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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Pipe Dreams

Deuce Cities Henhouse
Dudes, we’ve had our fair share of basement plumbing issues throughout the last year. We made it through the first four years with barely issues and since this time last year we’ve probably had 5 back ups and spent bunches of money on fixing and cleaning out lines. We’re thankful that there is currently tile in the basement or the damage would have been much worse.

The most recent problem was a real mess. For the last month or two I had noticed that our secondary line had been backing up from time to time. I called the plumber when it started happening regularly and he suggested a line clean out. This is something that happens all the time when you have old houses, lines need to be cleared out almost yearly. Anyway, the snaker-dude paid us a visit and said we had a lot of rust in our pipes, cleaned out the line and was on his way.

I thought we were good. After a few weeks I noticed some mold growing on the drywall in the space near the pipe. I figured it was due to leftover dampness from the back-ups we had earlier that month. I quickly put together a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water. Within minutes that little bit of mold was gone and the problem seemed to be fixed. A few days later I notice more mold, so I did my little trick again and it was gone. Then the mold showed up again! I couldn’t figure out why this happening, and then it hits me. Like duh, Scoops! Could there be mold growing on the other side of the drywall? Just, duh. Sometimes knowing stuff about your house isn’t always naturally instinctive.

The next day I made plans to get the kids out of the house, I invested in a good mask and went to town on the basement wall with a sawzall and a prybar. It didn’t take me long to find a huge mess of mold and rotten drywall. Sorry if the photos might make you squeamish, mold makes me wanna barf. Luckily for me, my super hero mom instincts came into play and I became very brave, the mold didn’t bother me. I just needed that mold out of the house ASAP, for the good of our fam! I did what I had to do. I bagged up the moldy drywall immediately and removed all of areas that had been effected by the leak plus an extra 6″ to prevent further mold from growing. I drenched the whole place with bleach and within a few hours it was looking much cleaner.

Now, with part of the wall removed I could see that there was actually a small rusted out crack in the back of the pipe, and a slow leak within the wall had been occurring. The crack is actually where the original problem was stemming from – the backed up water I had seen months before was actually my leaky pipe, and not the lines needing to be snaked (although I’m sure that helped with the flow).

Deuce Cities Henhouse
I’ve got this new great plumber in my back pocket, and he was able to come over and tell it to me straight. He told us that we had a few options, expensive ones and not so expensive ones. The first option was fixing the major problem and running a new line all the way up to our sink, the other was more of a stopgap solution replacing only the cracked corner piece. Since we are planning on doing a full basement renovation in the spring, the latter was the right choice for the time being. We most likely will be replacing plumbing in the spring, and it didn’t seem prudent to do the same job twice.

I’m pretty sure the mold didn’t help my recent cold, I’m still sniffling and it’s been nearly two weeks. That stuff is bad news and should be taken very seriously. I feel bad that I didn’t catch this problem sooner, but relieved that it is no longer in our house and we can move on. Old houses, man – they always be breaking.

in Around the House, Basement
7 comments… add one
  • Jessica September 18, 2014

    Ugh I hear that loud and clear. My 1892 house is a nightmare when it comes to maintenance. We just found a massive problem with our drainage tile around the perimeter of the house. I live in Victoria B.C. which is located in a temperate rainforest so broken tiles means mega mould. Ugh.

    • Scoops September 26, 2014

      Jessica! That totally sucks! I am so sorry for you, I hope you can get that tile fixed up ASAP! Good luck!

  • Daniel | Manhattan Nest September 18, 2014

    Oh man, I’m sorry!! If it makes you feel any better (I’m sure it won’t, haha), we had to replace SO much plumbing when we first got to the house. Our apartment had been sub-letted for 2 weeks, so we HAD to be here, and we had a hugely cracked waste line, no working toilets, no hot water…none of which had been detected during multiple inspections, and we closed like two months after we were supposed to and the plumbing was turned on 3 hours before we moved in, in a house that was vacant for almost 2 years. Craziness! We’ve since replaced various sections of the enormous cast iron waste line, but really the whole thing needs to be chopped out and replaced at some point…it’s literally being held together with duct tape. Luckily the basement is unfinished, since it’s sprung a few mega-gross leaks that would have caused some serious mayhem. Ugh.

    But we have nice doors and floors and moldings, so it’s worth it. Right??? :)

  • Vanessa September 20, 2014

    Big bummer Scoops. Personally I don’t approach mold as an awful thing. I know it’s not a good thing but I really don’t think it’s the killer the press makes it out to be, it is part of nature after all. It’s one of the many things that helps organic material decompose. Nonetheless, the plumbing does have to be fixed and that just stinks (speaking as one who just sent her favorite plumber $2,310.00).

    • Scoops September 26, 2014

      Oh no, Vanessa! Ouch, that is some plumbing bill. Mold just makes me want to puke. Back when I was in college I lived in a crappy apartment that wasn’t well taken care of. Unbeknownst to me there was mold growing behind the walls and in the ceiling. I was sick with sinus infections and migraines the entire year, and I couldn’t figure out why. I almost had surgery on my sinuses. The week we moved out, part of the ceiling came down and there was black mold everywhere. Within two weeks of moving out my health improved dramatically. I do think some mold can affect people in a bad way, but I’m sure it depends on what kind of mold it is and how much there is of it. I wasn’t gonna mess around with it in the house after having such issues with it in my past, plus my little dude has asthma.

  • Juliet September 24, 2014

    Oh no!!!
    I have had so much stuff be problematic with sewer lines in my 1941 cape cod. I’d finally had to in two different sections, had to replace the whole line from my house out to my street. I was living large for about two years. Was totally cavalier about the dungeon (aka basement) of my house. (Until the flood of August in Detroit. Just.don’t.ask My basement was unspeakably awful pit of hell from the storm and sewage). It’s clean now. ;-) But you won’t regret (unless it’s done badly) updating the plumbing system in your remodel to come. It is so worth it.

    • Scoops September 26, 2014

      Juliet! Oh no! That sounds like the worst! I have friends who live in the Detroit area who have problems with sewage and their basement too, except there basement is less than 20 years old. I’m so sorry for you. Hopefully now that it’s fixed you can rest well not having to worry about your basement becoming a toilet every time it rains. We will for sure take care of the old plumbing when we do the basement.

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