Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Plumbing Repair (Brrrrr... Burst Pipes)

It has been so incredibly cold here.

The top photo is what we stumbled upon.  This is burst in two places, the left white elbow (which leads through the fence and into a spigot) and the pipe in the center (painted black) leading up to a spigot.

In the bottom image, you can see what we did:

  1. Turned off the water at the street.
  2. Cut the damaged PVC off and measured to see if it was 1/2" or 3/4" pipe (it was 3/4").
  3. Tried to remove the PVC from the galvanized threaded connection on the bottom left.  We couldn't do this and had to wait until reinforcements came home from work.  We tried twisting and cracking the PVC and nothing worked.
  4. Made a shopping list and went to get the missing parts.
  5. For the black spigot, we used a coupling to connect the broken pipe onto new pipe.  Then we used an elbow onto a short piece of PVC onto a threaded connection onto a new hose bib (the old one was impossible to remove).  The unthreaded connections were sealed with blue PVC glue and the threaded connections with teflon tape.
  6. For the spigot through the fence, we cut a length of PVC to replace the broken PVC through the fence.  On the other side, we put a PVC threaded connection and a new hose bib.  On this side, we put an elbow and set the extra PVC and connector piece to be threaded into the galvanized piece once said reinforcements could get home from work and help get the old piece out of the galvanized part.

What was left to be done:

  1. Remove broken threaded PVC piece from galvanized piece on bottom left.
  2. Thread the new prepared piece into the metal piece using teflon tape.
  3. Blue glue the last connection together.
  4. Wait for glue to set.
  5. Optional: black paint the center spigot.
  6. Turn water back on (after glue sets).
  7. Assess and see how we did.
  8. Optional: wrap pipes in insulation of some sort.

This was really fun.  Especially after doing some PVC plumbing for the chicks the other day and needing to cap another line after it burst two days in a row (the first day we used a PVC cap and the second day we used a galvanized cap).  For this other cap issue, on the third day, the connection to the cap sprung a leak and we found a different shut-off valve.  This one still needs to be repaired.  A story for another day.

Regardless, the kids got really into this project and were really good helpers and really patient and interested.  That doesn't mean I won't be excited when the cold spell ends.
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