Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Stay away from the Country Wheat, it will clog your pipes


Running the plumbing for the new master bathroom hasn't been without its adventures. The shower was installed early on, and just by chance my dad noticed one fairly significant flaw. It turns out that the trap (the J-shaped pipe that comes out of the shower drain) was installed such that it extended about 5/8" below the ceiling joists of the floor below. While that would have made it handy to hang a chandelier over the kitchen table, it certainly wouldn't look right to have a pipe sticking out of our kitchen ceiling. So that's getting redone tomorrow.

Then, there's the problem of the wheat bread.

Fred the Plumber, who installed the new water pipes to the bathroom, at one point asked my wife for a slice of bread. Not being one to inquire on the dietary habits of plumbers, she never asked why the bread was needed, I guess she just assumed he was hungry for a snack. Well it turns out that the bread was used for an old plumber's trick. When attaching (sweating) new copper pipe to an existing water line, you need to ensure that all water is out of the old pipe. Hitting the pipe with a blow torch flame will draw water towards the seam you are trying to make, making it impossible to weld the two pieces together.. That's where the bread comes in. Stuff some bread into the pipe, and the bread will soak up any moisture. Once the seal is made, the bread just washes away with the water. At least in theory.

The problem is that my wife gave him a piece of Country Wheat, the kind with those individual grains that get stuck in your molars. turns out they also get stuck in the pipes. Or in our case, the kitchen faucet. Fred cleaned it out twice now, and we've still got no hot water to the kitchen sink. He's fixing that tomorrow too. Next time, Fred, bring your own loaf of Wonder.

So as of today, we've got our first windows installed. Quite a view. We hope to have the remaining walls completed by tomorrow or so. Now we get to the real juicy stuff, like choosing a color for siding. Man, I can't wait to ditch that baby blue crap.

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