Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Old Guys

My back feels a little better today but not so much better that I regret calling the plumber. I was pleased to see him use the same approach that I planned to take yesterday before springing my back--he cut into the drain basket just enough to loosen it, then was able to unscrew it.

The drain basket (the top part) screws into the piece under the tub, which then leads away to the drain system, all of which is very nearly impossible to access between the first and second floors. What I suspected was a rusty drain was just a tarnished one (made from solid brass). Oh well, it had to come out.

I explained about my blog to Doug, the plumber, who is a real pro with John's Plumbing. The idea, I told him, is that I will complete this project on my own, keeping a sort of journal as I go, only resorting to professional help when absolutely necessary.

Of course, I was trying to butter him up so that he would give me some advice and validation about other aspects of the project, about how I planned to support the pipes, install the new shower faucet, etc. This a delicate process because these guys don't have any real incentive to reveal the secrets of their trade, and they have no stomach for stupid do-it-yourselfers. So I didn't push it.

It turned out that the new drain assembly that I bought from Home Depot dips down lower that the existing tail piece, and this is a no-no for professional plumbers--water should not be sent up hill, not even a millimeter. I could reuse the brass tail piece but I need to find a new drain basket that fits into it. They exist on the Internet but take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver. Between the lines he let me know that the Home Depot drain was OK but not something he was allowed to install.

Finally he took some time to give me advice on several things and he let me know that I'm on the right track. Then he said that his bill would actually be less that what he estimated. Instead I gave him some extra money. "One day soon," he told me, "all of the old guys will be gone, and no one will know what to do."

As one of the old guys, I couldn't agree more.

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