Buying a foreclosure – Plumbing

Oh, the things the uninitiated don’t think about when buying a foreclosure.  Like, do you know where the sewage clean out is?  How about the whole house shutoff?  Does the irrigation system work?  How?

Here are the answers as applicable to us:

  • Where’s the clean out?  Why, the previous owner poured the cement front stoop on top of it!
  • Where’s the whole house shutoff?  Buried far beneath the irrigation system stuff.  Like, truly buried.  In earth. So it’s a rusted bad gamble (plumber quote: “Don’t touch it.  Ever.”)
  • Does the irrigation system work?  Sure.  It does.  There’s no city required double check on it though.  And the fence company managed to hide some of the heads behind (and one actually beneath) the fence.

We started down this watery path because the water heater is as old as the house, and struggled to provide more than one short shower’s worth of hot water.  Unacceptable in a town as cold as Bend.  We dug up half the yard hunting for the shutoff only to finally discover it in the aforementioned area beneath the front irrigation controls.  We opted to dig out all around that and the irrigation in order to save labor charges because we were clearly gonna need a plumber.

IMG_0382One of the fun things about living next to an extinct (dormant?) volcano is that you’re atop nothing but lava rock.

IMG_0381Lots and lots of big, heavy lava rock.  This is why a rock drill is a default tool for the fencing companies around here.

So the plumbing guys came out and told us that in order to meet code we needed a new whole house shutoff, a whole house double check valve (which we lacked), and a separate double check for the irrigation.  We put them to work on the shutoff and main double check, only to find out after the fact that the city of Bend is putting in double checks on every house in the city limits on their own dime (well, on our taxes), and that we didn’t have to do it ourselves.

The plumbing company is assuring us they’re going to “make it right,” whatever that means.  We shall see.  In the meantime I worked with the plumber they sent out (he was good stuff, and none of the double check mess is his fault) and armed with the knowledge gained from that I’m going to attempt to tackle my irrigation woes on my own.

Oh, we also put in a low rent clean out in the crawlspace.  It’s not technically to code, but if we ever have a localized sewage problem it’ll do the trick.

I still don’t like plumbing, but I’m getting a little braver about delving into it.

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