Waiting For The Plumber

Just before we left last week for South Dakota, I noticed an ominous patch of wet drywall in the basement ceiling in a part of the basement we don’t go into very much. It was in the hallway between the bedroom doors. We appear to have a pinhole leak in a pipe that goes to the kitchen. It must have started a week or so ago, and has leaked down the wall and onto a carpet, leaving some mildew.

This happened before about a year ago in one of the bedrooms in the basement. The plumber cut a hole in the ceiling, patched the pipe, and we had to get a drywall guy to patch the ceiling. When we moved into the house, I was surprised that the basement ceiling was drywalled instead of having those suspended ceiling tiles. I worried about what would happen if we had to get to pipes or wiring, but our insurance agent assured me that having a drywalled ceiling in the basement was really good in the event of a fire.

We have been in the house for more than 30 years, and we never had a problem like this until recently. I sure hope that this isn’t going to keep happening. Husband spent yesterday afternoon helping the plumber. I have plans for redoing the carpets and paint in the basement over the next couple of years. I may have to wait until just before we sell it in the event that the pipes continue to spring leaks.

What are some design flaws in your current abode? When have you been chagrined to be right?

45 thoughts on “Waiting For The Plumber”

  1. The plumber says the pipe has multiple “green spots” that will start leaking in the next while, caused by age and stuff in the water. The house is 45 years old, and this happens around this age of pipes.. He will replace the whole pipe that runs from the furnace room to the kitchen, I suppose about 30 feet of pipe. The ceiling will need lots of patching.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Our house is just shy of 100 years old, so as far as flaws and break-downs are concerned, it’s like a game of whack-a-mole.

    Pinhole leaks and green spots indicating developing leaks are not “normal” age-related developments in copper piping. They suggest some other issue. If you google “pinhole leaks and green spots in copper pipe” you find that the breakdown of the copper can sometimes be attributed to the acidity of the water or minerals in the water, in which case the problem would be common in your area. It appears, though, that most often the problem can be traced to how and whether the plumbing is used as a secondary ground for your electrical system. A small constant current running through the copper will cause it to break down eventually, apparently. Anyway, it’s worth asking why your copper is leaking instead of just waiting and hoping it doesn’t.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Green spots would indicate that moisture is already working its way through the copper. Is there any reason to suppose that only the 30-foot run of copper from the furnace room to the kitchen is affected?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My plumber for our old house told me that the old steel pipes worked well for a ground but that copper should never be used. The old house had been replumbed before we bought it to copper water lines. But the line from the street was not. So joining steel/cast iron to copper is tricky. Electrolysis occures where they meet. It takes a special coupling to prevent deterioration of the joint. The joint was very hard to get at. I did not get it done before we sold. But we did move the ground from the incoming water line, which was very easy to do.I did put that detail in the disclosure.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. When we bought our current house, much of the supply plumbing was still galvanized steel, with the exception of the laundry room, where copper had been joined to the galvanized without a dielectric union. I’ve replaced all the steel with copper, including some of the laundry room copper, which was poorly done.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. https://images.app.goo.gl/TvFhgYTfgY7tziEz7
    Design flaw where I live? Sorta. At the far left, second floor, is, my apartment window. I am not allowed to clean the glass as it is part of the design. Thankfully, I am allowed an airconditioner. The painted glass limits natural sunlight, so I get out as much as possible. The Birds have a sun lamp. Maybe I should get one for myself.
    The other murals around town are quite interesting. The bridge shown goes over the Miami River and is 350 steps from where I live. The trails along the river are lovely. So the “flaw” has it’s benefits. Exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love the mural, I’d not be so crazy about not being able to clean the window – although if you saw my windows, you’d wonder whether I cared about clean windows.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. There have been far too many episodes where I’ve had chagrinedness being right. I tell the contractor, owner and employer that we should not install flooring under these conditions. (Mostly too cold)
    “But we’ve gotta get ‘er done!”
    “The project will fail. Not now. Now next week. Not a month from now. It will fail.”
    “Get ‘er done!”
    Six months later replacement begins.
    I take no delight in being right.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. No design flaw (that I see, anyway) in the house itself, but it’s on one of those tucked-in side street lots that should have been part of some other yard. Therefore, there is no room for a Screen Porch like we added at the back of the Robbinsdale house.

    I am right so often that there is no counting the number of times I have been chagrined

