Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Shower leaking in Central Bathroom

The shower drips after it is turned off in the Central Bathroom.  History says this is just a sign that it needs new washers.

Unfortunately there are no shut-off valves for the showers, so we have to turn the water off for the whole house at the meter.  Having done that, we can proceed to take the faucets apart.

The Hot/Cold buttons just pry off.  Then there is a screw that holds the handles on.  Then a chrome extension that just slides off.  And the escutcheons screw off. Have to be careful not to scrap the chrome off.  Luckily we have a bathroom counter that we can lay the pieces out on as they come off.

Now there is a flange of some kind that screws off.  And then the handle itself.

At the end of the handle is a washer, held on by a screw.  This is what we want to replace.  We went to Home Depot and got 3/8L flat washers (11/16" O.D.).  The new ones do not seem as thick as the old one.  And we got some new #10-24 brass round head machine screws to replace the hot water screw.  It was thickly covered with sediment.  The cold water screw looked in pristine shape, so we reused it.

Then we applied silicon plumber's seal to the inner most threads on the handles, and plumber's grease on the outer ones (which hold the escutcheons), and reassembled everything in the reverse order of taking it apart.

The result is a shower that does not drip.  At least for now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Natural Gas Pipe in the Front Yard

The survey for the house shows a 5 foot easement along the West property line in the front yard. 

The survey says "5' UNDERGROUND ELECT. & TELE ESMT." but calling 811 to mark the utilities before digging shows there are no electrical or telephone lines in the front (they are in the back), and no water or cable.  But there is a gas line.  (And there is an electrical line in the neighbor's yard for the light pole.)

So we have carefully dug to try to avoid the gas line until we can find it and expose it.  The 811 markings showed more or less where it was.  Eventually, after months of digging, we have located it and exposed it.

It starts (so far) at the rock border near the house and runs towards the street.  Mostly it is near the surface, but not too near.  Near the house it is 12 inches under the ground and does not rise as fast as the ground level towards the street, so that it sinks to about 20 inches below the surface closer to the street.

As it gets closer to the street, it suddenly curves down and drops deep into the earth.

From about 24 inches below the surface, it drops to 60 inches below the surface.  There it meets a T-shape pipe which goes straight down just a bit into a much larger horizontal pipe.

At this point, the pipe is between 58 inches (the top of the little T) to 64 inches (the big pipe) deep.

At this point, where the pipes meet, they are 5 feet from the property line, just at the edge of the easement.  But they veer towards the yard, so that as it approaches the house it is 6.5 to 7 feet from the property line.  This is one reason it was hard to find -- it is not in the easement.

So part of our objective in this digging, in addition to taking out the rock and making it better dirt for growing lawns and trees, is to see if we can move the gas line back where it is supposed to be, and deeper.  If we could move the gas line to the bottom of the trench next to the dividing cement wall along the property line, it would be within the first foot of the easement, and 32 to 36 inches deep for its entire run in the front yard.  Discussions with the gas company suggest they are willing to do that, but they will need to run a new line (plastic) from the T (I assume) to the house.

Having dug the entire easement from the T to the rock border, we next need to dig out a trench for the new line from the rock border to the gas meter.  Unfortunately, this is right below the new River of Rocks, but having just put that in, we should be able to take it back out, and then put it back again, with two goals -- (1) expose where the current gas line is, and (2) create a trench for where the new gas line should be.  We will need to keep aware of (a) the irrigation lines, and (b) the French drain.  In fact, we want to see about creating a 4 inch PVC conduit for the gas line, to make it less likely that it will be dug up without warning.