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Walden Ponderer

Frozen / Busted pipes, which leads to lots of questions

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My 1,001 things to do list keeps getting bigger, not smaller, which is to be expected, I suppose. I bought an old farm house at foreclosure auction, what did I expect?

Anyway, for every pleasant surprise (septic was just inspected last summer, so it's okay), there's an unpleasant one (power has been off for 18 months, so the well/pump hadn't been run in all that time... which in turn means the pipes had plenty of opportunity to freeze, no matter how well wrapped they were).

When I turned on the pump, the water in the house ran clear and clean for, oh, about 15 seconds, and then just dribbles... uh oh.

Turns out the "uh-oh" is a big leaky break right under the house, just inside the crawl space. Easy to get to, and though I've never spliced galvanized pipe before, I've seen the videos. Can't be that much harder than splicing PVC, which I've done lots of times.

My questions, though, start with the obvious, and then run to the not-as-obvious. How likely is it that there will be other breaks further up the pipe in either direction?

And, if there are, wouldn't it be better to just retrofit the house with PEX instead? And at what point should I stop playing DIY superman, and instead call somebody who does this for a living?

What other questions should I be asking myself at this point?

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At least you have pier and beam so there’s easy access. I don’t have any answers except wouldn’t you have more peace of mind if you changed it out now instead of patching it to break later?

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What's your fiscal reality?

Whats your confidence/skill level?

How long are you going to be in this house?  

 

PEX is really easy to work with,  assuming access is reasonable and you are handy you could get it done for +/-$1000

Paying someone would probably be something like 4 times that.

I am sure you could get quotes for a couple times that, but that would be a rip off.

 

(assuming your talking about a typical residential house)

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If you do go with Pex and DIY get one of the manifolds. I live near the Viega factory so that's the brand I have but there are others. It makes installation a breeze and future maintenance much easier.

 

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On 1/29/2020 at 1:47 PM, Walden Ponderer said:

My 1,001 things to do list keeps getting bigger, not smaller, which is to be expected, I suppose. I bought an old farm house at foreclosure auction, what did I expect?

Anyway, for every pleasant surprise (septic was just inspected last summer, so it's okay), there's an unpleasant one (power has been off for 18 months, so the well/pump hadn't been run in all that time... which in turn means the pipes had plenty of opportunity to freeze, no matter how well wrapped they were).

When I turned on the pump, the water in the house ran clear and clean for, oh, about 15 seconds, and then just dribbles... uh oh.

Turns out the "uh-oh" is a big leaky break right under the house, just inside the crawl space. Easy to get to, and though I've never spliced galvanized pipe before, I've seen the videos. Can't be that much harder than splicing PVC, which I've done lots of times.

My questions, though, start with the obvious, and then run to the not-as-obvious. How likely is it that there will be other breaks further up the pipe in either direction?

And, if there are, wouldn't it be better to just retrofit the house with PEX instead? And at what point should I stop playing DIY superman, and instead call somebody who does this for a living?

What other questions should I be asking myself at this point?

I would get a couple of compression fittings and cut out the damaged or split piece and replace. Then you can see if there are any more leaks. It may be the only one. Then you can test the water well and all the plumbing and sewer for a few days or so to see where you stand with your new investment. Then decide if you want to replace the plumbing.

 

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25 minutes ago, Alex Karev said:

I would get a couple of compression fittings and cut out the damaged or split piece and replace. Then you can see if there are any more leaks. It may be the only one.

It was the only leak, and that's what I did.

Weird part, though, was that it was only one small section of galvanized; the rest is copper. The joint between the two seems strong enough, which I was a little worried about, though I called the county inspector just to ask if it was in code -- "It's not, but don't worry about it," is what the guy told me. All hail lenient code officers, I guess.

Anyway, I'm comfortable with my Frankenstein plumbing. I don't think I'll be retrofitting any time soon. It was kind of cool peeling away some of the insulation they put down there, though -- instead of the squishy wrap-around tubes, they had tied newspaper around the copper portion.  Newspaper from the early 60's. I'm replacing all of that with more modern tube-style insulation.

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