The Joys of Hot Water

It’s like a dream come true. After 2+ months of lugging hot water from the kitchen to the bathtub every time I needed to not be gross anymore,* we actually have hot water in our bathroom now!

Only 3 days after my live-in plumber** moved in, I have hot water in the bathroom! But that doesn’t mean it was an easy journey. Elliot managed to replace all the broken pipes from the first floor to the second with the slightly-more-flexible-than-copper PEX piping, which involved at least 10 feet*** of threading through the ceiling – but he had fun doing it.

I blinked and he’d gotten it all the way up to his bedroom on the 2nd floor.**** Then the trouble started. If you see the picture below, you can almost see how nice it all looks with the shut off valve, and how cleanly he connected the PEX to the copper (far right – I did a terrible job on these photos).

But, because I’m brilliant and paranoid, I wanted a better view of the little pipes (not pictured) that were branching off the main line and going up into the ceiling. Enter 2019 and the brilliance of camera phones. It all seemed to be pretty good at first,*^ but our luck was about to run out.

Given the fact that there was yet another huge blow-out in the line, and that we couldn’t even see the other end to tell if there were any more, the decision was made to just run new PEX pipes all the way up to the attic. But that left us with the really obnoxious problem of having to run multiple lines through 12 feet of ceiling space. Unless we wanted to tear apart the one room that is actually habitable, it was going to be roughly impossible to get the new pipes through the space and up into the attic.

Once again, my brilliance*^^ shined through. I suggested we run it through the closet instead of the bedroom, allowing us to actually see what we were doing (sort of) and avoid the roughly 10’x4 of pipe-threading that the current layout demanded. It still wasn’t easy, per se, but it was at least possible. Elliot snipped the pipe he had just connected to the copper, and pulled the remaining pipe it back through into the closet.

This is where things got tricky. Lots of drilling holes through the attic floor, poking sticks through the plaster ceiling (trying to find where the holes actually went), and wrestling with PEX to get it all together.

We weren’t very good at any of this, honestly, as can be seen by the number of holes drilled into those closets*^^^ and the ultimate use of the elbow for the corner. But it got done, and that is what is important.**^

The rest of the magic happened while I was at work on Monday, but I imagine it went something like this:

Elliot: Woe is me… these tedious tasks are much more difficult without my amazing sister here to entertain and help me!
Sergiu: Alas, tis true. My day is so much brighter when Aly gets home – she gives me the strength to achieve her unreasonable expectations.
Elliot: Oh Sergiu, how do you fill these empty days until she returns?
Sergiu: I watch TV, cook, and pretend to clean. But you should focus on your goal of completing the hot water line. The feeling of accomplishment will mask the empty void Aly leaves in all our lives when she is not nearby.
Elliot: Huzzah, Sergiu! You are correct. I will finish this task post haste!

End scene**^^^

And then it was done – the pipes recently brought into the attic were connected to the sink and the shower, and I returned home to find hot water in the bathroom!

View from the crawlspace behind the bathroom – where the magic happens!

Next step for actually showering: some sort of rod or curtain-y type thing that will protect the walls/window from water damage. Also, Sergiu has to tile more (and eventually grout all) of the walls.***^ But then, showers galore!

* Special thanks to Liz Boyle, London, Megan Bannon and Dave Brassfield, and various Marriott hotels between Wassaic and Chicago – all of whom/which made it possible for me to have actual hot showers a few times over the past ~75 days…
** aka my live-in electrician, aka my partner in comedic crime, aka my brother Elliot.
***probably way more than 10 feet, I wasn’t paying attention until he climbed into the wall after it.
**** that one room up there that actually has walls and windows largely intact – albeit, the former covered in truly awful wood paneling
*^ after I got the hang of twisting my hands and phone around to get pictures of the space between the ceiling and the attic floor. No easy feat.
*^^ I contribute to the team! I’m not the useless one, I swear!
*^^^ this isn’t even including the several drilled into the crawlspace floor in the attic…
**^ to me. That’s what’s important to me. Because I really, really, really need to be able to bathe with water directly from the tub/shower.
**^^ to be fair, the process was not made easier by the toddler who decided the roll of PEX was his new “home” and kept going to “sleep” in the coil as we tried to work.
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**^^^ Elliot has threatened to sue for libel in regards to this imagined conversation, so I have to state clearly that I have no proof that this happened and is not necessarily representative of the dialogue that happens in my absence.
***^ hopefully he does a better job of it this time. His previous work was pretty sloppy – no doubt because I wasn’t there to inspire precision 😉

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