House Journal – Plumbing Fun


Buying a house that is well into middle age is always a challenge. Appliances are old, electrics are often ancient, and not up to current code, and of course there is plumbing from the dark ages.

Not that in the mid 1960’s was bad for plumbing, but back then a lot of sketchy piping was imported from a rapidly industrializing Taiwan, and the early plastic piping and junctions often had polypropylene blended with paper (why?).

We of course had some that we knew about from the inspection. The main drain pipe under the house was at the end of its serviceable life (the Taiwan steel), and the sewer junction between the bathrooms was the polypropylene/paper junctions. Plus some small things (like plumbing the kitchen for gas). Total bid was $2100.

Of course, adding a cleanout to the main sewer line near the house allowed us to inspect the main 4″ sewer connection, and of course that was not good. After nearly 50 years, there was encroachment of tree roots into the main sewer line, that we should clean/replace, as well as adding a cleanout at the property line to the city for future maintenance issues.

The neighbor has had the Rotorooter people out a couple times to snake the main line, so we know that it is endemic to the neighborhood.

Add to that a failing water valve at the street, and crappy old steel piping of the main water to the house, which we should replace as well, and we added 3 days and $3750 to the total.


We have the money, and it is good to do it before we move in (imagine living without sewer or water for 3 days in the future), but it is an unexpected expense. What can you do?

Of course, none of this is in the disclosures, and even if they were, we would be stuck anyway.

Suck it up cupcake, and get it done.

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By geoffand

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March 2015

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