Holiday Hell

Nightmare. The word almost everyone has been using to describe this hot water situation. From my friends and coworkers, to the plumbing technicians, to the sales reps, to the contractors.

When the contractor came over to make holes in my ceiling, he brushed against a pipe that went to the hot water tank, and since it was almost rusted completely through, it snapped and started leaking. Water shoots out of the hole any time I turn the water on, so I’ve had to shut off the main valve. Now I have no water. I can’t wash my hands, I can’t go to the bathroom.

The exhaust pipe that goes to my furnace isn’t up to code anymore either, so even if I get all this work done on the house, my ceiling would have to be ripped up again when the furnace goes. And since mine is 12-years-old and rated for 15 years, it could die on me as soon as three years (or sooner). So I’ll be getting the furnace pipe replaced too, which essentially doubles my pipe installation costs.

In addition to moving as much furniture out of my room as possible into my guest room (thereby robbing me of my photo studio, Tai Chi practice area, bedroom, and main computer), I’ll have to cover the remaining things in sheets to protect them from the dust. When the piping is all replaced1, the contractor needs to come in and patch up the holes, scrape all the stipple off my ceiling, respray the stipple on, and repaint it. I don’t even have an estimate of how much that’s going to cost.

The house is my one area of stability. Where I retreat to when everything else is falling apart. The one place I need to be constant. I won’t feel settled until it’s all been resolved.

And to think that I was looking forward to the holidays. I was picturing myself enjoying my well-earned time off, eating bacon and eggs, playing a few games, and starting some new projects.

How far away the image seems now.

  1. And with luck, they won’t refuse to do the job because they don’t have enough clearance. []


  1. The last time I had a pipe leak, the wall had to be hacked open, and I had the contractor install an access panel instead of simply backfilling the wall. But it depends on the applicability in each case.

    Copper pipes usually last for 20 to 30 years. As long as the plumber has to come to do the piping anyway, repairing the supply pipe would just be minor add-on work. As you don’t need to buy any equipment such as an electric valve or something, the cost is mainly on the labour, and it can be estimated based on the plumber’s wage plus administrative cost.

    Hey, just think of it as a camping trip.

    • I could make an access panel in the bulkhead of my bathroom, but not the ceiling of my room. In either case though, I’m hoping I won’t have to change the pipes again until I move out, so I’m just going to get them to rebuild the drywall.

      Strangely enough, the labour wasn’t a part of the price; it was the material used for the piping, charged by the number of sections.

      For repairing all the holes and painting though, it’ll definitely be labour and materials cost.

      • You’ve proved me wrong. It’s common to charge by lengths for construction projects, that’s what they call the all-in rates which are built up from labour and material cost. For a small job like yours, people usually charge by a lumpsum. Imagine how they would charge if they come all the way to replace a metre of small rusty pipe— not by the number of sections, I bet. Well, it’s always good to get a breakdown of labour and material costs, just so that you know they’re not overly ripping you off.

        God, I’m just glad your water system is back to normal.

  2. Man that sucks. I hope your water is working now so you can at least use the toilet! Hope this isn’t too expensive. How long are you off work for? Merry Christmas from me and Steph!

    • Yep, I only had to resort to plastic bags once for the bathroom, which I suppose is a small victory in this circumstance. The ventilation replacement cost $750, but I don’t have an estimate of the ceiling repair yet.

      • Our kitchen ceiling is still torn out from our flood. Don’t know yet when it’s getting fixed…insurance is covering all the repairs though.

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