What happens if you have a plumbing leak in a slab foundation

IMG_0458So I woke one morning and noticed while I was in the restroom that I heard water running. I checked all my faucets but none were running.  There were no leaks to be found anywhere inside or outside the house yet the flow indicator on the meter was spinning wildly.

Nooooooo!   My worst plumbing fears have come to reality.

It was Saturday so I called three plumbers.  One called me back.  (The others called Monday but they were too late.)

After a little looking around it was obvious that my diagnosis was correct.

A little more testing indicated that the leak was the supply to the main distribution manifold behind the washing machine.   I expected the work to include jack hammering the foundation and causing major damage at major expense.  I was glad to hear that the fix, which I had not considered, was not all that bad.  A little more testing indicated that the leak was the supply to the main distribution manifold behind the washing machine.

There was no way to find the pipe even in the yard because digging through rocks is just plain impossible.  The plan was to rent a trencher, cut the pipe at the meter and run a new PEX pipe up to the house, into the garage wall, up into the garage attic, across to the main house and down into the laundry room to tie into the manifold effectively bypassing the under-slab pipe.

As I suspected, even using a trenching machine we couldn’t dig any deeper than 6 inches so that would have to do.  A whole day of trenching later and we had a shallow cut for the supply.

I wasn’t satisfied with the blue plastic pipe going from the ground up and into the garage wall so they did a short transition to copper for better durability on an exposed pipe.  It seldom freezes in San Antonio so that shouldn’t be an issue anyway.  I went up into the garage attic and drilled a hole in the top of the wall and help run the pipe.

We had to cut the drywall in multiple places to get the not so flexible pipe to make the 90 degree bends.  I’ll fix those later myself.

They capped off the old pipe and installed an adapter to join the PEX to the existing copper pipe.

We turned on the water.  Everything worked and the leak was gone.  The cost of this project was $3,600.  I’m hoping he gave me a discount for the hours of labor I provided.  He also said if I had hired a big plumbing company it could easily have cost $6,000 or more.  Always go with the little guy first.  They work harder and care more.

My house insurance will pay for everything over $1500 so my out of pocket expense is only $1500.

Later… Insurance doesn’t seem to cover catastrophic plumbing repair.  I had to pay the whole $3600 myself.  Bastards.  What’s the point in having house insurance?  I’m not sure I’ll have anything more than Fire and Hurricane/tornado coverage on my new house.  I fix things myself and my crap isn’t worth anything so I’m wasting money on insurance.



Providence strikes again – Paint Sprayer Discount

pntspryrI’m constantly amazed how often the things I need come to me free or cheap when the time is right.

All you have to do is have patience and wait.  They say good things come to those who wait.  I think it is totally true.


sdngI put off starting a big project of replacing the siding on the front of my house for so many years.  It was starting to rot where the water splashes on it from the porch roof.  It needed to be done before I go to sell the house and time is getting short so I decided to get it done.

I got the bright idea to buy a paint sprayer.  I could totally do this with a brush but next year when I’m building my new house, I’ll need a sprayer anyway.  The best thing I could find would be a good looking Graco sprayer from Home Depot for $260.  Fine.  Totally worth it.

Today I gen an email from Harbor Freight with a coupon to buy one almost exactly the same for only $169.  Dude!  Love it!  The reviews are good and I’ve never had any problems with HF stuff.  It even uses the Graco sprayer tip and parts.   I’m going to pick it up this week.  Noice!


Spring Concert Video

Wow!   Just WOW!  Seriously!

I just finished editing the video from my Community Band’s 2018 Spring Concert.  I am totally amazed with both the band and myself!

I haven’t had a lot of contiguous time to work on it since the concert last Sunday but after a week of weeknights and a Saturday it is done and it is Totally Wicked!   I was impressed with last year’s work but this year is even better.  I started with a four-camera setup and included stand-cams for the soloists using brackets I designed that hold their phones and sit on top of the stand with a groove.  In the end it was a Ten-camera (or more) production.

I rendered out the preview this afternoon which took three hours.  I watched it and was sucked in to the music and the video.  Having so many cameras allowed me to zoom in on the action so you can see almost everything that is going on.  I don’t think any other band concert in history has been done like this.  I might be a pioneer in this field.  I should do this as a career.