    Liked by 3 people

  6. We refurbished a wonderful 100 year old home, doing all the work myself. Sold it for a good profit. Bought into a HOA. A life style not for us at all. My pain issues were preventing me from doing much anymore. We rented this apartment 12 yeares ago. Maintenance is wonderful. We have had four men in the job, 40 hour work week, so right on hand. First was fired day we moved in. Next three have all been exclellent. Nice men, very capable. If we have any issue the current one, by now a good friend, is right there. He even helps with things that are not his job, like chaging light bulbs in high ceiling lights or covering outside of AC. Has twice driven me to my routine MRIs. Building is 18 years old. So the appliances are slowly going. They replace them with more modern and even better ones. Have new stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer, AC unit. Microwave and dishwasher are all a little beat up around the edges. Keven keeps saying they will replace them both, but I have trouble throwing out two things that do their job just fine even though it is not my money.
    Carpet needs replacing though. I will start pushing the issue. They have been playing with putting vinyl flooring in most of the paprtment space. Has not worked out well. So waiting to see what they decide. Last four months my focus has been elsewhere. An issue is that they have never replaced carpet in a unit someone still lives in. So how to handle furniture when they lay new flooring. Not supposed to put it in the hallway. Wessew, any input on this?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There should be some sort of waiver about moving furniture into the hallway. I always charged more for moving any furniture especially if such items cannot be moved out entirely. An installation with furniture means it needs to be handled at least six times. Twice for demolition of the existing carpet and pad. Twice to install pad. Twice to position the carpet. More moving to stretch and get the unit back in place. Challenging.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yeah. Thanks for input. Just talked to Kevin. Plan is to install vinyl fake wood flooring in kitchen/dining room area and leave carpet in living room part of great room. Carpet is not bad there.A warmer floor is a better idea there, by the patio door which is itself a huge design flaw. Leaks heat, which I do not pay for outside of lease.
        But leaving it in first bedroom is an issue. Worn. We have lived in that room for all 12 years we have been here. TV and office space. Will also do two bathrooms.
        If I say so, that is.

        Liked by 5 people

    2. clyde
      carpet come in 12’widths
      go pick your carpet have it cut to lay directly over the tip of the existing stuff and install is done in minutes
      if you don’t like factory edges you can have an egging sewn to make it a giant throw rug or just put it in and be careful vacuuming the edge

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Go with a 10×10 rug. Buy one already bound. Be sure to put furniture on two sides, open on two or else the extra padding underneath will cause wrinkling. Wrinkles will happen in any case but you don’t want them to collect in the center.


        1. My idea is simply to buy the 12 foot width of carpet easy and unroll it on the floor do you have to look for a 10 foot round that’s already bound your options and costs are drastically different


  7. I think the design of my little house is pretty good.

    Depending on who you ask, it was built in 1940 or 1950. My guess is 1940 as it feels more “solid” than a post-war house.

    I know it was here before the GI bill built houses on either side of it.

    But at some point, the kitchen and bothroom were meddled with.

    I’d dearly love to find the original plans and see how much restoration could be managed.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Our house was built in 1968 by my mom and dad. Mom did a pretty good job with it. Kelly and I have commented several times that mom thought of a lot of things. Mom regretted it only had one bedroom on the main floor, so when we had our first child, there was no place for a crib. Son’s first crib was in the laundry room for the first two years, then we put an addition on before daughter was born.

    We have replaced windows and doors, added steel siding, new roof, tore out a lot of carpet, installed hardwood flooring, redid kitchen, mudroom, one bathroom, lots of painting over the years. Luckily, not from damage, just time they were done. One of these days, the laundry room and main bathroom will get redone. I won’t tackle those alone.
    And the basement really hasn’t been touched. Still has the shag carpet from 1968, and the pink bathroom that pretty much I only use. I tell Kelly it’s retro and will be coming back. She’s not sure about that…

    We only have a single car garage. We’ve talked about trying to turn it into a double… but it just doesn’t really fit due to the septic tank location, driveway, and terrain. And I park over in the shed, so we’re lucky no vehicles have to sit out.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I’m living in a condo in Northfield. I consider the vertical design to be a huge flaw. I understand that it saves space on the ground but there sure are a lot of stairs.

    A few years ago we had an extreme cold spell in late January, followed by repeating dumpings of snow in February. The snow piled up on the roof and freeze/thaw cycles began creating the biggest ice dams and icicles I have ever seen. There was one that was a couple feet thick hanging from the upstairs (top) roof right over my bedroom window. The icicles over that window completely covered the window and were more than a foot thick. I was very anxious about it. One neighbor in a condo unit identical to mine had ice/water damage when his upstairs bedroom ceiling collapsed onto his bed causing thousands of dollars in damage. The association’s master insurance policy doesn’t cover it. I called my insurance agent and explained what was happening. My homeowners policy wouldn’t cover it either. There was nothing I could do but pray.

    Those huge icicles are heavy. They dangled from the top roof over the second roof. I was so scared one of them would crash through the ceiling of my living room. I called and raised holy hell with the association. I said that when I owned my house in Waterville, I used a roof rake and even got up on the roof to make sure I got all the snow off so situations like this wouldn’t happen. I said when I moved into a condo with an association, I expected them to maintain the property as a homeowner would. They said it would cost them $50,000 to get a crew to do all the buildings in our association. Finally they did hire a crew. I must not have been the only one complaining (I was going to use another word here). I know the family whose ceiling collapsed did sue the association but I don’t know how that worked out. I told them it better not ever happen again.

    The following summer the association sent an inspector to my unit. I let him in and showed him the door to the attic. He climbed up and took a look. When he came down he told me that more ventilation was needed in the dormers and more insulation was needed throughout the attics in all the units. He told me that his recommendations would be included in his report to the association.

