Plumbing – not mine, the house!

Now, I have been accused in the past of sharing over much on my blogs, but I can assure you that this time the plumbing I refer to is NOT mine  – not ghastly stories of leaking fluids from ME this time (although if you’re REALLY interested, I can point you over here…)

No, this time we’re talking about the even more expensive kind.  The kind where you call the man who charges even more than hospitals and doctors.  The kind whose absence can leave you even more miserable – truly, is there much more misery making than a lukewarm, low pressure shower on a freezing cold morning?   Brrrrrrrr.

(I particularly like how this logo is GOLD PLATED.  Kinda says it all.)

We had a lot of plumbing work done last year when we had the house re-stumped and re-roofed and the new water tank put in.  ‘Righty-o!’ We naively thought, ‘We’re done!’


Because a couple of weeks ago we had a tap in the bathroom that decided to just start trickling instead of turning off.  And then the trickle turned into running.  Which of course happened on a Friday arvo… so we watched litres of water going down the drain all weekend, not wanting to call a plumber out on the weekend ($$$!) and having discovered that for some reason an ordinary washer wouldn’t fix the problem.  Turns out that some sort of ‘water saver sleeve’ had been fitted that had caused the problem.  ARRRRRGH!  $101.20

Then last week we noticed that in order to have a hot shower you had to be QUICK and not turn the cold tap on at all.  And it was getting worse – to the point where a hot shower was becoming impossible.  Soooooo… call the plumber again.  Some sort of problem with the ‘tempering valve‘ (and here I begin to wonder if it’s called that because it causes me to lose MY temper…) which is fixed at great expense… $429.30  (ouch!)

Except…. it’s not fixed.  Because after a few days of HOT showers (bliss!) we start noticing that the problem of COLD showers is back – only now we have a ghost in the pipes as well –  a whiiiiine that can only be fixed by turning off various taps until you find the right one where the ghost is caught.  ARRRRRRRRRGH!  And now the hot water heater  is spurting cold water out one of the drain valves at over a litre a minute… constantly. Which adds to the whirring noise in the pipes.

So as I’m writing this we’re waiting for the plumber to come again… and dreading how much our water rates bill will be next time, with all this excess water just running away.

Part of the problem might have been caused by the council themselves – the plumber reckons some of this might have been caused by muck in the pipes and our expensive problems started AFTER the Jellicoe Street mains was reconnected a couple of weeks ago after being out of service for 18 months (when it was knocked out in the January 10 floods).  Who knows how much gunk was flushed through and into our system then. Ugh.

But I suspect it’s the new tempering valve that’s caused the problems.

And the BEST part?  The plumbers we paid THOUSANDS to, not twelve months ago ? Have gone out of business, because they were a husband and wife company (as so many small businesses are) and their marriage went kaput, so the company has folded.  So much for our guarantees.

(And now the plumber has arrived… and Mr Beloved has just informed me, has gone away again to get parts for THREE – count ’em, ONE, TWO, THREE, valves on the hot water system which have gone wrong – turn off, hot blowoff and cold blowoff.



Good thing we bought those tins of baked beans when they were on special for four tins for $5… because I think that’s all we’ll be eating for a while.  Holy hot cheese jaffles, Batman, I can’t WAIT to see the bill for this.


It’s now an hour later, and it’s dark… and the plumber and Mr Beloved are still out there.  The plumber has phoned a friend.  He keeps saying things like “Yep, you’ve get a really weird one here…”

I have taken One Of My Little P1lls.

And I’m still on the edge of tears because… well dammit, because!  There are times when things Just Get Too Much and this is getting close to becoming one of them.  ARRRRRGH!  So I have left poor Mr Beloved to deal with the nice plumber and I had to walk away because I was just feeling too sick to manage. And I’m trying not to beat myself up about that but – ugh.

And now I am going upstairs and hiding under the blankets again until this is over.  Or until I can have a hot shower again. Whichever comes first.  The forecast is for ‘Frost then Sunny’ and 1 C overnight – but apparently it ‘felt like’ – 5 C overnight last night.

A hot shower would be a Good Thing.







Not happy…

None of these nails is actually doing ANYTHING to hold the roof on!
Nope, not one is actually in the wood....

Found this when we looked up through our brand new manhole.  The worrying thing is not just this section – how can we be sure that the REST of the roof (which we can’t see so easily) hasn’t been done the same way?