The most important part of making it awesome is the fact that I’m also in the band and intimately familiar with the music.  I know exactly where to cut the shots to follow the tune.  You can’t really hire non-musician videographers to do such a in-depth job.  All I have to do is set up the cameras and then sit down and play the music.  All the magic happens in editing.

I’m not the kind of person who goes out tooting their own horn but,  Beep beep beeepity BEEP!!!  I have nobody to tell so I’m telling you.

Last year I got a few thanks and congratulations on the video work but nothing special.  Maybe this year I will get some real recognition.  Not that I did it for recognition or anything but an Oscar would be nice.  LOL!  This video really makes a great memorial of an amazing concert.

The only thing that would have made the production better would have been to have some real quality cameras.  I made do with a Zoom HD camera that was not so HD and a bunch of iPhones.  Still, it came out pretty damn good!  Maybe it will get enough attention to warrant the purchase of better equipment.

I’m also impressed with my computer.  I have a custom computer with an older model motherboard that started with a 1st generation i7 CPU.  I replaced the i7 with a Xeon x5660 6 core server processor, overclocked it to 4 GHz and it really rocks.  It handled all the video sources quite smoothly.  I’ve been waiting a year for this project to come up and let me test it out.

So Holy Shit!  This concert video came out super-impressively.  I can’t wait for everyone to see it.  I’m rendering the final version now and should be uploading it to YouTube tomorrow if it checks out.  I’m so excited.  And I just can’t hide it.

I’m am very proud to be a part of this band and it will be sad when I have to leave next year to build my house.  Maybe I can still do both. We’ll see.   It really is the best thing in my life.  If only it was in my new town.

The video is online.  Take a look at it.  That’s me front and center with the oboe.


North Side Siding Done!

Holy Guacamole!

It took me at two and a half months but I finally got the rotting siding replaced on the north side of my house.  Well..I’m calling it done.

It really needs another coat of paint but I don’t have another month to spend on that.  Why did it take so long to do such a simple job?  Work and rain.   Due to my 8:30-5:30 job, I have absolutely zero time during the week for ANYTHING.  I cram in Community Band practice on Monday nights and a visit with mom on Wednesday nights.  The other three nights I am wiped out and can do nothing but collapse on the couch and watch TV for an hour or two before I drag myself to bed at 9:00.  Besides.  It’s dark when I get home at 6:30 after an hour drive through crippling traffic so doing anything outside would be extremely difficult.  It also keeps raining on weekends.  How does it know?

It’s a good thing I don’t have friends or family because they would demand some of that precious time.  I don’t know how the regular people do it.  Maybe they don’t care about things like replacing siding.  Maybe important things don’t matter to them.


I had to do 99% of the work myself so I created a winch controlled siding lift using 14 foot 2x4s.  That worked out really well.  I’m amazing!  You should want to be my friend!

Once I removed and replaced all the 4×8 sheets of siding, I had to fill the oops nail holes and paint.  I just now finished replacing the vertical trim pieces that hid the seams.  I really wish I had time and energy for one more coat of paint but it will do.  Maybe another time.

Time is a precious commodity.  There is so little of it available these days since time itself has sped up to ludicrous speed.  Time is something that one really should appreciate to the max.  I’m so glad that this is my last year to play the Time Game.  I’m going to early-retire in January of 2019 if my evil plan goes smoothly. Soon time will be my bitch!  It will do my bidding for a change.

Mua ha haaaaa!

10 More Solar Panels

slrpnlsI’m jumping ahead in time a little bit but now that Donald Trump has decided to place a tariff on solar panels, I thought the time might be right.  Personally, I think that’s not a good idea.  Solar panels should be granted free trade because cheap energy is the prime thing that the world needs.  Who cares what country they come from.

My Ultimate Plan seems to be unfolding so I’m going to go ahead with advance preparations.  If all goes well, I will be starting to build my new house next year and I plan on moving my existing 10 solar panels to it as well as double it with 10 more.  Good prices are hard enough to find now much less later after the tariff.  It will also be a little less painful now while I have a job with disposable income.

