Got a call back today from the underground pipe locater guy and spoke to him about my issue. He said that in order to find that plastic pipe underground, he would need to be able to send either water (preferable) or air (less preferable) though the line in order to detect it. But since one end is open, and under the house, that would have to either get capped or have a hose bib installed on it so we can do what we need to do. That would be the first order of business. And, he said his rate is $125 per hour, with a two hour minimum.
The idea of spending time under the house to get that galvanized end cleaned up and either capped or a valve installed, the idea of getting a bit of help with it crossed my mind. I looked to craigslist under the skilled labor section for plumbing. Called one outfit that seemed reputable, but they wanted $26 just for showing up to look and estimate. Found another guy who is not a licensed contractor but has worked in the trade for a while, and who calls himself semi-retired.
He came by and I took him around, sharing my issue with him. We talked for a good 45 minutes and finally concluded that capping that end under the house is risky since you cannot guarantee a permanent, leak free seal. If it were ever to leak, you would not notice it for years, perhaps. Best thing, still, is to keep the water from coming back under the house.
That left one of two main options. I could either keep digging, looking for that line, or I could abandon it, and run a new pipe along the fence back out to the yard and garden. The latter idea started to gain traction in my mind. The new line wouldn't need to be buried that deep at all, and painted black, it could handle any UV rays pretty easily. This would mean no more fruitless digging, and completely and absolutely bypassing the house.
This now appears to be my way out. It's more work, but at least the work that goes into it will be positive, every ounce toward the goal. Quick look at the family calendar for this weekend shows that I have all weekend. Maybe it will get done, once and for all and I can start my spring planting!
Saturday was busy with some family obligations, at the park with the sky threatening rain and finally delivering which caused all the parents, new and veteran alike, fleeing to the shelter of their minivans. It rained pretty much all Saturday night, but it turned out to be not too soaking wet outside the next morning. That morning was clear but with a cold wind.
Got ready to tackle this project and do something with the holes in the back yard, against the house and patio. But though I had racked my brain all week, even calling one contractor but never receiving a call back, I had nothing. I took a drive with Penny to the rental yard and talked to them, describing my issue, but they didn't have much for me. Got home and we had the idea to call our neighbors, who had a fried who's a plumber.
Got the name of a guy that does underground pipe and leak detection, but it was Sunday; I'll call Monday morning.
Nothing really got done, but I did have a lead, which is the right direction: Forward.
Yesterday was another day getting close and personal with the pick and shovel. If you haven't seen it, don't miss my earlier post about the irrigation plumbing work that was long overdue, and somewhat tragically wasn't able to get done.
I thought I had a good idea of where that line might be, I mean, c'mon, it has be be right around this area somewhere!
The strategy was to sink a couple of holes where I thought the line might be, and then trench around in each direction a bit until I hit the line. Once I located it, I could cut it cleanly and glue a cap onto it.
After digging down anywhere from 16 to 20 inches (41 to 50 cm), making a trench that was getting way too long, and spending a good few hours on a serious upper body workout, I never stumbled across it. Finally, it was getting later in the afternoon, I didn't want to get too overworked on this Sunday before going back to work tomorrow, so I forced myself to stop. Part of the decision to stop was from frustration. And despair. I felt I could keep going and going, and never hit it. And if I never came across it, there would always be a question in my mind, Did I go down far enough?
Decision was made to leave the trenches and holes open and call around a bit to see if there's a tool at a rental house that might help in locating that plastic pipe. Or perhaps I could call a plumber or contractor and get some advice. Or perhaps if I let the problem bounce around my subconscious for a few days, a fabulous idea may pop up.
Here's hoping that great idea finds its way into my head within the next couple of days!
Just got done reading about a huge diamond heist that happened earlier this decade. Pretty gripping reading, if you're into how a mega secure vault in Antwerp can be compromised. During the reading of it, I also checked out some of the locations using google maps. I now know better where northern Italy is relative to Switzerland, France and Belgium, and that there is a city in Turkey called Batman.
They were tasks that were left over from the construction, remodel project. The side of the house that faces our back redwood patio has a patch of dirt next to the wall which still contains lots of gravelly grit droppings from the stucco work. It needed to get scraped up and disposed. This is also the area where the utilities leave the house and head to the far end of the back yard. A grey conduit for the 110v service as well as a 1 inch white PVC water line to serve the northeast corner of the yard as well as, and most importantly, the garden irrigation.
On Saturday, later afternoon, I did most of the scraping and got rid of most of the gravelly grit. Weighed down the garbage can with this illegal detritus something awful.
Sunday morning, I was eager to tackle the plumbing work. I had to first locate the water pipe that comes from the house and tap into it with the new supply, which comes out of the wall and into the ground at the north end of the dirt patch. After digging around a while, I found the pair of lines. Then, I had to dig a ditch about 12 to 16 inches deep and about 17 feet long to run the new supply line.
After the dirt was removed, I made a run to the local Ace hardware store to pickup a couple of 10 foot sticks of PVC, two feet of flexible PVC hose (which is used to put the new intermediary pipe into position), the requisite couplers and a can of hot blue glue (to attached and seal the connections). It all came together nicely and I tested the line to make sure the water was reaching the hose bibs in the back yard and garden.
And they did! Finally, after more than a year, these are working once again! The valves were on long enough to purge the air from the lines and everything looked good. I turned off the valves at the hose bibs and left the supply on so the system would be pressurized and I could check for leaks.
Seeing the end near, I started to back fill the holes after a quick check for leaks at all the fittings. After moving all the dirt back into the holes, wife Rita comes out to report the sound of running water under the floor in the kitchen. I go in to listen, confirm it, then go back out to the supply shutoff and turn it off. It made the sound of running water when I turned the valve to the closed position. Uh oh.
I think what had happened was that somewhere in the line, downstream of where I made the connection leading out to the yard, the line T's off and heads back into the house. So the water was running not only to the hose bibs in the yard that I checked, it was also flowing freely into the crawlspace under the house!
Well, it was getting too late in the day, I was too exhausted from all the digging in the hard dirt, and the valve kept the water from completely flooding the crawl space. About 45 minutes of water made a nice pool under there, no doubt, and I was too dismayed to even venture a peek down there.
Well, this job ain't as done as I thought was gonna be at this point. My next move is to either find a tool I can rent that finds underground water lines so I can prevent my having to dig more, or do some exploratory digging, looking for that line coming back to the house. I don't have a great idea of where it might be, but a general approximation of where to dig a trench so that I'll stumble across it.