When you’re not traveling the world, you have to tend to things at home. Some people have a house cleaner that comes in periodically. Some negotiate with their roommates that they’ll clean the whole house for X amount off rent per month because they like it done a certain way. I don’t have a house cleaner nor a handyman in my back pocket. As a homeowner, I have fixed majority of the small things needed in my condo. I painted my guest room entirely, replaced breakers, fixed my garbage disposal, repaired my broken pull switch on my ceiling fan, I’ve attempted to fix my dryer and now I have changed my first set of pipes. It just has to get done. Homeowners will know the home is a constant work in progress.
That did not feel like the hot salt water pools in Tauranga, New Zealand. I stepped into a puddle in my kitchen. It reminded me of my former tenant costing me $12,000 when he left the water running in a plugged up sink. I was traveling in Mendocino, California with a Bride and Groom and Bevo when I received a call from my home owner’s association rep. “Water seems to be coming from the ceiling on the bottom floor unit.” I live on the top, third floor. Lack of insurance by my tenant made it my responsibility. Now I know better. I also know to save costs and do work on the house projects myself.
This time, I found one hole in a pipe. It was the size of the tip of my middle finger. With the flexibility of work, I was able to work from home and stay in the East Bay and work on this problem.
I didn’t have a wrench. I had to wait til my local tool shop opened at 9 am and grab what I needed to take the pipe off and bring to a hardware store. I charged $25 for the wrench and headed back home. Pipe was removed.
A replacement pipe in stock was longer than what I needed. “Do you have a saw?” I laughed. The gentleman in a red Ace Hardware vest and jeans picked out an $8 saw for me and escorted me to the cashier and wished me luck. The girl behind the counter asked me if I wanted it cut the pipe to the size I needed! Yes! The saw went back to the rack. The pipe was lined up with my broken silver piece and my replacement was ready. Another $25.
It was an easy fix. I placed the new pipe in place and tightened the nuts. The soaked towel remained under the system and I turned on the water. All was good. Just to test it, I moved the facet head to the sink on the right. Water was still leaking! I inspected the other pipes and the section just above the U-shaped pipe and what was attached to the garbage disposal had two holes! How did we not see this? Well, we had a lot of household cleaners in the way of actually seeing the cabinet floor. I removed this piece, saw that the washers were basically gone, put my shoes back on and headed back to Ace.
“Yes, Sir. I found another one,” raising pipe #2 in my hand. I quickly found what I needed with the help of the same gal that helped me before. I also stocked up on 1.5″ washers because I might as well replace them all! Spent another $45. Drive back home. This was taking longer than expected and I was starting to get impatient.
I made it home, replaced the piece and did my best to align the pieces. Tighten the top, then the bottom, then the side a little bit each time to make sure it was even. It took several tries to get them snug. Just when I think I did, I do the water test and it’s still leaking! Gah! The newest piece was actually two pieces, unlike the original. As I turned right, it was loosing the attachment. I had to undo all the joints and tighten this piece. Then re-align. Tighten. Run water. Still leaks. Undo. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I eventually got it done and no leak. Finally! The towels were soaked. Wet carton boxes containing products were recycled and organized back underneath the sink. I was so over it. This One Busy Bee had other work to do.
The whole project costed around $100, 2.5 hours of time and a bit of frustration and multiple scratches on my hands. It was worth it. Plus, I gained a new skill. If you can do it yourself, great. If you don’t know if you can, at least try. You might surprise yourself. And at least on your next travels, your kitchen sink pipes won’t need attention and you can enjoy yourself.