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@#&% !!! Plumbing
I'd planned a relaxing day with some time for photographic pursuits. After going walking with our dog I wandered off for a brief look at ipernity. Not more than half an hour later, I wandered back through the house and found myself standing in water - warm water!

A quick investigation of the source led me to the hot water plumbing connection under the handbasin in the bathroom. It had failed in a big way, with water blasting out. I turned off the hot water system and mains water and commenced the clean-up while waiting for the plumber to arrive to fix the pipe.


I asked the plumber about the coupling that had given way and flooded much of the house. He told me that although all plumbing once was solid pipe, in recent years it has been found cheaper and faster to end the plumbing near the fittings, then add these flexible connectors. As I've shown, they are a rubber inner with stainless steel mesh surrounding. Apparently (in Australia at least) they have a design warranty of ten years and, although they may last four or five years longer, they will eventually fail - as I found out. And this is the point of this article: if you have flexible couplings as part of your plumbing system, at the very least check them for corrosion. If they have been in place for a lengthy but unknown time, it may be prudent to replace them.

I'd like to say that was the end of the story: but much of our house was full of water though we'd found the leak quickly, then cut the flow and begun the bailing out process. The man sent by the insurance company to review the carpets promptly wrote them off because of the damage. He cut out and removed the sections which had been wet and installed four large drying fans which continue to roar in the distance as I write this. They will do so for a few more days. When the concrete floor is dry, a builder will assess for other damage - then the repair and re-carpeting process can begin.
Needless to say, there has had to be considerable movement of furniture and fittings, a time consuming process resulting in total chaos in the rest of the house. And all that, my friends, is my excuse for being less involved here than usual for a while. But do check your plumbing connections for any of these "designed to fail" devices!




23 comments

beverley said:

G'day George, I was wondering and thinking about you all and how it was progressing
with regard to the carpets etc ... what a mess ... what a mess ... and I am not sure about
the connections being the same here but without a doubt ... thanks for the heads up and
will check ... it seems a crazy idea to me to cut corners with such a thing like this ... the
effects are terrible terrible ... and imagine this happening to someone who was not able
to act quickly and would not know what to do ... especially the very old and disabled,
it seems this could happen to anyone. Does not bear thinking about. Hope the drying
out process goes well ... fingers crossed George ... and it most certainly has not been
a good 2015 so far ... could have been worse of course but my goodness its bad
enough ... !
8 years ago

tiabunna said:

Thanks, Bev. Yes, if I hadn't found it so soon, it wouldn't bear thinking about. And that is the 'positive', so many things could have made it much worse. As you say, let's hope the year picks up from here. :-)
8 years ago

beverley replied to tiabunna:

We have just had a check ! all is ok, solid pipe thank goodness and now where do I find
the stop cock ;-) just checking ... and you know we leave these sorts of things often until
we need to know rather than know in advance ... and us ladies are not always up to the
minute on this sort of thing ... its a nightmare ... so if you do not hear from me again for
a while I'm under the stairs somewhere in the dark feeling my way around ;-) yes lets
hope the year picks up from here, get it all over and done with NOW ;-)))
8 years ago

Kathleen Thorpe said:

So sorry!!! What a mess!!!
8 years ago

tiabunna replied to Kathleen Thorpe:

Thanks, Kathleen, it sure was (and I've spared you the images of the squelchy carpets :-)).
8 years ago

slgwv said:

Ouch! Sympathies--we can relate! We've had the plumbing connections go out under the bathroom sink as well. It wasn't flexible pipe that was the culprit--it was connections between dissimilar metals! Galvanized nipples screwed into copper-- The contractor presumably was in a hurry, and the building inspector either didn't catch it or else ignored it, and after all it will work for quite a while. But it's guaranteed to fail eventually, due to electrolysis, and that's what happened. It lasted for something like 25-30 years--by which time the contractor is now long gone! Grrr--
8 years ago

tiabunna replied to slgwv:

Thanks, Steve. It's funny, one tends to not think of things like this happening. It must drive insurance companies crazy.
8 years ago

Richard Nuttall said:

Good luck with the repairs and the insurance company George, plus good idea to warn people about the flexible couplings -I hope all turns out OK for you
8 years ago

tiabunna replied to Richard Nuttall:

Thanks, Richard. So far the insurance people have been good, though I suspect it will take some time to wrap up the repairs. I thought the most useful thing from it would be to spread the cautionary message.
8 years ago

Gudrun said:

Oh no, all those drying fans in the middle of summer- what a mess! I hope it will dry out quickly.
In my case it was the neighbour's heating pipes which burst after a severe frost and water started dripping through the ceiling....
8 years ago

tiabunna replied to Gudrun:

Thanks, Gudrun. I'm glad to say that all is now dried and the fans were removed today. Water through the ceiling would add a whole extra dimension!
8 years ago

Pam J said:

Oh My.....

Just thankful that we found it fast.... dont want to think if you had been out for the day.

Deep breath.... you have all our sympathies !
8 years ago

tiabunna replied to Pam J:

Thanks, Pam. Yes, it could so easily have been so much worse had it not been found quickly. Well, despite the chaos things seem to be moving along, so I think it all will come good in due course. :-)
8 years ago

Gillian Everett said:

Thanks for sharing, George. Hope all is back to normal soon.
8 years ago ( translate )

tiabunna replied to Gillian Everett:

Thanks, Gillian. I hadn't realised the potential problem and rather hope this might help someone else avoid sharing it later. It's going to take weeks, but thankfully insurance is covering and all seems to be moving.
8 years ago