Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where Did That Water Come From?

You know the feeling right?  You walk into the house and see a water stained ceiling.  It isn't raining.  It isn't the roof.  Where is it coming from???  We had a small leak/stain (the farthest back mark) back in the SUPER cold snap we had in January.  We thought maybe some ice built up around one of the roof vents and then melted slowly and leaked down.  It never happened again so we were just sort of waiting for a good time to paint the ceiling.  Well luckily that good time hadn't happened yet cause now the ceiling looks like the above picture.  After some investigation in the attic I found this...
Condensation line for the HVAC unit in the attic was broken wide open!!  Now...how enough water sat in that pipe to freeze and break the pipe in January I'm not sure.  So after shutting off the air (which we had on because it is 90 in April-sheesh) and spending an evening pondering the repair...this morning I headed to Home Depot and then I got to it.

What you need for pipe repair-flashlight, towel, butt pad to sit on, pipe cleaner and glue, new pieces of pipe, connectors and joints, a saw, some string, some sandpaper, some scissors, a tape measure, and a cellphone-in case of getting trapped in the attic or something-oh and save yourself some time and lock your cats up because cats playing in the attic insulation is not cool-trust me, ask AJ, he didn't much enjoy it yesterday.

Step One-Remove broken pieces...(tried to do it with a saw but actually with PVC pipe it is easier to use some string, wrap it around the pipe and use a sawing motion to cut the pipe, especially in a tight spot.)  A tip-wear gloves, that string is tough on the hands!

After removing the broken piece I gave the other end (the one laying in the insulation) a very good blow out, and heard a sort of popping and gurgling-which may mean it was clogged and that caused the water to back up and leak, I'm sort of hoping that was the case.  At this point another large piece of piping broke off of the HVAC unit (oops.)  I noticed the piece that came off wasn't even glued to the unit-hmmm.  Well add that to the list of things to fix.  (See below large other misc. broken piece.)

Luckily after that things went fairly smoothly (well except for an extra run to Ace Hardware to get one more connector-but hey only one extra trip out for supplies is not too shabby!) 

A few more notes:
  • They now make these very cool sliding connectors for you to attach two pieces of pipe together-it gives you about 2" of play so that you don't have to have your pieces cut exactly to size-they are about $3 and worth every penny! 
  • After sawing your pipes with the saw or the string, give them a good run over with some sandpaper before cleaning and gluing.
  • When you get a work call on your cell phone pretend you are in the office, not making HVAC repairs in your attic.
$8.26 and an hour and a half later...ta-da!
I'm giving it a couple hours to sit before cranking up the air again...I am woman, I fix stuff!


  1. And you are my daughter! Great job!

    Proud Mother

  2. I can just see our cat Wally (Chris calls him Satan) "playimg" in the attic.

  3. I did not teach her all she knows, but I supplied some of the genes that let her do this stuff so good. My favorite granddaughter always!


  4. You might be a gardener if you'd rather be baking in the hot Georgia sun in April!

    Sometimes stuff just has to be done though. Good job

    It cracks me up to think about you answering a business call in the attic! :)

  5. Way to go Janet. I don't do any of those types of repairs. What an awesome job.