November 1, 2016

An Unexpected Problem: 17,000 Gallons Worth

Over the weekend, we had a huge unexpected problem hit our house. When I came home on Friday, I sat down to talk to Auston like usual when he says, "Don't freak out, but when I opened the water bill today, we went through 17,000 gallons of water last month." My mind went wild with the amount of money we would have to pay for the bill and for fixing it, how much time it would take us - I mean, he said don't freak out, but obviously that wasn't gonna stop me. Thankfully, he told me right away the bill was only $250, but that's more than our normal $50 and more than we had planned for. As soon as he saw the bill he started to look for where the leak was, turning off every pipe separately and checking the water meter to isolate the problem.

It turns out, one of our hot water pipes under the house had a leak, a very big and very fast leak. After turning off the hot water heater he saw the meter slow down and then he turned it back on and in that minute we had gone through 60 gallons of water! We turned that baby off as fast as we could. They pulled the heater totally out of the room since there was a pipe directly underneath it they need to fix too. Now the water is completely off and Auston has to go to the gym to shower after rolling around under the house all day.

The worst part about the whole thing is that some of the pipes are in a concrete slab, meaning that we are going to have to cut through it to patch the leaking pipes. Thankfully, my dad has tools that can cut concrete and they are under the house right now fixing and cutting things as I'm writing this. I'm sure the neighbors hate us because we've been loud the past two nights and it's about 9:30, but hey, when you find out you have a small pool under your house, you just gotta fix it. Auston and dad fixed everything last night like the handy men they are and we should have running water in the morning.

Our house was built in the 1950's when they used galvanized steel for piping - which is very bad. Galvanized steel builds up sediment over time until it clogs up the flow of water completely. It also corrodes around the joints, making it susceptible to breaking and leaks. PVC is the easiest and most reliable piping to use now, which is what we're replacing the leaking pipe with. If we could afford to replace all of the steel piping with PVC, we would do it in a heart beat. It means less problems, easier repairs, and a longer lifespan, but right now that's just not in the cards and patching will have to do. Thankfully, they make these easy sharkbite couplings which make a patching/replacing job much easier.

While we were at it, we also tore out the sheetrock in the utility room where the water heater, washer and dryer are which you can see in the picture. This leak has moved our utility room renovation up on the timeline, which is a good and a bad thing. I hadn't even planned out the space yet or thought about what would be the best layout. For now, we'll just put up the sheetrock and see where the road takes us.

I didn't plan to share our piping problem in a whole post, but someone told me that there might be a few of you out there that have old houses with galvanized steel piping like we do and have no idea how susceptible they are to breaking/leaking. I mean, if it wasn't for my dad and Auston crawling under the house, I would have no idea. Piping is just not my thing. But morale of the story - if you're house is old and has galvanized steel piping, a routine check of the pipes is probably something you should put on your chore chart. It could save you time and money in the future. Plus, seeing that mineral/sediment stuff in the piping where we got our water was just plain nasty. Anyone else out there have piping issues like us?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to Top