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Operation Commode


Permalink 10:43:21 pm, by Karen Email , 558 words   English (US)
Categories: Journal

Operation Commode

How did you spend your Martin Luther King Jr. Day? I'd be willing to bet it wasn't anything like ours. We awoke to find that the toilet in the bathroom wouldn't flush very well and it seemed that the problem was a frozen drain pipe somewhere under the house.

I'd better explain the house. The main house, built in 1930 or so, has a foundation, and there is a bathroom in the main house, but we have not been using it since it was in dire need of gutting and a total remodel. When the septic system was put in, the plumber who connected the house to the system noted that the floor under the toilet was all rotted, and so we opted to leave the toilet disconnected, and not use that bathroom.

The other part of the house was previously an attached garage, and was converted perhaps 20 years ago into an "in-law apartment". It does not have a foundation but sits on blocks, essentially. There's just a crawl space underneath (if you are really skinny). Where the main house and the apartment are connected there is the entryway/laundry area which also has crawl space underneath. The apartment actually has a bath and a half, and we have been using the full bath as our bathroom. The drain pipes for the apartment run from under the apartment, thence under the laundry room, and through the foundation of the main house into the cellar where the kitchen and main bathroom connect in and then the whole thing runs through the foundation again and out to the septic.

The problem is under the apartment and laundry area. I'll just say it's not pretty and whoever built the place had no idea what they were doing with regard to plumbing, not to mention other things, but those are topics for another time.

So basically things froze up at a certain spot, and both bathrooms in the apartment were affected. We did manage to get the full bath working again, as it would drain veeeerrrry sloooowly, so we kept pouring buckets of hot water in the toilet and waiting for it to drain and repeating as it gradually drained quicker and quicker until it was basically back to normal. But now it's evening, and it's getting colder again, and we're back to a slow drain.

Ken has therefore been working all day on getting the bathroom in the main house functional. He started by tearing up the vinyl flooring where the toilet was. Then there was a layer of rotted plywood that had to come out. Under that was a layer of linoleum tile flooring, and under THAT was a layer of solid oak flooring, rotting of course. But he finally got down to the original board subfloor. They aren't pretty either, but at this point, he has cut a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to fit the space and that should provide enough stability, once screwed into the floor joists, so the toilet can sit without rocking. Eventually it's all going to be re-done so it doesn't have to be perfect at this point. And since that bathroom drains into pipes inside the main house's foundation, they hopefully won't freeze. They haven't yet anyway.

So perhaps by the time we go to bed tonight, we'll have a working bathroom. One can hope!

Sharing ideas from our small farm in NH, where we raise Icelandic sheep and assorted poultry. We are members of ISBONA (Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America) and the CLRC (Canadian Livestock Records Corporation). We also participate in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (NH54). Contact us at karen [at] birchtreefarm [dot] com. Please also visit the farm website at Birchtree Farm.
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August 2019
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