Posts Tagged ‘pex’

Addition to this post, not related: I promised months ago to post pictures of a hand plane (woodworking) that I refurbished.  It was rusted so bad that my estimate, based on a previous plane, was about 15 hours to get it cleaned up nicely.

Then I discovered… molasses.  Yes.  Molasses.  10:1 Water to molasses ratio.  Put the part in the tub of molasses, come back in a week to ten days and pull your part out.   I have heard 15 or 20:1, but molasses is cheap (Grandma’s Molasses was the etchant of choice here).

Cruel Wife, who is a metallurgical engineer says that the grain exposure in the steel is about what it would take for hydrochloric acid for 15 minutes.  Try it.  It will remove the rust from your rusty tools.  I have heard of car body parts being done this way.  And it is eco-friendly (no phosphoric acid to dilute).

Notice the grain in the steel.

Nope, no rust here.


Ok, so I wake up, scratch, yawn.   Wake up again, scratch.  Wake up again, open eyes, scratch, yawn, stretch, and leap out of bed all bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

Perhaps in another universe.

I drag my butt out of bed, stagger to the shower and for the millionth time wish my house was not so imbued with character (read:  a heap).  The pressure was low and I just gritted my teeth.  Could be worse.

Hop out of shower, suck in gut while passing the mirror, let gut out explosively going around corner, get dressed, and look around for my tools. Hammer is where the hammer always is, in the closet under the recyclables, the kid’s castoff toys, and the disposable scrubbing sponges.  Chop saw, in garage behind bandsaw.  Wedges… no wedges.  What does a guy have to do to get a doorframe built around here?  Kids underfoot, one of whom is competing for attention from my consciousness with a mixture of cuteness and Gilbert-Godrey-style annoying chatter.

Cruel Wife comes in with a serious look – “You need to come with me, NOW.”

Oh no.  Somebody has died.  Somebody cut off a body part.  Someone dug up the cat.  Somebody spontaneously changed genders.   Something BAD has to have happened.  Perhaps the worst has happened… the TV died?  Heavens, NO!

I’m led downstairs next to the furnace (fully expecting to see a lake of blood or animal body parts – damn you, Stephen King and HP Lovecraft!) where I am rewarded with the sight of water literally running down the wall, over the pipes, and running along the pipes to all corners of the basement, dripping on everything in sight.  It is worse than King or Lovecraft.  My soul drains slowly out of my body along with the blood in my head and tendrils of the dark space between realities creeps up my spine – my vision goes black and then red as a malignant consciousness displaces my own – we have plumbing issues.

I am an aerospace/research-type engineer.  I am not a plumber.  My dad was an electrician but that doesn’t help because I can’t even see electrons and therefore don’t believe in them.  They wouldn’t even help with leaking pipes, anyway.  Damn worthless electrons.  If I believed in them, that is.

Did I mention I’m not a plumber?  Well, the guy who IS a plumber says it’s going to be 1.5x normal pay to have him come out today.  But by shutting off our water it can wait until tomorrow at 9am and the cost will only be $27,000 for the repair instead of 1.5x that.  So we have no water other than containers filled by our surrogate grandparents (for our children).  What wonderful neighbors!  I wonder if they’ll still be so nice when they realize that we’re selling my son so we can afford the plumbing bill?

Now, I am researching PEX tubing and wondering if anyone has used it.  Compression fittings?  I can do compression fittings in my sleep.  The idea of doing the whole house in flexible tubing sounds really really attractive.  I do compression fittings for lasers and instruments that need heat removed all the time (peltier-cooled cameras, detectors, etc.)  They’re a snap.

And, as far as I know, PEX is:  cheaper, easier to install, less likely to freeze and crack, manifold runs to different places in the house, and won’t get pinhole leaks (ding ding ding ding!). I’ll let you all know what the plumber says tomorrow.  Beyond “well, this repair could get costly,” that is.

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