Saturday, May 4, 2013

Drip Drip Drop, Little Leaking Plumbing

It's not early May showers that are drip drip dropping all over us here in England. It's this danged 78-year-old house that undoubtedly needs a total plumbing overhaul raining on our Saturday morning parade.

A couple weeks ago it was the boiler. I discovered it leaking one morning and it took four days to get that fixed. It was all about ordering parts, necessary parts not available and having to call in a more experienced technician since the nice young man who didn't appear old enough to be shaving needed assistance removing a part that didn't want to budge.

As soon as that was fixed, I noticed what appeared to be water spots on the ceiling above the dining table. Having dealt with two previous water leaks requiring a reseal of the master bath shower, which is located directly above that table, I knew the signs. The shower needs to be regrouted and sealed again - the third time since we moved into this house about 2.5 yrs ago - and now we're just waiting for the colored grout on order to arrive. Maybe Monday?

Now referred to as The Great Leaks of '13, we added another headache to the mix this morning when I rolled out of bed to discover the downstairs toilet spreading a steady stream of water all over the cloak room (Brit speak for toilet and sink) tile floor.

Although this is considered an "emergency", it seems a plumber may not make it out here to take a look until this afternoon. "But they will show up sometime today," said the plumbing rep I spoke to on the phone. In the meantime, I tried to shut off the water to the toilet via this knob up beneath the tank. I turned it all the way to the right and it was still running water after five minutes. Then I turned it all the way to the left. Five minutes later, it appeared neither direction would give me the results I wanted. 

Where's a house handy husband when you need him? Sleeping in his bed over in Texas, where he has been working since December. It's not his fault he's not here, but I was irrationally angry at him because this is the sort of stuff he's supposed to be handling. I keep the house (somewhat) clean and wrangle the kids, but he gets to step up to the plate and work his magic when we have leaking toilets or flat tires. 

Since the red mop bucket you see in the pic above was filling up every 20 minutes, I decided to try a bit of redneck engineering.

I took a length of twine and wrapped it around the floaty thing to make the water stop running into the tank since I was unable to stop it at its source. And then I ran the twine around the handle to keep the floating thingy up until plumbing help arrives. Since I did my makeshift rigging, the tank has more or less emptied and now I'm not so worried about it.

The kicker is that we had plans for today rather than a lazy Saturday. We have friends visiting from Texas and I got them off on the train to London for a visit to the Portobello Road market this morning in between emptying the red bucket before the twine idea dawned on me. The girls and I are supposed to travel into London later this morning for a trip to this cool shoe store we discovered, followed by lunch at Borough Market and meeting up with the senior's Texas friend visiting us. Figure the odds.

The best laid plans of moms and daughters often go to hell in a handbasket when we are beset by plumbing issues. 


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  2. Thank you for sharing. If you are experiencing plumbing problems do not wait for things to get worse. Call your local plumber asap.
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  3. Older homes really require a lot of maintenance to ensure that everything runs smoothly. While I feel bad that you had to go through all of those issues, I do think it's good that you can easily identify the problems so you can be able to do the necessary fixing or call in the professionals as soon as possible. -Darryl@Milani

  4. You could opt to have most of the plumbing repaired in one go, maybe modernize the whole thing while they’re at it. It’s actually nice to maintain the old house facade, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make things more modern and comfortable inside.

    Levi @ Capital Plumbing