Welp. Not all home-blog posts can full of pretty progress pics and well-lit “afters”. Ha, who am I kidding most of our posts don’t even have that stuff! But what we DO have are two leaks in one week, a brave husband sticking his head in crazy places, and a wife that is patting herself on the back for simply not freaking out. And that’s gotta count for something.
Anyways, you might remember that we have galvanized pipes up our attic. Thank you 1978!
When we first moved in, we had a couple slow leaks the inspector found; one we fixed with a simple clamp, and one required that we replace an entire run of pipe with PEX. After that, we vowed to regularly go check the pipes up in the attic to make sure we catch leaks before they happen. Hahahaha. We did that maybe once. Then one day I came home from work, turned down our hallway, and stepped in a puddle.
Y’all, old Katelyn would have panicked at this point. Old Katelyn would have been sure the floors were ruined, the attic was a sea of wet insulation, and the whole house was basically falling apart. But not new Katelyn. New Katelyn said “this is not the first time I’ve dealt with plumbing issues”, grabbed a towel and a bucket, and even had the foresight to take a photo of our sad ceiling for the blog.
Evan came home shortly after I finished cleaning up the puddle (somehow no floor damage, yay!) and that’s when we started poking around for the cause of the leak. And I mean that quite literally. Evan grabbed a screwdriver and began making tiny holes in the ceiling.
Water trickled out a little, but we felt like it was also moving around up there. So we kept poking more holes. And more holes. ‘Til finally we said screw it and cut a chunk out with our saw zaw.
We still couldn’t really tell what was going on, and to make it worse the leak was under our AC unit so we couldn’t get to anything from up in the attic. Meaning the only way to see what was happening was for my very brave husband to stick his head into places unknown…
Once Evan got up in there, he identified the leaky culprit, which was actually a piece of pipe not under our AC unit. But it was under some nailed down plywood in the attic that the AC was on top of. So up in the attic we went to cut through the plywood (we couldn’t just remove it since the AC was on top of the same plank of wood).
From downstairs we had measured out where it seemed the leaky pipe was, so we measured again up in the attic and cut where we thought it was. Found it!
But it was a bad enough leak that we couldn’t just clamp it- it would need to be replaced with PEX. We knew we wouldn’t have a chance to do that ourselves til the weekend, and we weren’t comfortable letting the thing leak for several days, so we bit the bullet and called our plumber. In the meantime, we went ahead and clamped it, put a foil tray under it to catch any drips, and cleaned up our mess.
The next morning, our plumber showed up and we had a nice new piece-o-PEX up there and a slightly bigger hole above our heads. Yay!
But what’s that piece of wood on our ceiling you ask? Well as much as I’d like to say the story ends here, it does not. So we will get to why we attached a 2×4 to our ceiling later. We patched the hole (again, more on that later) and primed/painted over the water stain left behind. While I was up there priming, I figured I’d also cover an old, tiny water stain that has been in our entry since we bought the house (it’s amazing what you can become blind to over time). So I primed them both, let them dry, and when I came back to repaint I noticed that the stain in the entryway had somehow spread past the area I had painted… strange
I touched it and it felt cooler than the surrounding area. Bad news. Luckily, there were no obstructions in the attic over this spot so I hopped up and sure enough, another dang leak!!! In a completely different run of pipe I might add, so it’s not like we had a particularly bad pipe giving us trouble- just our house laughing at us.
Luckily it was pretty minor and we had a couple extra pipe clamps leftover from our last pipe-clamping project, so this one was a quick fix, especially compared to the last leak. If you’ve never used these clamps they are SUPER easy. Just unscrew them wide enough to pop over your leak and then screw them tightly until they are snug around the pipe. We have a video of it in this post that we linked to earlier. They’re not forever solutions, but the clamp above our kitchen/office area has held up fine for three years!
Two leaks in a week is enough to make you weak! Ok I’ll stop that was lame. But two leaks in one post is enough to make you tired about reading about leaks, so we will end it here for now. In the next post we’ll go over how we actually patched the gaping 2ft x 2ft hole in our ceiling and why there’s a 2×4 attached to the ceiling – it was a tale of denial, bargaining, and finally acceptance.