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.