Saturday, January 26, 2008

So Busy, Yet House Still Falling Down

I've been insanely busy with school, student organizations, committees, councils, advisory boards, and work lately that I haven't gotten much of anything done. You know how that is? You try to do a little of everything and you just get farther behind as a whole. Argh!

While I'm trying to manage everything else, the house decides to erupt in plumbing fiascoes. Here's the readout:

Kitchen: Plumbing to sink freezes again. The hot and cold water lines run right along the foundation, causing them to freeze when the air temperature drops below -10 degrees F. This leads to piles of dirty dishes, a messy kitchen, and crabby roommates. I saw an article online from This Old House that showed me how to get the pipes thawed out. I used a hair dryer (I couldn't find my 'flame thrower' heat gun) along the pipes to break down the ice. I turned the faucet on before I started so once the ice melted the water would run through the pipes into the sink. The flowing water helps melt the remaining ice in the pipe. It was such a great sound when I heard the sink drain start funneling water down to the sewer!

Upstairs Bathroom: This room has always had poor water pressure, but after the little freezing incident it's gotten worse. The tub works alright, the toilet is fine, but the sink is barely putting out anything at all. How ghetto is it to wash your hands in the bathtub after using the facilities? It's a proud moment as a homeowner... I really don't know how to fix this myself. Anybody know of a good (cheap) plumber in Fargo, ND?

Downstairs Bathroom: EVERYTHING LEAKS! As noted before, the shower leaks through the floor into the basement, but it has since gotten worse. The sink faucet cold water supply valve leaks down into the basement as well. Since the big freeze, the toilet's tank has started dripping from where the tank and bowl connect. This is more of a problem because it doesn't just drip into the basement like the other plumbing fixtures, but creates a nice little cold-water puddle underfoot. This puddle starts first by filling the cracks between the peel-'n-stick vinyl tiles creating an unexpected sock moistness that's really uncalled for. The puddle growth ends by swallowing up the entire bathmat from the bottom up. From the top it still looks like a nice dry bathmat, then SQUISH, you're up to your ankles in toilet water. SuRPRiSe! The other fixtures can just keep dripping into the basement for a while (the water just trails down to the sewer), but that toilet needs to be fixed soon.

I just don't have the time for all of this right now!

Did I mention I'm about a week and a half behind in my marathon training? I'm so out of shape!


Ranty said...

Oh Nate.... I feel your pain!

Don't worry, it will get better. Spring will come eventually!

Jennifer said...

Try running in place while fixing plumbing... it might help?

Good luck!!

Nate said...

Actually, after I wrote that post I took a nice little 5mi run. Felt good to get going.

Sandy said...

It's too bad old houses don't come with magic wands for just such issues. Sigh. Nothing like a good walk/run to clear your head! Makes you feel like a new person. (no, I don't run, but I used to walk for miles!)

April said...

You probably already know this, but there's foam pipe insulators that you could put on the kitchen plumbing. Cheap. Easy. Might help.

Nate said...

April, The pipes have foam insulation, but they didn't angle the foam around the corners, so the exposed 'elbows' of the pipes tend to freeze up. It's an easy fix, but I just haven't gotten around to it!

Mick said...

My house had an indoor water feature when we first bought it also. It took me a while to get around to fixing it completely. I had to completely replace the floor in bathroom. (I didn't let things go that long, it was already rotten when we bought it) Now that I'm adding the second bathroom the plumber bids are ridiculously high for rough in work, so I'm going to do that myself. Just thought I'd mention the best book I've found for reference is the one by 'creative homeowner' - if you're so inclined time/motivation-wise to tackle it yourself.

Amy said...

You could probably fix the toilet leak with a new water supply line (running from the valve to the tank) or just a good dose of plumber's putty... You'd probably have to get the area really dry to use putty or tape, but it should work.

Luckily the plumbing I've been working on hasn't been leaking, just ugly!