Your Worst Plumbing Nightmare

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Aloha Mark

Active Member
Mar 9, 2020
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Honolulu, HI
I joined this forum because it has some fairly knowledgeable people, DIY and pro. My first house was built in the 1950's, with copper tubing for water supply and iron/steel for waste. It was on the east coast. This was the start of a series of nightmares that continue to this day, as we changed houses several times. In the original house, my worst experience was losing water in the depths of winter. No, the water pump did not go out. The water main FROZE. Over the years part of the driveway sunk, and reduced the distance between the tubing and the top of the driveway. This was not revealed to me by the previous owner. Maybe, he forgot. Anyway, this problem was solved by a plumber with a mobile arc welder supply and several hundred feet of cable. The tubing was heated over time by the electrical current. After the line unfroze, we had to run water through it for the rest of the winter. Total waste of water, but people have to live.

Yet, more and worse experiences were to come. First, we all know that leaks are a bear to trace. I saw one at the edge of the garage (inside wall). Initially, I thought it was due to an irrigation pipe running underneath the slab. An irrigation specialist had already cracked the outside concrete to repair a break in an elbow. Long story short- it was not due to an irrigation line. The evil problem was due to a water filter under the Kitchenaid refrigerator. The leak was small, but penetrated the wood flooring and snuck its way to the garage, through another set of flooring. We shut off the main, and wham, another filter failed under a center island sink. This double whammy cost nearly $25K to fix, as wood and wall-to-wall carpeting had to be replaced. This was the first time I encountered a moisture damage team and its bank of electric drying equipment. Moral of the story- do not trust water filters hidden in obscure places. Next house, we made sure the refrigerator water filter was inside the fridge. Bless you, GE.