$h!tty Weekend

This weekend saw a lot of things done, but not much of it was pleasant. Saturday my father came down and we cut up the old oil tank and got the pieces bagged and outside so they can be disposed (and one and a half 5-gallon buckets of slop that was in the bottom of the tank). Lots of arm shaking with the reciprocating saws, and I went through 6 of my 5 batteries (one had recharged during the time we were working). Also replaced the kitchen faucet since we bought a utility tub for the basement, and I wanted a faucet for the new tub that has a sprayer on it instead of the standard two valve things that come with the kits – you never realize how handy it is to have a sprayer on those things until you don’t have one. So the kitchen faucet now is one of the models where the end of the faucet comes out and turns into a sprayer, and Stephanie is quite happy with it. On Sunday, we went back to Lowes and picked up the parts I’d need to install the tub in the basement, including some things to go into the 2″ hub in the cast iron pipe that is where the old tub was located. That’s when the fun began.

First, I broke up the old tub. It was a Myrastone basin, which is molded concrete, and huge and heavy. Two basins on it. I would’ve loved to keep it, but the base for it was wobbly and seemed unusable and there were a few cracks in the bottom – hate to get it all hooked up and find out that it leaks. So I was going to just move it out of the way, but picked up the four-pound sledge instead and whacked it a few times. After about 10 minutes, I had it in pieces that would make the job of carrying it out of the basement much easier. Okay, on to the sewer line. I figured that if I got the old cast iron pipe out of the hub and got the PVC installed, then if it was getting too late I could just stop there and do the rest as time permits. This was around 5pm I’d guess. Well, at 8pm I finally had all the lead out of the joint (it’s called a lead oakum joint, basically the pipe is set in the hub, oakum is packed around it then lead poured on top). Now is when I realized that the “donut” that I had, which is supposed to accept a 2″ PVC pipe and fit into a 2″ cast iron hub joint, didn’t fit. It was way too lose, and would just rattle around (and most annoyingly, leak). So, I found that there was one Lowes around that was still open until 10pm on a Sunday, in NE Philly. Placed a bucket under the pipe and we went for a drive. Once there, I didn’t see anything other than what I already had to do what I needed. Wonderful!

I ended up getting these rubber “packing sheets”, figuring I could cut a strip or two from it and wrap it around the donut to make a tighter seal. Once we got home, I got to it. Now the problem is that the rubber sheet would either leave a gap where the two pieces didn’t quite meet up, which water would drip through, or they’d overlap slightly – leaving a small gap where water would leak through. Finally at around 10pm, I thought I had it. Donut was in the hub with only one strip of the sheet instead of two, and it was holding for now. Pour some water into the drain line, and it’s still dripping – which means that any other water we run upstairs, since the pipe is angled in the wrong direction slightly, would also drip through there. Not good. Ended up pushing the donut maybe a little too far into the hub so there was a small ridge around it, and put a wad of plumber’s putty in place to seal the gap. So for now, there’s no drips, but even just the moving around I’ll have to do to connect the drain and trap lines to the sink could crack that putty and cause another leak.

Now I’m waiting around for the plumber I called this morning to call me back, and hope that he’ll be able to come out today and have a look at the problem. With any luck, it’ll be a “quick fix” since I don’t need him to do all the lines, just really that one joint and leave me with something I can connect to the trap. If that’s done, then I can pour some water in the trap (to keep out any sewer gases) and leave it like that until I have the time to do the water lines and mount the basin and such. But between all that, and Stephanie’s scream of “SORRY!” just as I heard water hitting one of the cast iron elbows above my head, since she’d out of habit flushed the toilet not a few minutes after we discussed that she could use it but not flush (fortunately the bucket wasn’t far away, and I heard the scream fast enough).. well, the title of this post says it all.

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