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DIY plumbing win!

Just completed my biggest ever plumbing project, in that it's the first time I ever had to cut into the main water supply, which was a little nerve-wracking.

The goal was to add an outdoor faucet for the back yard. I've been complaining since we first moved into this has that while it for some reason has a faucet in the front of the house, it didn't have one in the back where it would be more useful. I guess the front faucet is somewhat useful for car washing. In fact, the only person who ever uses it is the old toothless guy with the horrible stutter who washes everyone's car on the street.

For the most part it was a pretty simple task. I found some old copper pipes that were sticking out the back of the house but wasn't connected to anything. They looked like they might have been for an old AC unit. So I was able to just pull them out and was left with a perfectly good hole to work with not too far from the main supply.

One small added complication was that the hole came out under the deck, which is rather inconvenient. So I also had to add some pipes from the faucet to the end of the deck, and cap it off with a secondary faucet.

Everything pretty much worked out except for three big mistakes, which were at least learning experiences. The first one was that I didn't realize all the pipes in the house were CPVC. CPVC is a special kind of PVC that's insulated for carrying hot water. Its diameter is just slightly smaller than normal PVC of the same inner diameter. This prevents you from accidentally mismatching them, which makes sense.

It turns out my house uses CPVC for cold water as well. But I didn't notice this until I had already shut off the main supply and cut out a section of the pipe. The only way to easily tell the difference between CPVC and normal PVC is that it has a light beige color. But in the dimness of my basement it was almost impossible to tell that the pipe was actually beige, and not just a bit dusty. So with the water still shut off I had to run back to home despot to get a CPVC to PVC adapter.

The second mistake was that even though I had shut off the main supply and let the excess drain from the kitchen sink, I still got a good spray in the face when I first cut into the pipe. Maybe this would be obvious to anyone else, but it wasn't to me: I also had to shut off the supply to the hot water heater--its reservoir was supplying a small but not inconsequential amount of pressure to the system.

Third: I just plain forgot to cement one of the joints before I turned the water back on. I had put it on for a test fitting and somehow just never remembered to do that one properly. Amazingly, it still held for a few minutes. But eventually there was a violent pop and water spraying everywhere. The best thing about that was that the cat was right under it when it happened =D Hopefully it scared him enough to go anywhere near the basement again. Fortunately this happened right near the sump pit, so I was able to mop all the spilled water into it. It didn't cause any damage. I was quickly able to get the water shut off again, get everything dried off, and redo the joint properly.

The only problem I have so far is a slight dripping leak between the outside faucet and the secondary faucet. I have the supply to the faucet shut off for now, so I can fix it later. Other than that, I'll just be living with a slight paranoia that one of the joints will burst again at any moment. They do seem pretty solid though, and I did everything by the book. So it should be OK. Now I will be able to water my garden without having to run in to fill my watering can several times.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 13th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
After shutting off the supply, always relieve pressure and any remaining fluid from all the faucets...

Big stuff like this I usually leave to professional.
Jun. 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
It seemed easy enough. And for the most part it was. If I had to do it again it would go more smoothly since I learned a few things.

Though I don't think I'd have tried it myself if there hadn't already been a proper-sized hole in the wall. I just don't have the necessary tools to make a sizeable hole in a brick wall.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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