Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pipe situation and how it was resolved

A few weeks ago, I noticed a leak in a pipe in the basement.  It was a very slow leak in the pipe that delivers hot water to the kitchen sink.  Wanting to be proactive (and knowing that the bathtub drain was also slow and needed to be snaked), I called Rob the plumber.  I figured the leak and the drain would be a quick fix for Rob.  Imagine my surprise when I got a call from Rob while he was at my house, explaining that the water pipes are corroding (and that, in fact, there was another leak that I hadn't noticed) and if he started working on the leaking pipes, the banging and rattling will cause other, connected pipes to spring new leaks.  He gave me the option of living with the corroding pipes for as long as the leaks didn't grow too large, or replacing all of the water pipes (actually just the pipes that deliver fresh water to the house -- Rob had replaced the waste pipes when I first moved into the house, because they were leaking and that is just gross, when you think about what goes through there).

I thought about it for a little while, but it wasn't a hard decision -- as I've mentioned before, my goal with the House is to bring it back to excellent condition.  It made sense that the pipes needed to be replaced, and a stitch in time saves nine, as they say.  I called Rob back and told him to go ahead with the job, and to replace the water heater while he was at it (when I moved into the House over two years ago, the water heater was already four years past its warranty).

I took some photos of the crazy pipe situation in the basement.  There was so much extra pipe that didn't seem to need to be there, and I asked Rob to take out any pipes that were leading to nowhere.

Old water heater

Crazy pipe situation over the furnace

Pipes that lead to nowhere

Here are the after shots.  The new pipes are PEX (polyethylene).  I did agonize over the choice between new copper pipes, and PEX pipes.  I looked up PEX online, and I wasn't able to find any talk of polyethylene leaching chemicals into drinking water.  Plastic never leaves our environment, but copper mining isn't exactly earth-friendly either, so I let my bank account do the talking.  It told me to save the over $1000 more the copper pipes would have cost, and go with the PEX.

New hot water heater!

Somewhat less crazy pipe situation over the furnace

Only working pipes left here!

The remaining copper pipes are those that feed the forced hot water heating system -- those weren't replaced this time around.

Rereading this post, I think it's very possible that only I will find it interesting.  If you have read to this point, I thank you for your patience, and I will try to make my next post more relevant to those who...aren't interested in pipes.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy Easter!


  1. I love your new pipes Sister! But I love your lack of pipes even more. Darn me for not having seen them in person yesterday. Oil well ... next time!

  2. Way to go in replacing your pipes, Ellen. You see, pipe line damages are inevitable because of the fact that it is exposed to different elements every day. Copper is a good pick, but brass can be an alternative as well. I hope you never experienced recurring problems with this. Congrats, by the way! :)

    Gayle Manning