Archive for ‘Plumbing’

January 23, 2012


by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

I hate when the house “breaks.” I know we’re fixing it up, and sometimes we demo or “break” things intentionally so we can put them back together in a better way. But the unexpected “breaks” (like when the ceiling caved in or our pipes froze) are just not my cup of tea.

Yesterday our neighbor knocked on our door, saying we needed to check out our main water line – the meter box at the street. Water was pouring out of it. It’s on the front of our house, and we come and go on the side (where our garage is), so we hadn’t even noticed. I’m so thankful for good neighbors.

Long story short – there’s a break in the main water line, but thankfully it’s in the meter box. But to make matters worse, our on/off valve isn’t working properly. So we couldn’t even turn off the water to keep it from running into the street (literally, money down the drain). We called our MUD last night, and the on-call system pretty much failed. So we didn’t get anyone to look at it until first thing this morning.

Supposedly, someone from the MUD is coming to fix it today. We’ll see how that follow-through works out for us. I’m doing plumber research on Angie’s List…just in case. Oh, the joys of homeownership!

UPDATE: We have water again! Just needed a new shutoff valve (which was done by the MUD free of charge) and had a plumber repair the main waterline into the house. Thankfully, the break was inside the meter box and easy to access.

November 6, 2011

Weekend Bathroom Projects – Instagram Style

by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Big news – our half bath is FINALLY up and running! It’s not completely done, but installing the toilet and sink make it feel pretty darn close. This one has been a long time coming!

Our last big project in the half bath was the trim. I didn’t really blog about that process, mainly because installation almost killed us (and revisiting it did not sound like fun). New base boards + quarter round and crown moulding shouldn’t have been that hard in a 3′ x 6′ room, but woodworking is no walk in the park. And now we know for the next room we decide to tackle.

This weekend’s projects included some touch-up painting, along with plumbing and electrical. We (aka Ethan) leaned heavily on our go-to DIY resource book – The Reader’s Digest New Do-It-Yourself Manual. And by “new,” they mean “published in 1991.”

He did some serious online research, consulted a plumbing guy at Lowe’s and made a couple of phone calls to his dad for reassurance. Abby helped too.

It took two full days of work and (only) four trips to Lowes, but we’re back in business! Installing the pedestal sink isn’t exactly a “starter” plumbing project, and I’m super proud of the hubs for making it happen (seriously, all I did was follow his directions and provide an extra set of hands). I’ll take nicer photos one day, but iPhone photos will have to suffice for this evening.

I’m super excited. And really inspired to finish out the small details on this room so we can get started on the next one! :)

February 7, 2011


by Melissa {The Dominion Project}

Last week was a rather interesting one. We had our fair share of home repair projects and water seemed to be the common theme.

Water Situation #1

While half awake & making coffee on Tuesday morning, I snuck a peak at our work-in-progress half bathroom, only to find water dripping from the ceiling. BIG problem!

The night before, a torrential downpour blew through Houston, and apparently our brand new roof (thanks to an August hailstorm) didn’t hold up to the weather. We put in a call to Don the Contractor, who came out with his crew the next morning & sealed up the pesky flashing that caused the problem. So now we’re left with a soggy ceiling & just a little more work that originally planned in the half bath. (That project just got bumped to the top of the list!)

And you think THAT would be the highlight of our week.

Water Situation #2

Behind that Monday night/Tuesday morning rainstorm was a blast of arctic air. We knew it was on it’s way and took all the necessary precautions…or so we thought. So when we woke up Wednesday morning, Ethan was a tiny bit upset (ok, a whole lot upset) when turned on the shower & nothing came out.

I know what you’re thinking – frozen pipes. So were we. But we took all the necessary precautions! Don’t those pipes look nice & warm to you?

{main water line + unused water softener}

Well they weren’t. Here’s a little background information on the never-ending water drama around our house. Before buying our lovely foreclosure, we did the responsible thing & hired a home inspector. His assessment brought forth a laundry list of minor problems, along with one not-so-minor problem: the main water line to the house was busted. And how do you think it broke? You got it – frozen pipes! So we’ve been here before – oh goodie.

Which brings us back to this morning’s adventure. Ethan goes to take a shower…no water…overwhelming sense of dread. He bundles up, goes outside to assess the situation & we make a phone call to dear ole Dad, the master of all household projects. There are a couple of places where the freeze could be & there’s only one way to find out. Time to thaw out some pipes!

STEP 1 – Get water. Sounds easy, but…the pipes are frozen. Now imagine where in your house there’s water that’s not inside a pipe. That’s right, the toilet. Not the bowl (gross!!), the tank. I know, still gross. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

STEP 2 – Boil water. This may take a while (especially with our circa 1984 stove), so feel free to make breakfast while you’re waiting.

{Abby – getting in the way while I’m frying eggs}

STEP 3 – Take boiling water outside & thaw out some pipes!

While Ethan is pouring a couple of gallons of boiling toilet-tank water over the two suspected area, water starts spewing from the shut-off valve connected to the water softener. Found it! I thought about grabbing the camera to catch it in action…but I’m pretty sure he would’ve killed me. So here’s the troubled spot – post drama.

{the frozen spot – our water softener shut-off valve}

We both needed to get to work, so Ethan turned off the main water supply (there’s a shut-off valve at the street) and we put this project on hold until the evening. In the meantime, we both headed off to our offices without showers or the necessary dose of morning caffeine. Thankfully Starbucks had a solution for one of those problems.

That afternoon, my dear husband came home from work, armed with the necessary supplies (plus a decent amount of daylight & the luxury of above-freezing temps – smart guy). Here’s what he had in hand.

{l-r: pipe insulation, 3/4″ pvc pipe, pvc primer + pvc glue, residue-free duct tape, right angle connections}

I’ll spare you all the technical details, but he basically recreated the “U” connection and bypassed the water softener all together (we’ve never used it & definitely don’t want to mess with it now). At a future date (when it’s not as cold & we’re not in an emergency situation), we’ll chunk that old, unused water softener & put this whole thing connection underground. But in the meantime, this definitely did the trick – check out his handywork!

{the repair work in progress + the finished job}

Nothing glamorous, but we now have running water & that’s all a girl can ask for! Good thing I have a husband who knows how to save the day!

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