Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Adventures in plumbing

That's the hole to the new crawl space there, below. The new part of the building is two classrooms built onto the south end of school in 1955. That crawl space is infinitely more pleasant than the old one. There's even enough headroom to crawl!

So I was down there last week, trying to get the garden water working. I could see that the fitting I'd put on last year had frozen and busted. I'd tapped into the copper waterline with a sharkbite fitting – those suckers are expensive but so easy to use! – and the ice had blown the plastic parts of the fitting into bits. OK. So I buy another ($12), this time a T so I can add another spigot out toward the new trees. Fine. Pop it in, add the new PEX line, wallow into the old crawl space and turn it on.

By the sound you can tell it's leaking like crazy somewhere along the line. Fine. I wallow out of there, back into the new crawl space, and look for a big wet spot. (I suppose the leak might have been in the old crawl space, but it's so much easier to look in the roomy new one.) Found it. A split in the copper line back by the foundation between the two parts of the building. I've already cut into my roll of blue PEX for the other lines, so there isn't enough to replace this one. I find a length of CPVC (with a fitting!) and glue it up and make it work.

OK. Wallow back into the old crawl space. Turn the line on. Sounds good. Wallow out, look in the other crawl space for leaks – everything looks fine. Try the spigots – the "frost-proof" one I put in last year has a big split in it and leaks like crazy when I turn it on.

This is the third leak on this one line. I just want to be able to water the damn garden. If I have to drag myself on my belly, with my elbows, through the fine dust and dark and asbestos of the old crawl space again, there will be ugly cussing and possibly the pitching of objects. I'll be mean to my dogs. It'll be bad.

So I get a wad of that plumber's epoxy putty stuff, knead it up and slap it on the split. There are a couple of pinhole leaks, but it's mostly OK. I go inside, take off my disgusting crawl-space clothes, and have dinner. That was a simple little job that should have taken a half hour, but instead sucked up a whole evening. And yes, I did turn the line off last fall! Have to figure out a way to drain that line next time. Feh.

Access to the new crawl space on the south porch.

The new crawl space, looking west. Look at that head room!

Looking east. Yes, that's asbestos on
 the white pipes, but it's in great shape, no worries.

No comments:

Post a Comment