Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Redneck Engineering

This is my water heater.  It is original to the mobile home and as such is about 16 years old.  About a year ago for some unknown reason that copper piping started leaking where it joins the plastic at both ends.  This is the hot water pipe.  I got some Water Weld clay stuff and smooshed it on as I could not afford a plumber at around $85 an hour.  There's a metal lid as a catch basin on top, that leak will sometimes go for days without a drop coming out.  The leak at the lower end was not bad and the Water Weld slowed it enough that a small catch pan on the floor worked as it evaporated before it got full.
About 3 weeks ago I found my floor was wet around the edge.  The leak had gotten worse and the catch basin was overflowing.  It's gotten worse still this week.  I added more Water Weld but it did not seem to do much good.
Last night I added this, a plastic peanut butter jar with a wire hanger.  The green thread is braided yarn so the water will flow down it and not keep me awake with the drip drip drip.  However the jar was full this morning after only 8 hours.  I emptied it and with the catch basin on the floor to help the overflow it made it through the day until I could get home from work.  
I came up with a plan to remedy the overflow problem, I stopped at the pet store and bought a short length of clear air tubing for a fish tank.  Then drilled a hole in the side of the jar and using silicone glue I sealed the tube in place.  I tested it at the sink and it works great.
So now the tube goes down to the large bucket on the floor.  No more wet floor!  You can see the rag on the floor here with the small catch basin.  Please excuse the messy looking flooring in there, there's virtually no way to get in there to sweep or clean and normally there is a wall panel covering it.  You can see that to the right, in front of the mini-blind the cat tore up.  No need to worry about the mini-blind, I will be making shutters for this window as I did for the other one, just haven't got there yet.
The water is not wasted as I use it to flush the toilet when I have enough.  I know the problem is not solved yet, but I feel like I probably need a new water heater and so would rather get it all done at once rather than wasting money on just fixing the leak when my solution seems to work ok so far.  Not pretty but it functions and no one sees it but me as it's in my bedroom.  It should buy me a little more time till I can afford the plumber or handy man and the water heater.

So what kind of redneck engineering projects have you done?


Oldfool said...

It is not going to fix itself.
If you are handy enough to do the farm fix then you can change the copper pipe.

Turn off the water. remove the pipe, take it to the hardware store to get a replacement.If you don't have a wrench then buy one. it appears that an adjustable spanner will get to it but I don't know about the other end as it does not show in the pic.

If the fitting on the tank crumbles then then it is your lucky day as it was going to anyway and probably in the middle of the night when the water pressure is highest or while you are at work. If that seem like too much trouble then just imagine a couple of hundred gallons of water on the floor.

If it crumbles in front of you eyes while taking it off then it is used up and at least it will be happening while the water is off. You will turn the water off won't you? The reason I ask is I have seen oh so many that try to work on their water system without doing so and then relieve the pressure by opening a faucet. I laugh but only to keep from crying as I get no pleasure from seeing those kinds of mistakes.

I can guarantee you that it didn't get any better while reading this.

ladyhawthorne said...

Definitely I know I have to shut the water off. Thanks for the instructions, I may just try it! I like doing things myself.

Deborah McLaughlin said...

My entire house was engineered that way, I think. The more "improvements" we try to make, the more we discovered. When removing some of that old 1970's fake paneling in the hallway, the contractor discovered an electrical outlet that was HOT - and no covers on the wires. I'm just glad he didn't get electrocuted. Now we're working on the upstairs bathroom and discovered the plumbing is all wrong. I imagine the builder knew somebody in the code office to get this place to pass inspection.

ladyhawthorne said...

Sounds like my old apartment !

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