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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,758

    Default Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    But if I'd have known what shape my incoming water lines were in I wouldn't have bought 6 faulty bee boxes. NOT that it would have paid the plumbers estimate of $2200 to change my pipes.. (pier and beam house).

    For $100 in parts... and with the help of my great helper, I have water again. Running, and not running out soaking the ground and the bottom of my house.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    If you are a handy man/woman with friends who are pros who will tell you what the codes are and keep you from going wrong you are blessed!

    My old house has complete new wiring from the Elec. meter on and complete new piping from the water meter to the septic tank. It all meets code or better because I was blessed with two pro guys in my church who told me what to do and advised me from making mistakes that the inspector kill me for.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    PEX tubing is the way to go. You can repipe an entire house for $50.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,846

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    two things I recommend people do not do for themselves. at least not without help.
    1. gas lines. never under any circumstances do this for yourself not even if you have professional backup. if you have pros let them do it. I have a degree in building maintenance and will not work on gas lines.
    2. Electrical unless you have it inspected afterward.
    3. Plumbing I will encourage people to do themselves if they have back up and can afford the repairs if it goes wrong. It is one of the more complicated trades but if you change apples for apples you are pretty much sage. The problem is when people get to the hardware store and see some other pipe or fitting that is cheaper and start the "this will work" sort of thing. Plus they tend to buy the cheapest anyway which is parts that are nothing but a waste of money. There are lots of reasons it may not last as long as professional work. but a leak is a leak and as long as you checked carefully for them you are usually okay. Plus you would not know if what you are looking at means there are other problems. IN other words. why was your pluminb leaking in the first place? did you fix that?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,758

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    My galvanized pipes were 56 years old. The ones laying on the ground under my foundation had totally rusted out. They were the main supply line, the cold water pipe to the bathroom sink and its elbow, the cold water and hot water to the ktichen I replaced with same size pvc for cold water, cpvc for hot, for now.

    I did not replace the whole system because within 2 years, as tankless hot water gets more affordable, I intend to go with a 40 amp closet unit in the bath, and a 20 amp cupboard unit in the kitchen, and eliminate the hot water heater. At that time I will probably go pex. Pex is cheap, fittings and tools for it are not, and it caught me at my slow time of year and after investing a few hundred in bees that are now dead, with taxes due yesterday. I paid the taxes.

    The galvanized connected off to 1990's era copper that runs to and from the hot water heater in good condition, we bought sharkbite fittings to connect cpvc to it if needed, but I will be returning those, as the main piping junction was in good condition. We were able to thread up to the solid portions of the junction for tub, cold to the hot water heater copper, etc.

    There is no gas in my house, although there once was. I would LOVE to get rid of the gas pipes hanging under the house in our way. I'll insulate all the water pipes tonight.

    We also got a manual personal cut off uphill from the water meter. I'll be monitoring the meter, being sure it isn't spinning when all faucets are off, for the next day or 2. And if it starts spinning, the ball valve on it will make it MUCH easier to turn off the water. I have one more high waterbill coming, it was a virtual sprinkler along the pipes under the house.

    Fortunately I cut a roomy hatch in the back room I re-floored 5 years ago, so access is easy, And that hatch is right over the incoming water pipe. Downright civilized.

    Why would I do it myself? Plumber bid $2200 to do it for me. I figure I earned 800 a day the last 2 days, after all parts and generously paying my helper.

    I took a wiring class this spring, which does not make me an electrician, but I'm better than I was when I had a seriously shorting outlet and my electrician no-showed last year. I moved the fridge to another circuit, killed the affected circuit til I had time, mounted a box and installed an outlet. I did a better job than the one that came with the house.

    I have had enough trouble with bad contractors that want lots of money and do shoddy work, to get quite competent. It is easier than paying them, then having them come back and back (if they answer their phone) to fix things.

    I have zero intention of doing gas lines. My plumbing and foundation work would pass inspection, but I have zero intention of inviting the city to do one.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    Agree with Daniel,
    I ran all new gas lines as per their specs (run it here, attach it there, drill through here, etc.) and then had them come in and make all the connects.

    Never use cheap plumbing connectors! Water can do alot of damage before you find it.

    I live out of the country alot so I asked my two pros to steer me to the top of the line in everything. After 28 years zero problems!
    Old Guy in Alabama

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,758

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    As I just said on the feeder thread, everything is about profit.

    Good contractors in Texas work on quarter million dollar houses, and up. I live in a $60K house, not fancy, shallow attic, crawlspace maybe 18 inches, and it isn't going to be a $20K job for anything. I tried to have a pro re-wire my house a couple of years ago. 2 Electricians drove by and looked and kept on going. The 3rd one explained to me by phone why my old 2-wire wiring was safe, and what to look for that might make it unsafe. This is why I took an electrical class. I need to know why, how, and I'm keeping it safe myself.

