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OnMyWay

Plumbing Headache! Any ideas?

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A bit of a rant but maybe those with some plumbing experience can comment.  It also helps me to write this down.

So we returned from our pleasant 8 night stay in Bohol on Wednesday AM, greeted by the water bill on the screen door.  P4253!!  Yikes!  We average about p1000 a month.

Of course I first checked for a mis-read, but it seemed correct.  However, all of our water in the house was shut off, but the meter was speeding along!  I checked inside and outside the house for anything visibly leaking, but nothing.  Called up Subic Water and a guy came out.  Inside problem = your problem!  So it appears we have a broken or leaking pipe somewhere underneath the house.  To the tune of about 3 cubic meters per day!

We have a long term lease, so we spoke to SBMA yesterday.  No help.  Basically, "You need to hire a plumber to fix the house we leased to you".

Our place is a duplex, and our neighbors have not helped the situation.  When we first moved in, the water meters for both units were in their backyard.  They added on a screened dirty kitchen, and enclosed the meters and the main shut off valve for our house!  So the meter reader and I have to go inside their screened porch to read the meter or shut off our main water valve.  Subic Water tells me that if I want mine moved, I will have to pay for it.

However, luckily, yesterday I found that we have two shutoff valves inside our house.  Hidden in a lower kitchen closet, the knucklehead painters painted them completely with the hard enamel paint used on our kitchen cabinets.  I had to use a wrench to get them closed, but after I used them a few times, they loosened up.

A bit of sleuthing tells me that one shutoff valve is only for our common bathroom in the middle of the house and the pipe to the washer.  The leak is not on those lines so I can leave that valve on.  I think that is the old hot water system. The other line goes to the kitchen, master bedroom bathroom, outside faucet, maids room CR and outside dirty kitchen sink.  The broken pipe is somewhere on these lines.  When I shut that valve, the water meter stops running.

So apparently the leakage is buried underneath the concrete of our 50+ year old American Navy built house.  Both the water company and SBMA recommended that we externally repipe.  My wife spoke to our neighbor across the street and he had a similar problem.  He had the luxury of finding out about it during a major renovation.  They tracked the leak but then after digging a lot, that the leak was very deep and impractical to fix.  They repiped as needed.

As ugly as it might be, my plan now is to externally repipe as needed.  Luckily the places I mentioned above are on external walls and probably won't be too hard to do.  We plan to do a renovation and add 1 or 2 rooms in the future.  At that time I might be able to improve / hide the piping.

We are managing the water loss by shutting off the one valve mentioned above when not using water at those outlets.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Question:  Is it common or acceptable to run a water pipe up through the attic?  That might be a possible routing solution for some pipes.

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Posted (edited)

Seems odd to me that in a leased property you have to foot the bill.  But anyway, my confusion doesn't help your situation.

Plumbing on all new housing construction in Australia is done with flexible PVC piping through the ceiling, the sequence of events goes something like this:

1.  Lot cleared and drains dug out

2.  Drainers come in and put solid PVC drain pipes in.

3.  Concreters lay the slab.

4.  Buliders put the frame up.

5.  Electricians and plumbers arrive at the same time and have a fight over who gets to do their "rough-in" first as there's strict laws here in regard to how far water pipes and electrical runs have to be away from each other making whoever loses the argument's job a lot trickier.

6.  Plumbers always win, they travel in packs and hit harder with their heavier tools.

7.  Electricians sulk.

8.  Plumber "t's" off from the street mains, installs meter, waits around for council inspector to come by to ensure the meter has been installed correctly.  During this waiting period, there may be more movement from the electricians as the plumbers have stopped working which plumbers must put a halt to as this is a direct insult to their manliness. 

9.  Plumber then digs a ditch (well, normally the first year apprentice through the baked clay - fun job) and runs flexible piping to the house in said ditch up to the frame, installs a shut off valve, normally where the water heater is to be installed,  then continues up the frame and into the ceiling.

10.  Plumber then uses thinner diameter flexible piping to run hot (thinner again for hot) and cold water to all rooms in the house and "t's" off above each room where the wall cavity will be hopefully, but not always the case (stupid apprentices!), where the taps or what you yanks call faucets will be.

11.  Plumbers then knock off for the day and go and drink beer.  Beer is manly, beer is good.  Electricians are then left to do their "rough-in" in the afternoon heat.

