Call me Miz fixxit

Last May, I had a plumber in to repair a pinhole leak in my copper piping. The water in Storm Lake is acidic in a way that eats into the copper pipes and eventually I’ll have to have all the copper piping replaced. Luckily, only a portion of piping in my basement is copper so the cost won’t be horrible, only mildly awful. But I’d like to put it off for at least a year in order to build up some savings. Oh, the plumber visit to fix the leak was $60.

So when I found a leak a couple of weeks ago, shooting water onto the basement ceiling, I was a bit chagrined. Not only did it mean that my copper pipes might be entering their last days but, more immediately, $60 is money I don’t have to spare right now. So I very cleverly (if I do say so myself) ripped a strip of fabric out of a cotton dishtowel and tied it around the pipe so that it would absorb the water and drip down into a pan instead of soaking my sub-floor. The next weekend, I examined the fix the plumber did on the other leak, thought “I could do that,” hopped on the internet and did some research, and went down to ACE Hardware. There, I spent $3 on 3 assorted-sized pipe clamps and $6 on a package of 2 sheets of gasket rubber (which is enough rubber to fix about 3 dozen leaks). Then I came home and pulled out my dad’s toolbox and went to work. Here’s what I learned in the process of fixing the leak:

1) It was really two separate leaks;

2) The online advice I was following said to shut off the water and drain the pipes by running the sink, but then I couldn’t find the leaks — “pinhole” is an apt description.

3) Tightening gaskets over your head when the water is on (so you can find the leak) will result in a steady stream of water running down your arm and soaking the underarm of your shirt.

4) Tightening a screw as tight as is physically possible over your head with wimpy college-professor arms is difficult and it hurts.

4) If the plumber would do the job for, say, $30, I’d cheerfully have him do it.

But at last I prevailed and a visit downstairs this morning confirms that all is dry. And here’s a pic of my handiwork:


Today, I get to clean the gutters (another chore I’d happily pay for if I could afford it, as I’m really, really uncomfortable on ladders), rake leaves, groom assorted dogs, and, finally, grade a few papers. Luckily, it’s sunny outside and I lazed around yesterday and I’m feeling pretty Miz Fixxit-y.


4 responses »

  1. Yes, plumbing is one of the miseries of home ownership. Someone once said “No country is more than 3 meals from a revolution” — I think we can now say “No home is more than 3 days away from a revolution if the plumbing is not working”.

    Two leaks in a few weeks …. I hate to be a buzz-kill but start saving your pennies sis. And I would recommend turning your water off if you are going to be gone for a couple of days or longer. To date, we’ve spent $4K just to get our drain system rebuilt. I see another $2k on the supply system. Things like this are what emergency credit cards are for.

    Joy and Bliss

  2. So proud of you. Sniff.

    Your method seems much easier than mine: giving Leroy a specific time period to get something like this taken care of (can range from 30 min. to 30 days, depending), at then end of which time period I am free to call any professionals I wish and schedule them to take care of it, no estimates or shopping around required.
    Of course, this method entails repeated reminders to Leroy (and occasional snarling) as the time period wears on.

    Ah, joy. Ah, bliss.

  3. You really know how to have fun! If this happens again in the near future, try marking the spot with a crayon before turning the water off. It might work. Now, if you were REALLY Miz Fixxit, you’d go ahead and replace all that pipe……..

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