    And then there are the guys that won't work for an unmarried woman. I got an a/c bid for an outside unit that didn't give me eqpt name or anything, and the local company owner in his 60's virtually ran out of here. I had to call his office to find out the outside unit was a Goodman. Then I called my lennox dealer in Arlington, and bought a unit from him. He has been selling me a/c since 1995.

    Anyone that WILL work on a house this size usually isn't licensed, and I'm still waiting for the one that reframed the fish room windows in 2007 to show back up with that piece of glass he replaced with a cracked piece of plexiglass... after he broke all the panes being careless. I'll be going to a double-paned window back there soon. I winterproofed it with opaque white plastic floor sheathing last winter after I found the source of the draft. And my helper and I will install that double-paned window.

    So if I seem a bit distrustful, well that's it. And on city inspectors - I've got so many half-finished projects in here I don't want one in the door. Maybe when I'm done. The city would give me a credit on my waterbill for paying a plumber, but might generate an inspection. Given the state of my electrical makeover, I do not want them in the door. (no live wires hanging loose, just outlets whose wires don't connect to the box... Lots of them.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    I am with you Gypsi! My Dad taught me enough where I am comfortable doing anything around the house. What I dont know, I can find out online. I wouldnt invite any type Enforcement...(building/code/law) ... into my house! Period. Even if I didnt have 10 unfinished projects visible.
    As far as Contractors, mabey it is a geographical thing. They dont have the greatest reputation in my parts!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,846

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    Gypsi, The world is full of people that would not get dirty regardless of what it meant. I make money from them. Then there are those like you that want it fixed and want to know it was done right. I have helped plenty do so and never made a dime. I don't need to. I have more work than I can ever get to the way it is.

    You paid your TAXES! That is downright un american isn't it?

    Seriously and the real reason I replied again. Notify your water company that you had leaking pipes. many companies will reduce the bill.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,843

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    I have wired and plumbed my houses after reading books and getting inspected and having to re do it. I do it for the same reason I work on my vehicles, dryers, washers and so on. I seldom do as bad as some of the hamb handed chooms I have hired and I work much cheaper. After paying a union thug licensed plumber/gas fitter several hundred dollars to put in that last eight inch section of gas pipe, I started thinking I was smart enough to with due dilligence do that myself too. Life is full of choices if you take responsibiltiy for them. Now some things I am not competent to do. I know it and I leave them alone! As Clint said: "A man just has to know his limitations"!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    two things I recommend people do not do for themselves.
    Make that three, Surgery
    Honeydew

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,758

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    And a woman has to know her limitations - thank you everyone. It's good to know that "ham-handed goons" are not limited to Texas. I bought books on housebuilding and every aspect of repairs and contracting except electrical when I bought my house. Paid $2 a piece at a garage sale for books that had to sell for over $100 each, and I use the internet, and I look at things, ask at Home Depot. I'd have taken a plumbing course at a community college if they offered one. The pipefitters union wouldn't let me take their class 3 years ago, even if I joined the union, no one would have wanted me for an apprentice... So I just learn all I can, Hire what I must but make sure I know what they are supposed to be doing, and since I CARE whether it is right, I've done ok somehow. Grounded my electrical box to an 8 foot grounding rod before the plumber even got here for the bid. It was wired to my faucet. Actually it still is, I clamped the 4 awg bare copper ground wire to the existing ground wire, and buried a couple of loops of surplus, so when the outside box is changed (an an electrician WILL do that), the new ground can go in the new box, meantime, it's backup...

    Can't have too much ground!

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Harsens Island , Mi , USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    Boys ..you all can ask me questions about pipe , id be happy to save you some coin . Its 23 yrs after i got out of the navy...Detroit steamfitter . Please bear in mind every job has its risks ,,your house blowing up with gas . Soaping all connections kinda helps out . Plumbing is gravity fed .Gypsi ..the steamfitters out of the D are taking apprentices ...I am proud to say we have the best trade school in the nation ...if you can pass the math your in .The woman thing has no bearing ..Its ppl that can work effectivley that we seek . Comming into town under a white ticket might be a wise choice. Im not sure but it looks like the bail out will bring a bunch of coin back to Mi plants . Ive already seen it to be so ,

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,758

    Default Re: Can't quite call myself a plumber....

    Thank you for the invite Seal, but I think I'll stay in Texas. What I remember about Michigan is that it's really really cold, from September to April or May. No gas in my house, just water. The pipes aren't leaking according to my trusty water meter. PVC, threaded or glued, is wonderful stuff. And CPVC for hot water.

    PEX is the new hot thing, but I won't be doing the big plumbing overhaul for a couple of years, so pvc and cpvc worked fine. I may have to learn to solder copper if I build a solar hot water heater... Saw some plans online, looks kind of interesting.

    Happy Veterans Day btw
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

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