    Nothing came of it. I have asked repeatedly when those design changes will be made. I understand now that they won’t be made. I can apply for a variance and have more insulation blown in on my own but without the ventilation problems repaired, it won’t matter much.

    The other design flaw is the sewer vent pipe isn’t tall enough. It freezes up in extremely cold weather and doesn’t vent. I know it’s happening when it gets really cold and all the water drains out of the toilets. When that happens, the sewer smell isn’t far behind.

    All of that said, I do like living here. It’s much less work for me than the house and huge yard on a hill that I had in Waterville.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. The biggest design challenge in our house is the kitchen. It’s not a flaw, as such, in that the design was perfectly serviceable in the 1920s but it has never been reconfigured and in attempting to do so we have a good understanding why.

    It’s not a large kitchen but it has four doors in and out, plus a window. Behind one of the walls is a stairway and a chimney, so no opportunity for expansion there. The refrigerator is on the back landing, where it would have been convenient for the iceman but not so much for us.

    Our attempts at reimagining the kitchen so as to bring in the refrigerator and also keep or add storage space have all entailed compromises we are not sure we are willing to make and a great deal of expense. When I was much younger, I completely remodeled one of our kitchens, but I am no longer interested in undertaking that again myself. Bids we have gotten from contractors have been quite high and their solutions not quite acceptable. We’ll do something, sometime, but in the meantime we’ve gotten used to it and don’t feel any particular urgency.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. And I’m living in a rental house that is 45 years old and we pointed out that the in floor ductwork for heat and air in the basement caused mold issues and they put in venting above the dropped ceiling had a great deal of expense to get that taken care of then we had mold issues behind the wall or they had to tear off the sheet rock re-insulate and fix the roof problem that caused the wall problem
    Not being a homeowner it’s kind of refreshing the ownership doesn’t care they just on the property and will sell it after we move out and we only care enough to make sure that it’s not a problem that’s gonna be a bigger problem
    Back in the day I had a list of fix up stuff and would knock it off one job at a time and it was a never ending cycle
    Today I just have to hang in there one more year and then decide if I’m going to re-up and stay here longer or move to the next joint
    The rough year is 45 years old of gorgeous cedar shakes but will need to be replaced my guess is they’ll go with the asphalt shingles but that’s a shame I love the cedar shakes expensive as they are

    Have you looked Renee and putting a water conditioner in where the water enters the house before it gets into the pipes that might take the minerals out in less than that factor

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Water around here is hard. Everyone has a softener, which do not get it all out. This building did not add them (takes more than one in large building) until 3 years ago. But too late in some ways. Plumbing issues do pop up from it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I think a water softener is a necessity around here. I looked at a townhome in Duluth last spring. I liked it but not enough to enter a stressful bidding war on it. I mentioned to the realtor that it didn’t have a water softener. She said that no one has them in Duluth! I was very surprised at that and told her so. It seems like they would need them even more near the Iron Range. I guess a lot of our water problems come from calcium deposits but there is still plenty of iron in the water here.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. All along the north shore well water is essentially Lake Superior water, which is astoundingly soft. It is softer than any normal softener produces.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. The only metal at the bottom of Superior is copper, which is a part of the reason that the hole in the ground of Superior exists. Copper does not dissolve in water very much, one of the reasons for copper pipes. Also some silver. Geologists say there should be gold in north shore streams but there isn’t.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Our house was built in 1889, and has been added on to piecemeal, as near as I can tell. The basement is a dungeon, and the stairs to the second floor “apartment” are narrow and limits what furniture can be brought up there. When I purchased the house in 1979, I inherited Gladys who was renting the upstairs. When she moved to a nursing home some years later, we had to saw her couch in two; we simply couldn’t get it around a very sharp corner in the stairway. We have no idea how they got it up there.

    Our downstairs kitchen has similar issues to Bill’s with four doors and two windows. It was not designed for efficient workflow, but at this stage of the game, who cares?

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Krista’s icicle problem reminds me of a roof design problem at building on the campus of NDSU Fargo.
    The roof was metal (painted green) with 2 foot segments. When the snow accumulated and began to melt, long segments would detach producing a focused avalanche effect. The snow and ice would shoot 10 to 20 feet away from the building. Extremely dangerous!! I don’t recall how the problem was fixed or if anyone was injured but those piles of ice were impressive. Design flaw.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. ice you ike’s are an insulation problem
    clyde is right venting is easy
    insulate like the dickens vent well and live happily ever after
    under $1000 for sure maybe $250


  15. Nothing particularly structural but Bill’s whack-a-mole metaphor certainly applies here. House was built in 1915 so we’re into a century now. When I moved in, I had the wall between the kitchen and the back room knocked out so it makes the kitchen seem bigger. That’s really my only complaint – I’d like to have a more useful kitchen.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. The main thing about my house is that it doesn’t have a full basement. There is a basement, then there are three crawlspaces arranged around it. And there are pipes running through the unheated crawlspaces. Why did anyone ever think that was a good idea in Minnesota?

    Liked by 1 person

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