I started by drilling a pilot hole, through the bottom of the vanity (just off center under the wash basin) and continuing right through the floor. I fed some wire through the hole so I could find it easier from the crawlspace under the house. I wanted to make sure I was knew, when I was below the house, which pipes supplied the faucet (since there is a shower, bath, and commode all within a few feet of each other).
Next I went crawling into this hole from our backyard, which got me under the house. This gave me a look at the plumbing leading to the bathroom, and thanks the wire it didn’t take long to figure out what was what from underneath.
Once under the house, it was quite dark down there, so I took my Solar LED Lantern that my dad had bought me for my birthday. It was so light, ad bright enough, that it worked very well for me getting into position, then I dragged a corded work light in, because I was going to be in and out all day long.
I only had 18 – 24″ of total vertical space, from the terribly dusty old dry dirt underneath me, to the bottom of the floor joists above me. So much of my crawling was with my chest flat to the ground. I wore an N95 mask and full coveralls, but still got filthy and I coughed up dust later.
I made some determinations about which galvanized pipes I needed to cut. I was going to replace just the last couple feet of both the hot, and the cold, supply lines with PEX.
I headed to Home Depot with a plan to get the PEX and necessary adapters.
The gentleman who assisted me steered me away from any kind of compression fitting, or other work-around fitting, into the galvanized. He said even if I had to replace 30 feet of the galvanized, I’d be much better off by finding the closest threaded end and attaching the PEX there. He also told me to try PB Blaster on the old fittings, since I had seen they were pretty rusty. I grabbed two 14-inch pipe wrenches (one aluminum and one steel) and went back home.
I filled a bucket with water, in case we would need the toilet twice before I had the water back on, and then I shut off water to the house and opened the taps on the tub to bleed the lines.
Back under the house, I used a cutting blade on my angle grinder to sever the sections of galvanized line I was removing. There was still a decent amount of water in the lines, and some ran down on my grinder, which I didn’t like mixing electric and water. Maybe I should have found a way to bleed the lines better than just opening the tub faucet? But hey, silver lining was that the pipe didn’t get hot (hate to have any kind of fire risk under an old wood floor) while I made the cut because it was water-cooled.
With the PB blaster in place on the fittings, it was quick work to remove the pieces of galvanized. This was a great moment, because I knew I was now past the blockage that caused me to do all this in the first place. These lines were connected to taps that had good pressure, which meant I could run new lines to my bathroom sink and have good pressure there as well!
More to come.