Earl’s Plumbing Problems

This weekend I got a call from Earl about some plumbing issues he had.  Oddly enough the water main going into his house disconnected from the wall!the disconnect  Crazy, right?  I mean, when those pipes are installed, they use some heavy duty cement to seal it and keep things together, so it was kinda crazy to me that it simply disconnected and didn’t break.  Earl had things under control, but I had no plans that day and the weather was awesome so I wanted to come over and assist as needed.  We initially thought it would be easy to replace the entire set up so that we could be certain that the connections were solid from the ground to the wall.  Here’s a mock up of what we planned to do (on the floor of Home Depot):the mock up  After some research at Home Depot (and advice from a friendly stranger that cussed a lot) we decided to go the easier and cheaper route by snipping off the old, dirty part from the wall and extending it with a coupler to create the needed connection.  I don’t know too much about plumbing, but it seemed to me that we needed a 3/4″ PVC.  Off to Home Depot (trip #1).  We bought the necessary items (a piece of 3/4″ PVC pipe and a coupler, which totaled about $2).  Getting back to the house, we tried to dry fit things and it just didn’t work.  There aren’t too many options when it comes to PVC pipes.  Then we figured we needed 1″ PVC.  Back to Home Depot (trip #2).  We bought what we needed (costing around $2 again) and came back home.  Doing another dry fit, it was way too big!  What the crap!  There are no sizes in between 3/4″ and 1″!  So then we decided to cut off a piece of the pipe from the wall and bring it to Home Depot (trip #3).  Talking to the plumbing guy, he said that we needed CPVC pipe.CPVC  Apparently CPVC is rated to handle cold and hot water whereas PVC is rated only for cold.  We now determined we needed 1″ CPVC pipe. (side note:  Why aren’t measurements the same whether its PVC or CPVC?  PVC would work just fine since the water main brings in cold water, but we were forced to buy CPVC because the measurements didn’t line up!)  The kicker, they don’t sell it at Home Depot.  So then we make the trip to Lowes (trip #4).  They were out of stock.  Then we make the trip to another Lowes that’s a little further out (trip #5).  They’ve got what we need, but since it’s a better quality pipe, it cost way more ($14 to be exact).  That’s still cheap to do the fix, but when you know that regular PVC is a dollar, it sucks to pay $14.  Plus we only needed about 3 or 4 inches of pipe, but they only sold it at 10 foot lengths!the pipe!Regardless, we got what we needed.  We headed back to the house and finally got started on the actual fix.  First we dried up the existing pipes with a rag and massive triceps.dryingThen we cut things down to size and dry fitted all of the pieces.  After knowing that everything would fit properly, we primed each piece and put on the plumbing cement at each connection.  That stuff can get pretty sloppy.  I would advise using gloves.  Wall to coupler, coupler to extension, extension to 90 degree elbow. done!Earl held it together for about 15 to 30 seconds.  Then we let the cement cure for about 2 hours.  That means, do not turn on the water main until the cement cures.  After that time passed, Earl cut on the water main and it was as good as new!

I think the primer and cement was around $5.  At roughly around $25 (including the unnecessary pipes we bought), we were able to fix the problem.  That beats paying $80 (minimum) for a plumber to come out and do it, plus you learn something along the way!

2 Replies to “Earl’s Plumbing Problems”

  1. You make Earle a table and fix his pipes. You are a good friend!!


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