Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaky Pipes No Longer

Once upon a time, I used to think that a "productive weekend" entailed going for a run, getting laundry done, lining up snacks for the rest of the week, and possibly doing some bike maintenance.

The bar has been reset: this Saturday, we replaced the main water line from the street to the house.

Like most houses built half-a-century ago, the galvanized steel pipes that go into Nancy's house (where we're living) have been slowly been rotting away. Before, when I thought "leaky pipe", I envisioned a pipe with a little hole in it. No no. These things leak. Consistently. The water seeped into the ground and made a corner of the yard constantly damp.

Here's a picture of the pipe(s) that we pulled out of the ground. You see the rust? You see the earth that has adhered to the pipe? It's almost like clay. They needed to be replaced.

First, we rented a mini excavator. This one has "CAT" controls.

Then, after turning off the water and disconnecting some important bits, we dug a trench. Gene did most of the digging with the excavator while I hacked away roots with an axe.

Then we pulled the old pipe out. At the same time, we threaded the new plastic-y pipe in. I could not believe the diameter of the pipe -- that skinny little thing brings water into the whole house? Crazy.

Gene then connected the new pipe to the house and back to the main water line from the city. It was a little touch-and-go when water started spraying all over the basement. I started envisioning a week of bucket baths, but Gene was able to fix it.

Finally, we turned the water back on in time for dinner! We even made it to a pumpkin carving party that evening, though, after carving up the yard all day, I didn't feel like carving any pumpkins.

It is so satisfying to see the dial on the water meter -- which had chronically spun no matter if no one was using water in the house -- stay put.

Yay, efficiency.


jason said...

Good work!
We had our water line replaced when we got our house and they used directional drilling, no trench required, the excavator looks like much more fun though. Aren't you glad you won't be watering the lawn from below all winter?
What other projects are you two up to these days?

Meredith Sorensen said...

We are also renovating the basement: Tearing up carpet. Pulling up tile. Spraying out the ceiling. Mudding the walls. Painting the floor. One more section to go.
Not quite as extreme as tarping the entire house (you guys are nuts!), but we have our moments.

Unknown said...

It is a good thing you replaced the old pipes. It would cause your water consumption bill to increase if you left it untended. And that’s not all. Bacteria can enter the holes in the pipeline and mix with the water you take, which can cause health problems. So it is best to check all the pipes, just to make sure that all are in good condition.

@Althea Tumlin