Sunday, February 13, 2011

Victorian Plumbing

It's on to the plumbing now, and I'm faced with a contraption from Victorian England, with flourishes and curves, supported by a sturdy iron triangle, something you might see on an old steam engine. Of course it all has to go, and I have just the tool to cut it out if it is not prepared to come along peaceably.

But no, it's a trick. The previous owners connected PVC pipe and some new shut-off valves to this contraption, and that thin plastic stuff is just hanging in air, poking up from the sub-floor below. If I'm not careful the whole mess of iron and steel will crash down and easily splinter the PVC, creating another gusher for the downstairs.

Starting at the top, under the cute curve of pipe, is a pulley system attached to a rod that goes into a plunder-like device that effectively was the stopper for bath water. And maybe it was common back then, but the spout comes out of the tub where we normally see an overflow hole and cap today, and this clever idea allows a full bathtub to flood the kitchen downstairs. All these pipes and pulleys are connected together, which explains why the previous owners never replaced the rusty tub drain (slackers).

Fortunately I have an access door on the other side of the wall, and I can see down into the crawl space, down where a twisted mass of curvy PVC elbows connect to the drain.
The PVC drain is coiled like a snake and is so tight that I won't be able to salvage it--I'll have to start over and create a completely new drain. Except there's just enough room for one of my skinny arms, at least until I can make some room.

Time for lunch.

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