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05 October 2012

They just don't build them like they used to (wait, I don't think they ever built them like that)

For the past week or so, I've been noticing a shallow pool of water under our furnace. The basement is a bit shady to begin with, in more ways than one, but actual standing water is unusual. It appeared to me, as a layman, that the water might be seeping up through concrete where the PVC waste pipe goes down under the slab floor.

The landlord concurred, hypothesizing that the pipe was backing up and leaking at a bad union. So he called in Mr. Rooter to snake the drain (you have no idea how much I hoped that just happened to be the name of the plumber). After a couple of hours at it, the drain was clean, but David, my landlord, had discovered a different source for the water.

It seems it was indeed from the waste pipe, but that it was leaking, not where it went through the slab, but from the cast iron pipe that runs between the second floor bathroom and the basement. Oh, and someone years ago had decided that it would be a good idea (or just funny, in a practical joke sort of way) to run that pipe between floors via an unused chimney flu. That's right, eight feet of the waste pipe is concealed within the brick chimney. And that's where it appears to be leaking.

So next week the landlord will be back with a crew to disconnect the cast iron pipe and install a new PVC one in its place. But not really in its place, because getting that eight feet of pipe out of the chimney would be more than a little interesting, and putting the PVC back in there would be almost as ridiculous. So they'll have to find another way to get the waste pipe to the basement, which means, in all likelihood, tearing out a wall or two, and maybe some of the bathroom floor. Even though I will be neither doing the work, nor paying for it, we're still not looking forward to it. But until then the only functioning toilet is downstairs from the bedrooms.

It just makes me wonder, under what circumstances did the whole pipe-in-the-chimney thing seem like a good idea?!

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