How Doing It Myself Saved Me $200

On Sunday mornings I like to plan out my week, draw up a “to do” list, check my bank statements and bills,  basically get things ready for the days ahead. Well, as I was brushing my teeth last Sunday all of that changed. I felt the warm rush of water on my feet and noted how good it felt. “Wait a second, why is warm water pouring onto my feet.” I opened the doors to my sink vanity and found that the drain pipe was leaking badly. What to do? I could call a plumber. It was the weekend and many charge off hour or emergency charges. This would be on top of his normal fee, either flat or hourly. 

I could have waited till Monday, but even then I was looking at a huge bill, probably around 200 bucks. I decided to try my hand at it. Since it was a drainage pipe and not and water pipe I knew their was little damage that I could do. If I screwed up I could still call the plumber and endure his mockery of my amateur efforts. With no real foreseeable down side I decided to go for it.

I noticed that the connection between two of the pipes, the “J” pipe and the one that connects tot he main were the spot of the leak. I took a trip to my local homedepot, explained the problem, and it was suggested that I needed a new washer. It set me back 2 bucks and I returned home. 

It all seemed too easy and of course it was. When I went to replace the washer one of the pipes began to crumble in my had. PipeI couldn’t see from the outside, but the entire pipe had been undermined by rust. I would have to replace it, or call a plumber. I decided to keep going. 

That night, after work, I began to remove the damaged pipe with tools I borrowed from my grandfather. I am going to be honest, it was not easy. I could not unscrew the collar that held the pipe to the wall, it wouldn’t budge and laying under the sink didn’t offer the best angle. I decided to disconnect the faucet and slide the vanity away from the wall. 

This allowed me a much better angle on the pipe. Even still the collar wouldn’t budge. I tried and tried and was only successful when I resorted to literally standing on the wrench. Victory? Not so fast, 60 years of being joined together fused the pipe  to the drain pipe. I had to break the pipe in half and pull the remnants out using a pair of needle nose pliers. 

After two hours of trying the pipe was out and the Bride and I were brushing our teeth in the kitchen. The next morning I went back to home depot and purchased a replacement pipe. After another two hours of adjusting and tightening and more tightening (that collar was almost as difficult to put back on as it was to take off). Still after two hard fought hours the sink was back to form.

Well, almost, it was draining that well now. Replacing the pipe kick dup a lot of junk inside there. I grabbed a plunger and went to work. Finally after another 5 minutes of plunging I heard a pop and all of the water went rushing down my newly repaired sink. Victory!

A day later and all is well. I have a sheet of paper towel under the sink and I check it from time to time, no leaks. The total cost of the project set me back about $15. I saved over a hundred bucks by buckling down and tackling the problem on my own and not only does it feel great, but I have earned the respect of the Bride. I got to be the hero of the day and it felt great. 

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