February 22, 2010

Expert advice for the cost of Pastrami

You might have a bathroom in your house you rarely use. Chances are, if your a parent, this bathroom is the hovel of your beloved children. When I say rarely use, I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. You might jump in for a biological need here and there and ponder the inability to keep the counter clean, but thats all.

We have such a bathroom and the 50 year old plumbing from the tub is quite fond of holding onto refuse matter such as congealed soap scum mixed with biological matter. The steel pipes of yore assume a rough pitted interior over 1/2 a decade.

Before Tina and I built our master suite the bathroom in question was more closely maintained (mea culpa), by myself. So I take a goodly amount of blame for the drain backing up.

The inability to drain somehow became a forbidden topic and kept as such in the dark, I was late to the rescue. Which is to say, the chemical warfare that proceeded upon my knowledge should not make it back to the EPA. While some small amount of opening was aquired that allowed for a seepage of water over time would drain the tub, it was far from adequate and quite the source of embarrassment for my lineage.

Plumbing is genetically grafted into my families code. If water will not flow and\or drain, you have two kinds of people in the world. My family and those who call my family in desperate need.

I admit that I was stymied and frustrated as the clean out plug that should have allowed me to fix the inconvenience was not made out of brass as is should have. It was fused solid. My mind danced around various ideas of how to get this fixed and hit knowledge barriers that confounded me at one point or another.

I consoled myself with the idea that I would just rip out the whole damn mess and replace it with ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Another round of chemical warfare actually did the job, relieving my mental burden. The tub drained, showers could be held for all, the rejoicing began.

I purchased some more chemical agents and instructed my eldest to maintain the flow. With that I moved on to other projects to ponder and procrastinate upon.

Little did I know that my instructions lacked the crucial bit of informing me if the tub stopped draining. As time passed it did just that. The Chemical was used up and no request was made to purchase more. I suffered from out of sight out of mind.

Lo and Behold the enemy surge counter plugged up the drain and thereby gained a foothold that would not be overcome by nothing short of genocide.

Yes, it was the plumbing or me... (yes, I am playing this out for high drama).

At this point there was a call to the expert. My pop. A man to whom plumbing knowledge is first nature. He had several suggestions and was going to send my brother over to take a look at the particulars of this project. Then he came up with the idea of using this "Internet thing" to strengthen his understanding of the situation.

Digital camera in hand, I took a few shots like those above.

The reply was a concise set of directions:
Unloosen the 1-1/2" nut above the trap on the waste and overflow.

then you cut the 1-1/2' trap arm into to remove that part; then unscrew the other piece from the tee.

Then re place the pipe and trap with two 1-1/2" male adapters and a 1-1/2" Plastic trap.

very good pictures.

Which, of course, created a series of questions in my mind. God smiled upon me and my Pop decided this quest was worthy of three hours (round trip) of driving on a Sunday afternoon. With my mom playing side kick we sauntered into the daylight basement and he verified that which he already knew.

The entire project took about an hour. The time saving techniques and the picking out of parts still sparks amazement. Where I would guess stumble and formulate with doubt, his laser like precision makes short work of this blockage and the water doth flow.

Oh, I neglected to mention, that he also lent a hand with re-establishing the laundry room sink that had been back burnered, by me way too long.

There is a lot to respect and love about my parents. They do set the bar.


keeka said...

Good that you have that part covered. We here only have the electrical and mechanical. Carls dad is the electrical engineer and works on a lot of problems with lighting and other wiring problems and Carl is the mechanical sort. Unfortunately, not much is needed in that area. Our problems are much more structurally based such as needing a new back door hung or replacing old windows. He tried one, it isn't something I would want him to do again. So we wait until we have enough money for a professional. So there you go.

prestoffcenter said...

I had a good one the other day. The sink in the bathroom was quite digital in it's condition of flow. Sis in law was the one using it all summer and did not mention a problem till I asked why there was drain cleaner suddenly present. A run through with a snake cleared it up for a while then it stopped again. Another run with a snake would seemingly hit something(like it was having trouble making a corner) the it would clear. Testing would be great. A full sink would drain in seconds, then another would stop dead halfway. Thinking about it for a while I remembered when I got on scene, the drain plug was removed. Perhaps something like a cap fell down and was caught somewhere and acting like a butterfly valve. I broke out the shop-vac and tried to suck it back up. I had to block off the vent on the roof, and close the tub drain but still nothing significant came out. Flows nice now and hasn't been a problem for a couple of months.