TL;DR:  Yes, ceiling is a great idea :thumbsup:  Most renovations are retrofitted through the ceiling here. 

 

Edited by BrettGC
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31 minutes ago, OnMyWay said:

As ugly as it might be, my plan now is to externally repipe as needed. 

Yep.  Thats what others have done in my experience.  Bypass the leaking part with pipes hung onto the wall.  OR pay someone to chip out all the concrete where the pipe needs to go and inlay it a fraction of an inch, just for looks, and hope no one ever hammers a nail into that spot on the wall.

34 minutes ago, OnMyWay said:

Is it common or acceptable to run a water pipe up through the attic?

How hot do you want that water?  Only time I have ever done that was to get a red-neck solution to hot water.  The water gets hot enough up there that you may have to add cold to it to shower with it.   At least it does in attics where I have lived in Philippines.

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37 minutes ago, BrettGC said:

Seems odd to me that in a leased property you have to foot the bill. 

Might seem odd but depends what's in the lease contract. In this case l think we are talking about a 25 or 50 year lease and not just a 12 month as we might have in Aus. If I was the owner of a house leased out for such a long time I would not want to be responsible for maintenance for 50 years.

1 hour ago, OnMyWay said:

Luckily the places I mentioned above are on external walls and probably won't be too hard to do

I dont see any issue with pipes on the outside. I doubt if you would notice them once you paint the same as the wall. 

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3 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Might seem odd but depends what's in the lease contract. In this case l think we are talking about a 25 or 50 year lease and not just a 12 month as we might have in Aus. If I was the owner of a house leased out for such a long time I would not want to be responsible for maintenance for 50 years.

Ah, makes more sense.

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12 minutes ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

At least it does in attics where I have lived in Philippines.

I haven't lived in an attic anywhere, let alone the Philippines.  :hystery:  Our last rental house was so hot on the second floor that it might as well have been the attic!

7 minutes ago, Jollygoodfellow said:

Might seem odd but depends what's in the lease contract. In this case l think we are talking about a 25 or 50 year lease and not just a 12 month as we might have in Aus. If I was the owner of a house leased out for such a long time I would not want to be responsible for maintenance for 50 years.

Yes, our lease was 28 years when we took it over.  When it goes down to under 25, we have the option to bump it up by adding 25 years.  Max 50.

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You need to be very careful with water which is heated in pipes.The local water authorities in the UK recommend that you heat water to 55-60c to kill any bacteria then mix it down with cold water to around 43c at the outlet.External pipes are fine here if you buy decent quality which will not go brittle in the sun.

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I had the same problem in my Friendship Area (Angeles City) apartment a couple of months ago. I got a 5,500p water bill when the usual bill is around 700p. Local water company plumber said it was an underground leak and suggested we run PVC pipe externally. It only cost a couple of thousand pesos to fix and I deducted the repairs from my monthly  rental payment. Apartment owner agreed to split the high water bill which seemed like the fair thing to do. Also learned that the owners caretaker cottage was hooked to my water meter but I will let that slide as long as the charges return to the monthly average. 

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3 hours ago, Happyhorn52 said:

I had the same problem in my Friendship Area (Angeles City) apartment a couple of months ago. I got a 5,500p water bill when the usual bill is around 700p. Local water company plumber said it was an underground leak and suggested we run PVC pipe externally. It only cost a couple of thousand pesos to fix and I deducted the repairs from my monthly  rental payment. Apartment owner agreed to split the high water bill which seemed like the fair thing to do. Also learned that the owners caretaker cottage was hooked to my water meter but I will let that slide as long as the charges return to the monthly average. 

Were you happy with the work and it looks ok cosmetically?

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Posted (edited)

I do tests  for legionella on water here in the UK  ,to prevent the bacteria  multiplying  cold water should be at a temp least than 20 deg Celsius, now in the UK in the summer months it's difficult to keep the water below 20 in some cases , as @sonjack2847 posted,water that's at a temp between 50deg c and 20 deg is a breeding ground for legionella

I'd you are going to run a flexible pipe up and over where ever, get good insulation , personally I get a concrete saw , cut a channel in the floor and put a three inch pipe in as a conduit and then run the flexi hose or soft copper pipe 

And @BrettGC ,your Aussie plumber have obviously never met this Scottish electrician :571c66d400c8c_1(103): :no:

Edited by bastonjock
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