This Old House


So I love the idea of owning an old house, and I look forward to the things that I'll be able to do with it: convert it back into a single family house, create a large entertaining room upstairs, remove the upstairs kitchen and turn it into a wet bar, update the downstairs kitchen, install new flooring, replace the plaster and lathe with drywall, install central air, replace the garage... all in good time.

What I don't love is fixing things that previous contractors/owners have goofed-up. Take the rewiring of the house, for example. The previous home owner hired a contractor to do some wiring work on the house a while back. Unfortunately, the work was so poor, I had to redo it, which is time consuming, wasteful, and was potentially dangerous - whomever performed the wiring work didn't understand the very basics...

And then there was the upstairs bathroom. The hard plumbing lines are all exposed. There's an original lead hot water supply line that runs to the vanity and shower, and it's in decent condition. The cold water line, however, appears to have been "updated" some time ago. Unfortunately, whoever did the work was a complete ogre.

They didn't apparently have a tubing bender, nor did they have a tubing cutter. It looks like they bought a 15-foot length of 1/2" copper and just hand bent it into place. It was absolutely terrible. If you don't have smooth bends in copper, you'll end up damaging the copper, and it'll leak. When that happens, it looks like this:


I was so nervous about the line bursting that I decided to replace it. Instead of messing with copper, I chose to go with a synthetic material known as "Pex." Pex is easier to work with, inexpensive, and is an ideal candidate for a job like this.

Before I ripped out the old stuff, I snapped one more photo of the quality installation job as done by the previous person. The copper line is the one on top, with all of the kinks and uneven bends.


I spent $40 for 15-feet of Pex, a Pex line cutter, two 90-degree radius guides, and two "Sharkbite" connectors. The hardest part of the job was taking out the old copper. There weren't any shut-off valves upstairs, so I had to turn off the main water and hot water heater valves. Once those were off, I used a torch to loosen the old connections and then pulled everything out.

I measured my new Pex, cut it to length, ran it appropriately, made my connections, and gave it a test. 100% success.

Looks a little better, and now I can sleep at night without worry of flooding the house thanks to a burst water line.


Cutting the Cable

I haven't had cable television for at least 5-years, and to be honest, I don't miss it one little bit. Well, that's not entirely true - I do miss having a DVR and channel guide; I didn't think I'd ever have such an option to me and my primitive antenna system.

That all changed when I was surfing the web the other day and discovered that TiVo works with antennas. They have a device known as the "Roamio" that allows you to record up to four different HD channels at once while watching whatever you want to. The device supports 1080i HD picture, Dolby surround sound, and is compatible with wireless networks. Score.

I purchased a Roamio, brought it home, set it up (a process that took forever thanks to what I imagine is a very primitive TiVo infrastructure; a software update for the device took more than an hour to download and install, which is ridiculous), and before long, was enjoying a full channel guide, a full featured DVR, and a universal remote that controls all of my components.

I'm in love with this thing.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on December 30, 2013 7:04 PM.

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