I do not want to say this too loudly, just in case I might jinx myself, but it appears that the plumbers finally finished all their work.  It only took from the beginning of January through the end of March to replace the broken main line running under the bedroom floor, a couple of return trips because the main line had not been properly cleaned of debris further down from the break and the drains were again not draining, and restore the saltillo tile that had to be torn up.

To say that this experience was traumatic would be a big understatement. The original plan was to dig up a 3’ by 3’ hole to reach the area of the main line where the suspected problem was located.  Everything was going along just fine, until I heard the very loud voice of the plumber calling me to come take a look.  They had reached the suspected area and found a large crack in the main line running in both directions beyond the area they had uncovered.

At this point, the restoration people had to be called in because there was a strong possiblity that the damaged pipe extended under the bathroom floor.  If that was the case, the cast iron bathtub would have to be taken out and the bathroom floor dug up.  Luckily, the pipes under the bathtub were in good shape and the bathroom floor remained intact.

The original insurance claim went out the window at this point, and another claim covering the additional work had to be filed.  What originally started as a 3′ by 3′ hole to reach the area where the suspected problem was located evolved into the excavation of a 10′ trench running from one end of the bedroom almost to the other end.   Suffice it to say that it took 2 tons of dirt to fill up the hole.

   

Now, after being told by the restoration crew that they could match the new saltillo to the one that was in place, they said they were unable to make the match and would have to tear up the entire bedroom floor and replace it with a larger tile that would NOT match the rest of the house.  At this point, I called the company that installed the floor when I moved in and they agreed to do the repairs.

Although they did find the right tile and it does match the rest of the floor, the color of the original grout had been discountinued.  The new grout is much darker and was very obvious, so the new grout had to be stained to come close to what it should have been.  Getting that accomplished was an interesting experience.

In the middle of this upheaval, very dear out-of-town friends came to visit.  It was great to see them and a welcome break from the surrounding chaos. 


‘snakes’ run from both ends of the house to the blockage (about 80 feet one way), down a side line to take care of the problem in the second bathroom, several phone calls and a house ‘colonoscopy’, the tentative diagnosis is not good. 

It appears, after they ran a camera into the bowels of the plumbing system, that there may be a break in the main line that takes waste water out into the sewer system.  Then they used a beeping sci-fi rifle looking contraption with 2 large balls on the barrel to locate the problem.  Of course, the break has been located buried in the slab under my one-year old saltillo floors, about a foot from my bed.

The solution is to break through the saltillo and the concrete slab to get access to the area and replace the pipe – 3 days of work, not including replacing the floor tiles.  I am now waiting to get an estimate. 

At least the rest of the plumbing in the rest of the house is working normally.


. . . the bane of my existance!

When I lived ‘up North’, over a period of about 30 years I experienced the joys of burst pipes in winter, leaking air conditioning drip pan in the attic, leaking hot water heater, water heater blowing a gasket and a number of more mundane plumbing related events.  Since the weather is so much milder in this area, I thought my encounters with plumbers would be much reduced.

For the third time (actually, the fourth time if we count the burst water pipe in the carport due to freezing temperatures last winter) in a year, I have had to call a plumber to the house.  The house is not new, and except for the master bathroom, it still has all the original plumbing.  Well, guess which area of the house is the one that has given me the most headaches. Yes, the newly-renovated-about-10-plus-years-ago master bathroom.

Perhaps because the master bathroom is at the opposite end of a long house from where the main line joins the sewer system, this is the second time any and all water from any and all appliances in that bathroom has refused to go down the drain, and has actually started to come up where it should not be coming up.  Not to be left behind, the shower drain in the other bathroom was very, very sluggish.  Suffice it to say, it was not a fun day and I will spare you the details.

Thankfully, the home repair insurance company was able to find an ’emergency plumber’ who made an appearance with a somewhat reluctant assistant, about 3 hours after I called.  He really seemed to know what he was doing.  After sacrificing my kitchen rubber gloves to a higher cause, he went into action right away.   He ran a ‘snake’ from the master bathroom down the line until it found resistance.  After he was done, all water was running smoothly down every single drain.  

Is this a story with a happy ending?  Not at all, the patient required more testing since the water from both bathroom showers stopped draining the following morning.  More to come . . .