Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Continued OT!

The new water heater is in. However there is no hot water to speak of.

There is some floor damage to be considered; buckling oak flooring is crying out to be replaced, but once we start that process in the hall, we'd probably want to continue through the rest of the house, which means, of course, over-ending everything, and essentially moving out for who knows how long? In which case, hmmm...

Meanwhile, the absence of any hot water flow is due, as suspected, to the corrosion of the galvanized pipes that were put in when the house was built. When the water heater was changed out, the corrosion which had been kept from completely closing the pipes -- so that there was a minimal but serviceable flow before -- apparently felt free to constrict any future flow to the barest trickle.

So the plumber said, "We can replace your pipes for $10,000." Sticker shock. Doesn't he know house values have fallen by 30%?!! Is he mad?!! But checking around, that's the going rate for repiping one of the houses in this neighborhood, hasn't changed much for years. Most of the houses have already been done, this being one of the few remaining holdouts. It takes two days, the lath and plaster walls have to be opened up, much banging and carrying on trying to winch out the old piping, and then trying to fix all the holes and other damage, and hoping nothing leaks. Oh yes, they did it to the house next door a few months ago getting it ready for sale. It was a trial for the guys who did it. They had to come back several times to re-fix some of the fixes. As it was, the house sold for $40,000 less than the original asking price, in only six months, which the realtor thought was good, given the down market and all.

What to do?

Well, for now we boil water on the stove and contemplate our increasingly restricted options.


  1. Oof. I feel yer pain. Having gone through basement waterproofing that led to replacement of walls and pipes down there, I know what happens when you find your bank account suddenly open to the winds.

    Have not had to replace the galvanized pipes that run to the upstairs, thank gawd, although at 80 years old, it's hard to know how long the house will wait.

  2. oh oy, I feel yer pain, too, Ché! Exactly. Except termites, not a busted water heater, were the driving force for a complete basement remodel. Originally I had just been planning on installation of an egress window in the downstairs bedroom, and redoing the bathroom down there that had a few "problems." Turns out the problems in the bathroom were termites, eating up the floor and the base of the walls. Soon, the project spread to replacing all the windows, because they all had rotten frames. And then I had to redo all the floors because the exterminating process includes drilling holes every two feet along all the walls. And since the walls and ceilings had to be peeled down to the lath, well, jeez, might as well replace all that old corroded galvanized shit (house and plumbing and electrical were all built in 1945-46 and not EVER updated, just patched).

    Every time the plumber looked at any of the exposed plumbing he'd go into conniptions. "Whoever put that in should be shot. He didn't know what the hell he was doing!" There were some bizarre joints and turns and plastic on galvanized on cast iron. Even concrete pipe.... "If you'd had a stopped up sink or shower, there would have been no way any of that could have been snaked."

    So now I have all new copper piping and it is so beautiful. I told the general contractor I didn't want it covered up. "Shame to pay all that and then not see it," I said. It's shiny! Alas, now most of it is hidden behind walls and ceilings, but I photographed the hell out of it.

    Money pit, all right. I keep telling myself, yes, I am doing the right thing. All this is only good. Well, it is hard to ignore termites, so what else are you gonna do?

  3. It's not easy living on this planet.

    Well, since everyone else said "I feel your pain", I won't go there...BUT I FEEL YOUR PAIN. !!!

    My house was built in 1960, and is sitting over a coal mine. When things began to shift, we lost our beautiful, heated in-ground swimming pool. It collapsed. The walls of our foundation buckled. To add salt to the wound, the water heater died, and we found out that the building codes (like you did) had changed. Chi-Ching! Chi-Ching! What an expensive, stressful year. Very educational as well.

    Tell yourself that you will prevail, you will persevere. You will come through this and have hot water.

    Asta told me about your blog site. I love it! So very insightful! Intelligent! Human! Real!

    Wishing you well, hoping all works out for you,

    Gang of One (still alive, still pissed off at just about everything)

    p.s. the word verification for me below looks like "Argh". How appropriate.

  4. Ouch! Damn. Gotta hate it when that happens. IF there is a silver lining (big FAT if), maybe the contractors, sub and/or plumbers don't have a boatload of new construction going on so you won't have these multi-day delays as they work you in amongst a lot of other project. Our baseboard heat - which was still connected and functioning - got left out uncovered in a snow storm when we took out a wall to expand a room. Sweet, huh. Took the contractors a week before they could get back to us after they tore out the wall.

    Hang it. The only truism is, it will get worse as you get into it. Sorry :-(

  5. Thanks all for your kind thoughts. Looks like you all have faced as bad or worse than the situation at Casa Ché.

    Basement? What's a basement??? This is California! ;-) We don't know from basements! The Flood was all on the ground floor. And we're finding more damage as we probe around.

    Just how much domestic upheaval there will ultimately be is still subject to consideration, discussion, and debate. But we're steeling ourselves for something pretty major.

    And yes, it looks like whatever is going to happen can get underway as soon as we're ready. Lots of people eager for work. Bless that Bush Economy!

    Thanks again for your good wishes. Posting will continue here, but it will be sporadic till things settle down.