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Summary of the plumbing situation

The iron pipes in the house are 25 years old. They are shot. One of the hot water pipes had initiated a drippy leak in the garage as far back as a couple of years ago. That line includes the feeder pipe that goes to the shower. It is a mess, it is leaking in four places.

The critical damage is fortunately limited to the hot water pipes. At the moment I am testing this theory as the water heater that we put in two years ago has it's own shutoff. At the moment the hot water is shut off and the cold water is on. There is as yet no sign of a leak.

This means I can leave the cold water on. You can wash your hands, use toilets and the lawn sprinklers will work. We just have to coordinate hot water use so everything is done at once, the dishes, laundry and showers all need to be done about the same time. The hot water leak is about a drop a second if the line is at full pressure (nothing is being used) but a lot less if water is running. So turn it on, do everything that needs hot water, and turn it off. It will just have to be like that for a couple of weeks.

I have the money (well, credit, actually) to cover the repiping but I have to not only find the right person to do the job but also coordinate it to start on a Thursday so I can be here for most of it. There are companies that advertise that they can do it all in one day, which would be nice, but there will also be a lot of cosmetic damage to clean up as they will have to make holes in the walls to get to some of the pipes. I will therefore also have to line up another contractor to clean up after the plumbers. Lovely.

This at least gives us some breathing room to get estimates from various plumbers on doing the complete repipe job. It is a lucrative business out here, virtually everything was built with iron pipes and the high mineral content trashes them all. Several plumbers compete for repipe jobs that cost several thousand dollars even in a home our size. I'm more concerned about finding one that will minimize the cosmetic damage to the house as opposed to one that is merely cheap.

One related thing that has been put off for years is the removal of the shower in the master bedroom. We have never used it, the floor of it was broken and leaky when we moved in. We will simply have all of the pipes taken out, the room converted to a 1/2 bath, and the old shower stall made into additional closet space, to include shelves set up specifically for storing artwork. The toilet and sink are hardly ever used so humidity won't be a problem. This will also include a specific place for the cat box to go, which is all that's in there right now. The rest of the space above it is wasted, but now it can be put to some use.

All of this is a major undertaking that I would have liked to put off, but circumstances have dictated otherwise. The time is now.

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shockwave77598 October 13th, 2003
One way to save money and actually enjoy the house is to repair the damage yourselves and remodel those things you come to, learning as you go.

For example, the wife wanted new wallpaper in the kitchen. The plastic tiles got damaged as the floorboards came up so we now get to put new tile down. So we are updating them to ceramic, which means all new floorboards around the tables and counters.

But good idea on the timing idea.

martes October 13th, 2003
If we tried to do it ourselves it would never get done, period.

titanic October 13th, 2003
If I tried to repipe the house myself the resulting series of events would probably result in the total reconstruction of the house. I don't have either the time or the money for that. And I have no doubt in my mind it would cost more than having someone else do it.

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