Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Rather Nasty Surprise

old pipe
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Yesterday while looking for some errant buckets for the ongoing fort project I decided to look in the crawl space under the house.

Our crawl space is far nicer than most. It does have a dirt floor, but in some areas you can almost stand up and it has an electric light. We use it to store largish things like our canoe, lawn chairs, the bouncey tent, the rocket box and a bird bath left behind by the former owners. Our furnace is also located down there. The one negative to the whole space is that it can only be entered from two access panels in the foundation, otherwise it is a very useful spot.

new pipe
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
While I was casting about for the buckets I decided to give the furnace's vent pipe to the chimney a quick check.

I was horrified to find a huge crack in one of the pipes. I'm fairly certain it wasn't there last year when I looked. Either way this was a dangerous situation (fortunately we do have a CO monitor on the first floor, so I knew it wasn't a problem... yet) and needed to be taken care of immediately.

So today's big project was to swap out the old pipes (the adjoining one looked ok, but figured if I'm going to do one I might as well do two) with nice new ones.

After a bit of measuring I headed off to Lowes to buy a couple of five foot long pipes. I didn't have the diameter, but I did get the circumference, which was fine except Lowes didn't carry my pipe. It turns out I need a 5 inch pipe and they only carry even number sizes.

Dang. I really want to get the pipe and not have to pay a furnace guy gobs of money for such an easy job.

However all was not lost, we also have a Home Depot less than a mile from the Lowes. I headed on in, found the right aisle and the clouds parted and the angels did sing. They had tons of the piping I needed. I snagged two plus a furnace filter and headed home.

Inspector hound
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

After lunch (mmm, leftover lasagna) it was time to get to work.

The red boys accompanied me outside and were very excited to go into the crawl space. The dogs make terrible home repair assistants, but do have the whole inspection thing down pat. I don't think the two of them missed an inch. John even went so far as to rear up and take a peek inside the canoe.

Taking the pipes off was not to bad, the cracked one was very brittle to the touch and was easy to pull out. The other pipe was in not much better condition and I was glad that I had decided to replace it as well.

Putting in the new pipes was a much harder challenge.

all in
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The vent pipe to the chimney was fixed in place as was the run attached to the furnace. I futzed around trying one thing, than other. I even thought about cutting then down, but that really wouldn't be a good solution. I finally hit upon te idea of having the two new pipes fitted together in a bit of a v shape so I could slip the ends into the fixed pipes.

It worked and with only a small amount of swearing and a large amount of banging with my rubber mallet. The best part was I did not damage myself or the pipes.

all taped up
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The end result was a nice smooth run of shiny new pipes from the furnace to the chimney. All that was left to do was to seal up the the joints.

I'm proud to say that for the second time in my life I actually used duct tape to tape ducts. I used a boat load of tape, but hey I don't want to cheap out and have leaky pipes, carbon monoxide poisoning is serious business.

When it was all done I gave Larry call at work and told him all about today's project. His reaction "I married well."

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