I ordered 10 300 Watt panels that I’ll store for now.  At $140 each, the total cost is only $1400.  I also found a great price on installed, but not used, Enphase M250 micro inverters at $50.00 each.  They usually cost $125 each.  I went ahead and ordered them too.

How exciting!  I’ll have a 4KW system set up on my new house.  That should be plenty to cover the Split System very high efficiency air conditioning system I plan to use.


Siding lift for replacing siding on a 2nd story wall.

The bottom of one of the siding panels on the North side of my house was starting to rot from the bottom.  The old siding is made of what feels like cardboard.  A number of years ago I got involved in a class-action suit against the siding manufacturer and receive un-remembered thousands.

It’s actually lasting fairly well except certain parts so I’m just replacing what needs replacing with Hardie cement board siding.  This particular one has been on my mind for a long time marked as rather difficult because it is on a 2nd story and I have nobody to help me.

I spent the last few months looking at it and designing ways to do it in my head.  I was set on using a hand cranked winch and using a pulley on the eaves to hoist it up.  The other day, while sitting in the hot tub, I came up with a better plan.

Using two 15 foot 2x4s, cross members and a pulley I could just crank a 80 lb panel up there and slide it right into position all by myself.

Yesterday I built the mechanism and today I removed the old siding and hoisted the new one right into place.  My plan worked perfectly and cost me around $50 for the hoist and $30 for the siding.

Damn I’m good.  Natural born engineer here.  Congratulate me.


Winter Front Siding Project

IMG_0018I’ve been patching it and ignoring it for around 10 years now but the siding in the front of my house needs to be replaced.

Right above the roof of the porch, where the rain drips and splashes onto the siding, the rot is beyond repair.   It doesn’t look too bad in the picture but a lot of the surface is caulk and paint.   Fine for me but not good when it comes time to sell the house in a year or so.

The majority of the siding is just fine but you can’t find exact replacement planks so the whole thing has to go.  Major bummer.  I’ve decided that this will be my first winter project.  There’s no way in hell I would do it during the summer because it is 100 degrees and humid as a newly opened dishwasher door right after the wash is done.  Not gonna do it.  Wouldn’t be prudent.

Now that winter has come,  I am ready to tackle it.  I’m going to rip off all the siding, and window trim then put some house wrap on.  Next I will use some Hardie Fiberboard Siding.  Home depot doesn’t sell any style other than the plain white plank shown below and I want a little texture like the old siding does.


It has surface texture but not really any other look.  The old siding had a simulated shingle look that set my house apart from all the others.  Hardie does sell a simulated shake style but it is significantly more expensive and I would have to special order it.  Bleah.

Fortunately my awesome brain came up with a great plan.  It’s really inexpensive too.

IMG_0017I’m going to take that regular 12 foot long siding plank and use my cut off saw to just cut slots in the board.  I went and picked up a single plank today for experimentation.

First I score and snap the 12 foot plan into three 4 foot lengths.  That way it will be easy for me to handle all alone by myself and should line up with the wall studs.

Next I measured out 6 inch lengths and marked them with a pencil.  (48 inches divided evenly by 6.)  All I had to do is slice on each mark with my cut-off saw.  The blade length automatically determined my 6 inch reveal.  The result pictured above looks pretty damn good.  I’m sold.  What do you think?

Each 12 foot plank costs $6.95 and I calculate the whole side of the house should end up costing me only $344.  Shit yeah!   Totally worth it and it will fit in my Prius.  I guess I’ll just have to get myself psyched up.  The hardest part of a large project is getting started on it.  Once you get going you wonder why you waited so long then suddenly it’s done.

Do I not kick ass?  What would you pay for me now ladies?

The next morning:

OOPS!  There’s a flaw in my plan.  Do you see it?
It came to me last night while I was lying in bed.  The slots are too long and there is about 3 inches of open slottness between each row.  Air and water would go right through slots to the sub-wall. Hmmm.   I’m going to have to recalculate.

I can reduce the reveal from 6 inches to 4.25″ maximum.   That would raise the cost to $410.  Around $100 more.  I guess it’s still worth it.  I won’t be paying labor to anyone so it’s still a steal.  I’m not sure I like the smaller tile look but I’ll let it grow on me.   It’s not too bad.  What do you think?