We’ve phoned and emailed the mob concerned – just waiting for them to get back to us and rectify it.  (If not, we do have options, since the Building Services Authority is available to help resolve such disputes…)

The upsetting thing is – we’re not tradies – how are WE supposed to know if they’ve done their work properly or not?? We don’t have the training!  We only found this mistake by accident – what else hasn’t been done?

I’m trying not to catastrophize here – really, I am, because I know have a tendency to do that and panic and get very very anxious – but  – SHEESH!!!!

This week in home news…

*sigh* Well, it RAINED again, and we discovered the gutter we thought had been fixed WASN’T.  Eventually we had the plumbers come out again and [the useless one] fixed it properly – he had to take it off and re-hang it LEVEL so it didn’t fill up and back-flow.  If he’d only done his job correctly in the first place… for any more plumbing jobs, we’re requesting they send anyone EXCEPT [the useless one]!

We’re tossing up whether to get the plumbers out to fix the leaky shower. Mr Beloved has a very cunning rig set up so the shower doesn’t make a noisy drip – but the bucket is filling up about twice a day. (Not an insignificant leak, then!)

String over shower head holds sock over cut down soft drink bottle, with string leading to...
bucket catches drips from string

The thing is: is it cheaper to just tip the buckets onto the garden than get the plumber out? Answer – yes, but the leak is getting worse *headdesk*. I really didn’t want to spend any money on the bathroom until we could replace the old shower and bath – but we may be forced to, depending on what the plumber finds.  *HEADDESK*

And yes, the bath is STAINED, as is the (supposedly) waterproof board stuff above the bath, and the shower curtains need replacing and … UGH.  It’s not very pretty but it’s what’s there, and it (mostly) works.  Toowoomba water is very hard and stains everything – no amount of scrubbing gets the reddish yellow to go away.  I can get some of the surface muck off but… meh, it gets kind of disheartening when it never gets really clean.  I have to pick my battles and this is one I’m not going to win!

Originally we were hoping that the budget would stretch to a new bathroom, or possibly a new kitchen – but finding more structural problems at every turn has meant that’s out of the question.  We’re going to try and save up, but with the cost of living getting higher and our income not increasing at all, it will be a while longer.  That’s just how it goes.

On Thursday, Mr Beloved went out to Bunnings and bought 3.6 metres of skirting board to fix this problem:

The gap between floor and wall...

When the house went UP and back DOWN again several odd things happened.  One of them was this gap that opened up between the wall (blue paint) and the floor in the lounge room.  At each end of the room the gap was smaller, but in the middle of the wall it was a good INCH, a you can see in the photo!  Since it’s been getting colder at night there’s been a definite breeze coming through the gap, right into our ankles as we sit and eat dinner and watch TV.  Brrrr!

The Dyson vacuum cleaner got a good work out – there was a lot of termite debris and dust in that gap.

New skirting board affixed to wall in lounge room

There’s still a small gap under the very worst of it, but some expanding foam should do the trick there.  And no, it doesn’t match the trim on the other walls, but this is behind the lounge chairs and I don’t care! Eventually we’ll replace the other trim or at least paint it (the new skirting board has two coats of British Paints “All in One” to seal the wood; when we repaint the inside of the house we’ll decide whether to paint over it in white or just continue the wall colour down over it.)

We’re almost at the end of the money. I’m waiting (STILL!) on the bill for the new ceiling bearers and ceilings:

New ceiling in lounge room with man hole!

(We didn’t have a man hole for access to the roof space before this – ridiculous, but that’s how the house was built.  If we HAD had a manhole, we probably still wouldn’t have been able to see the termite damage that had already happened…)

new ceiling in bedroom (with bonus new wall trim)

And once I’ve paid that, I think we have *just* enough money to get the outside of the house painted and get the electrician back to put in new wiring for 7 lights, a wired in smoke detector, and a new safety switch, and reconnect the old light fittings in the lounge and bed rooms.  ($1100!!  Ouch! But what can you do – it’s not like we can NOT do the new wiring now we know it’s needed…)

The ceilings will eventually be painted, but probably not until next Summer. Because they’re MDF they’ll need to be brush painted in all the cracks first, then roller painted – that’s two coats of All in One at least; then we’ll paint them the actual colour we want (some sort of white, but sheesh – there’s so many whites to choose from!)

So that’s where we’re up to.  Congrats if you’ve managed to read this far – I suspect it’s mostly Mum who read these updates, but do please comment and tell me otherwise!