ cutter out to the city sewer, pulling back several handfuls of tree roots that had found their way into the pipe junctions at several places.

So we’ve got a clean sewer now. Isn’t that exciting? I think so too.