Monday, April 18, 2011

The Money Pit

Just over four months ago, I was blogging about a disaster that had been averted due to my daughter's good ears. Had she not caught the fact that water was gushing into my basement, my basement might have flooded or at a minimum, I would have ran through a thousand dollars of water on my next monthly bill. Three days later, the same thing happened again and that time I fixed it with copper and thought all my water leaking problems were behind me, at least until I had sold the place to someone else.

Then right before my trip to California, it happened again. By it, I mean I went into the basement utility room to find water spraying everywhere. I quickly found the leak in the fitting between my hot water heater's hot side and the house hot water supply line. After shutting off the water and disconnecting the joint, everything appeared in good order and the rubber gasket in the bottom had no obvious defects and had compression. I taped up the threads with Teflon tape, cinched it up tight and turned on the water again. No leaks.

My confidence it now blown though. Gone are the days when I feel like I can leave my house for a weekend and leave the main water valve open. Now, I am going to have to close it and turn off the hot water heater so in case a leak does occurs as it has now three times in the last four months, I won't flood my basement and won't burn up the water heater. Once again, having copper pipes with 100% soldered fittings seems like my only option when I build my house that will be fire, tornado, earthquake and hurricane proof as well as more efficient than any stick build house by a factor of three. It just doesn't make sense to have one like that which can flood from the inside.

7 comments:

Vince said...

I'd be worried that the entire house is shifting on it's foundations. Specially since you've had something of a Noah type of deluge last year.

R. Sherman said...

We had plumbing issues some years back and would up biting the bullet and spending on an upgrade. My peace of mind was/is worth it.

Cheers.

PhilippinesPhil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

I kill the power to well and hot water heater every time we are gone overnight. Water leaks and fire are my biggest anxiety-producers. It doesn't take much of either to ruin a lot of hard work.

Are you going to build a ferro-cement dome?

Ed said...

Ron - I don't think a monolithic dome home qualifies as a ferro-cement since most of the latter seem to be defined as less than an inch thick. A monolithic dome also doesn't have any mesh, only basalt rock rebar on close centers. The monolithic domes are closer to 3 to 4 inches thick which give them the thermal mass to make them so darn efficient, that and the continuous unbroken barrier of another 3 inches of closed cell polyurethane foam insulation on the outside of the concrete.

Jeff said...

how much earthquake shaking would it take to break open a copper pipe? Just asking--I still prefer copper and it sounds like you need to have less worries.

Ed said...

Jeff - Since a monolithic dome is essentially one piece and moves as one unit in an earthquake, any copper pipping within the shell should be intact. Piping outside the shell and thus outside the house are still subject to breaking but all the water is outside the house. Another advantage is should you have a pipe break inside the house and literally flood the house, you don't have the rot problems of a stick built house since all the interior is concrete. Sure you lose your floor and other water damageable furnishings just like a conventional house but with a monolithic dome, you could literally hose it out after all that is torn out and still have a structure just as safe and strong as the day it was built.