Our House

Terre Haute House Repair - Cellar (4)

The basement plumbing didn't turn out as well as I hoped or expected. I had explained very carefully to the plumber what I wanted but it still didn't turn out quite right. I have to admit it's a little tidier but it's not how I imagined that it would turn out.

The first thing they did was remove the old redundant gas plumbing. That went pretty well and a whole bunch of the old steel gas pipe was removed. As for the water plumbing, one thing I wanted done was the main water inlet into the house tidied.

Main Water Inlet New PEX water inlet

Original main water inlet and new PEX water inlet

The old water inlet came in and stand about 2 ft away from the wall before rising up and splitting off to an old unused faucet that is now under the side room extension that we now use as a library. The other offshoot goes across the ceiling to the water softener that I also wanted moved. This piping was replaced by a single PEX pipe that was attached near where the water inlet comes through the wall. I think I would have prefered it if the PEX ran up the wall and went into a right-angle before carrying across the joists.

The other thing I really wanted done was for the water softener moved from the first basement room over to the second. The water heater and firnace are both in thesecond room so we had pipes running bckwards and forwards through both rooms which I thought was an eyesore.

Water Softener

Culligan Mark 89 Water Softener and our less than lovely plumbing - 3rd August 2009

Space left by water softener

Space left by the moving of the water softener - 16th August 2009

I am so happy that the water softener and all the rubbish old plumbing got moved. A few years ago Patty's dad who lives in Decatur, Illinois gave us the Culligan Mark 89 when Decatur got a soft water supply from the city. Our old one really was old and the Culligan was a great improvement. What we didn't know was that the brine tank hada split in thebottom that I repaired with a two part liquid epoxy resin. When the plumber moved the brine tank the epoxy couldn't cope with the movement and so the split reopened. This was not the plumber's fault, it peobably would have happened whoever moved it.

I tried to repair it with epoxy again but it still leaked so we started looking around for a replacement. By coincidence, the site at Craigslist had one for sale $25, unfortunately it had gone when we phoned. The next call was to Culligan who wanted $130 for a reconditioned one. The third call was to the industrial supply company Gurman here in Terre Haute. They gace us a huge plastic water barrel for $10.

Water softener

The replacement brine tank

A couple of days later Gurman's had a sale so we went back up there and bought a barrel that more closely resembled the original brine tank in size - again for $10.

Water softener

The replacement, replacement brine tank

What the plumber did was replace the old plumbing with new PEX piping. This is great stuff but it meant yet another material to go with the steel, cast iron, plastic, copper and whatever else we've got water going through. PEX cannot go around tight corners but can be gracefully curved. I still think that the plumber could have made a better job of installing the PEX than he actually did.

PEX water pipe PEX pipework

PEX pipework

A maze of pipes A slightly tidier maze of pipes

A maze of pipes and a slightly tidier maze of pipes
3rd August and 16th August 2009

One of my longterm projects is now to replace and tidy up nearly all the plumbing myself. The tools to crimp PEX costs around $100 per set and I'm pretty sure that if I'm careful I can do a better job than this. The only reason I had to get a plumber in the first place was because I wasn't too sure how to join pipes of different materials together, now I think I'll just replace what I can and hire a plumber to make the more difficult connections.

The basement is mostly the full size of the original house but there are two areas that have smaller crawlspaces. One runs under an extension that was built years ago over the old driveway along the side of the house. Access is through one of the old basement windows which is around 5 feet above the basement floor which leads into the two feet high crawlspace which although small is fairly clean...

Entrance to side crawlspace

Entrance to the side crawlspace

The side crawlspace

The side crawlspace

The other crawlspace is under part of the kitchen and although three or four fet high in places was half choked with assorted rubbish that had to be removed. The entrance is, like the other crawlspace around 5 feet off the floor and no bigger than a fuse box - in fact it is right next to one of our fuse boxes...

Entrance to kitchen crawlspace

Entrance to kitchen crawlspace

Kitchen crawlspace Kitchen crawlspace

Some of the rubbish that had to be removed from the kitchen crawlspace

This page created 3rd August 2009, last modified 7th September 2009

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