House Journal – Failed Project

House Journal – Failed Projects

Yesterday started innocuously enough, a trip to Lowes to get a few items we needed, and to pick up an under-sink water filter. There was a filter when we moved in, an old GE unit, that was so old, that filters were no longer made, and old enough that I couldn’t find cross referenced replacements. Perfect time to upgrade to a reverse osmosis system.

A little more challenging to install than a simple cartridge filtration system, a reverse osmosis system will have a solvent stream (drinking water), and a solute stream (the stuff you remove) that will need to be handled (disposed of). This requires a connection to the drain, and therein lies the cause of my failure yesterday.

As I mentioned, there was a filtration system that was so old, filters were not readily available. It was probably installed when the last owners remodeled their kitchen, 20 years ago. So it is safe to assume that the sink and the plumbing is 20+ years old.

Step 1 in the installation was to insert the waste drain in the sink drain. Unfortunately, the P-trap holding nut was corroded solid. So, after removing the old filtration system, I was stymied at step one.

Foiled by a plumbing challenge.

Many years ago, I would have made multiple trips to Lowes, bought tools, cursed, banged my knuckles, and finally gotten it done. But in my old age (almost 50), I have learned that it is far better to pay the man (a plumber or handyman) and avoid the frustration.

Things I used to do myself but now just pay for:

  • Plumbing – except for minor things, it is far cheaper (in time and money) to just pay a pro.
  • Electrical work – I will still replace a socket, or a switch, but anything that requires conduit, romex, or cutting a hole in drywall? Pay the man.

I will still do most appliance repair though.

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.