I was in the bathroom and heard water running. The laundry room is right above the bathroom and the washing machine was running so I didn't think much of it.
An hour or two later, I was in the bathroom and I still heard the water running but there was another load of laundry being done only thins time when I figured that it was the washing machine, I heard a voice ask, "Then how come you have never heard that before. You have been in the bathroom lots of time with the washing machine going."
And that is when I said, "Fuck."
I went to the basement, which wasn't too flooded but there was certainly water gushing from a place that it should have been gushing from.
I did a quick inventory of what I had in the house for fixing leaking water pipes, the pipe in question was a 3/4 inch copper pipe that for some reason was hooked up to an iron pipe. I worried that I didn't have any copper caps left but I knew that I had a value that would fit.
I shut the water off to the whole house.
While I was looking for the value, I found one last 3/4 inch cap, which I almost kissed.
With the water off, I got a better look at it and damned if I knew where that iron pipe went but it was full of corrosion. I cut the union off from the copper pipe and soldiered on the cap and then turned the water back on.
The cap held and the leak was fixed but then I heard a drip.
Drips after a leak are not uncommon because everything is still wet and wet stuff drips but then it dripped again, and this time I saw it. It dripped right from the middle of a corroding piece of copper pipe that I knew dripped from time to time but I just never fixed it because if I had fixed that one piece, I would have to fix a lot of other pieces that were also corroding or just no longer went anywhere or made so many junctions that it was just ridiculous.
I watched it drip again and decided that it could wait until the next day.
The next day, I looked through my plumbing supplies and I felt that I had enough copper pipe (about 30'), and copper t-joints & connectors and flux but that I needed some elbows and solder.
The area connects a bathroom which has five pipes leading into it and feeds the second floor & third floors and the front of the house where the kitchen and in-law apartment are located, so there are four sets of hot and cold lines and then another cold line for the toilet, all meeting under and around the main sewer line.
It took about six hours to get the cold water back on and then another two for the hot water. I wanted the cold water first so that the toilets could be flushed. And I put some shut off valves in locations that made sense so if anyone every has to work in that area again they can shut off just the section that needs work and not ninety percent of the house.
I was nine inches short on copper pipe, which I could have reused from a cut out piece but I went and bought new copper pipe just so everything would be new.
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