Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh, the joys of home ownership

While I don't technically own my own home right now, my wonderful boyf, Paul, does. He owns this sweet little condo right at the cusp of downtown Seattle. He just passed the two year mark on the purchase, and on the whole, things have gone pretty well at the condo.

There have been the occassional issue, like the dishwasher overflowing the kitchen with soap suds (apparently you have to pre-wash the dishes and make sure there's no liquid soap left on any dish, because the dishwasher has an attitude problem), or like when we realized that the wiring for the lights and fans in the bathroom was not only messed up, but the jerks cut major corners by wiring the fan and heat lamp together, but accidently wired the fan to the regular lights (idiots).

So this past weekend I was in Bellingham helping my sister, Kate, with a wedding she had. We delivered all the beautiful flowers on Sunday morning/afternoon. As we got back into the car, I called Paul to check in, only to find out that there was some major plumbing leak under the kitchen sink.

Paul sent me some pictures/videos of the situation. Lucky for us, the leak only existed when you turned the sink on, and was coming from the drain pipe. It could have been MUCH worse, really.

So I drove back down to Seattle, checked it out, and sure enough we could tell the mess was coming from the drain (if the smell didn't give it away. GOD! talk about wrank)

This what Paul discovered when he went to take the trash out. The trash can was sopping wet, and stinky (he said "Babe, it's got to bad if even I think it stinks.")

Here's some of the nastyness coming down the wall, see that odd, rubbery looking white compound? Yeah, that's what the subcontrators called a "joint." I think they were smoking a joint when they put this together.

So basically, what happened is this: The subcontractor that did the kitchen build out cut some major corners. This is not even REMOTELY close to being up to code. The drain pipe coming out of the wall (concrete walls and floors) is metal. It's an 1.5" round. The drain coming out of the sink/disposal is made of PVC pipe. It's also 1.5" round. The metal pipe has threadings on it, and a metal nut at the end, which you would use to secure the drain pipe to the wall pipe, if you were using all metal. They butted the PVC pipe up against the wall drain pipe, and squished the rubber putty around the two pipes.

I swear, that's really what they did. The pipes are the same size, so it's not like one fits into the other one, creating a seal or anything. They just put the two pipes up against each other and covered it with some goo.

What really pissed me off is that after all was said and done, I fixed it for $6.43, two trips to Home Depot (where I met my new best friend, Larry, their plumbing expert), and 3 hours of diagnosis, labor and running around. That's all it took, and I know very little about plumbing (although clearly more than the clowns that did the job in the first place).

Of course, this was not exactly an entry level project, but I was not the least bit scared of ruining anything, afterall, their cockamamey set up lasted the last two years, so honestly I couldn't do worse!

Since I know how to measure and cut out the dry wall, shut off the water main, and employ common sense, I was good to go! I feel really accomplished, Paul is super relieved (and who wouldn't be? That's a huge bullet we dodged by catching it early and fixing it ourselves), and we're using the fan to dry out the soggy MDF and drywall back there (at least the portion we can see....but under the sub floor is concrete, so no worries of passing it on to the floor below us).

Here's a video of the final result:


  1. Hey Siir mom! Nice work on the plumbing! You seriously are a lady MacGyver!

    (Did you see the ikea shelf i put up by my lonesome on my stupid blog? It's nothing compared to your achievements but you got to start somewhere right?)

  2. Thanks mom. I feel like you and I have very similar blogs (Katie Did, the baluga baby, and other posts are all things we share), although I doubt other people would think so. (but honestly it's like reading a transcript of what I was looking at or thinking earlier in the day when I read you blog).