Monday, May 23, 2011

Plumb interesting and Superman safety

Now I'm not getting homey, just puny*.

So I think I mentioned I plunged the bathtub, it wasn't draining, and ended up with dripping water in the entryway. So today they they dug in and found something none of them had ever seen before.

This is a custom made piece of lead pipe. It's a specially made Y that shrinks down to fit into the top of some very weird cast iron piece. If you look close you can see the brush strokes in the lead where the Y was formed. And it's still shinny after 100 years or so...

Now what turns out to be leaking is what is called a barrel trap. You can see the bottom of it here.

This is also lead and has some other custom made piping that goes into the bath tub.

That is shown here.

The part that snakes over to the tub drain (just over the armored cable and below the 100 year old hay) is not even round. It's an oval so it could fit in the space needed. And it goes up inside the the drain feed from the tub.

Anyway the short story is that this stuff is not replaceable, at all. You would have to redo it in lead, which you probably can't even legally do these days. I guess if you tore this stuff out of the floor with out damaging it you could get someone to custom cast a plastic replacement for $$$$. And you might just get away with it (I'm sure it's not code) since this is a "historical building" but I haven't won the lottery recently so...

The reason to not just rip out all the old junk is this very cool old bath tub with original fixtures. If we rip out the pipes below the fixtures will have to go and as you can sort of see here.

The fixtures were made for this tub, so getting rid of the fixtures means getting rid of the tub. Since this is the only pretty intact original (or close) bathroom that is something we are trying to avoid.

This is the enamel toilet that is also original.

And this is the sink. Also enameled Iron. The tubs stopper should have a know that looks like this one on the sink.

Anyway our star plumber is going to try and chip away the concrete subfloor around the barrel trap and see if they can find the leak and then seal it up with epoxy. The fresh water feeds also appear to have some pinhole leaks someplace so that portion is going to PEX. In theory this should all hold together till we win the lottery and can redo the bathroom.

OK so some progress shots.

New PEX to the Bathroom #2

This is also the bathroom that got the second new sewer line.

This looks sort of like it did except that at the top it used to go into cast iron (the collapsed Elbow) and below it used to go into a cast iron bell fitting.

Now it goes plastic into the basement and makes a proper connection to the old pipe.

While we are down here let me show you something interesting.

We were wondering what all the dirt build up in the sink was from.

Here is some scraped off.

I snaked the drain and we have roots to clean out. The mess in the sink is what comes out of the back end of a garbage disposal. The kitchen sink backs up in the basement sinks.

But that also lead to another discovery.

Out lovely predecessors in their ever cheap single cheeked way didn't put a vent on the kitchen sink so the P trap gets syphoned out and you get a lovely direct connect to sewer gasses.

OK last of all.

It was supposed to rain but since it was sunny instead I mowed the lawn, my god does this stuff grow around here. So I finish, the plumbers are off because they need to let some things set and suddenly it starts getting dark. It's four so?

three minutes later the wind is howling and lightning and it's coming down in sheets.

Yes that is water dripping off the blinds. The window was open and the wind blew the rain right threw the screen and inside. It was a mad sprint to check all the other windows.

Monty has found a new "thunder safe zone"

I wonder if he would put up with a bath to avoid thunder???

The rain stopped but it still sounds like a naval assault out side.

Oh and we got some Big ants around here.

*The pun for those that didn't get it. The word Plumbing comes from the fact that most plumbing originally was made from lead and the latin word for lead is Plumbum. Plumbers were lead workers.

Lead was the one thing you could stick Kryptonite in so it wouldn't weaken Superman, but you knew that.

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