Canceled plans and plumbing problems

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    plumbing problems

    I said I want to learn how to be more self sufficient this year and my house certainly gives me the opportunity to do that! This week a leak occurred in one of our three bathrooms. Something similar last week happened to Ashley also… there must be bad luck with the plumbers!

    My spouse noticed that the basement floor was a bit wet and the drip came from the ceiling above where one of our toilets is. Luckily the leak is very slow and small so it didn’t cause damage like mold or rotted underbody. The moisture sometimes seems to dry out on its own, so it doesn’t always come out actively.

    At first we thought it might be a problem with the toilet gasket, so we replaced it, which cost us about $25 in materials. We thought the problem was fixed when the water dried up, but a little moisture returned the next day.

    The leak continues

    At this point we began to wonder if it was the toilet that was causing the moisture or the vent pipe for the septic tank that was above the toilet. Instead of calling in a plumber, we decided to solve the problem ourselves. This year, we want to better solve our home and car problems, not only to save money but also to become more self-sufficient.

    It can be difficult to find contractors in our rural area who are reputable and available when you need them, so we try to be less dependent on outside help. When we had our water heater replaced last year, the plumber forgot to reinstall a drain pipe, flooding our basement and ruining our floor and several closets.

    The cleaning was a huge hassle. We didn’t get a discount when we asked the plumber about it and decided it wasn’t worth pursuing. After dealing with a few bad contractors and hearing other homeowners’ stories, I’m starting to believe the adage, «If you want it done right, do it yourself.» So I’m trying to start this year to work on my DIY skills. I might even take a home automation course at the local community college to learn more.

    The moisture could be condensation

    After opening the wall and inspecting the vent pipe, it appears to be a condensation issue. We also had problems with condensation in our attic. Our roofer added extra venting and advised us to run a dehumidifier. So we positioned our basement dehumidifier just below the bathroom leak, and it seems to be drying fine. The moisture hasn’t returned in a few days.

    Research online also revealed that a lack of insulation could be causing this moisture build-up. So we will monitor the situation and add more insulation around the vent pipe this weekend. Hopefully this all dries up and we will have the satisfaction of solving this problem ourselves. But if we can’t get the leak under full control soon, we’ll bring in a carefully selected expert.

    It feels good to at least try to fix an issue that would have seemed «incomprehensible» to us just a few months ago. We used to call a plumber at the first sign of trouble, but now we’re taking the opportunity to expand our knowledge of home improvement and maintenance. Even though we didn’t manage to fix it, we learned a lot by trying! Embarrassingly, I didn’t even know septic systems needed vent piping until now.

    Parents did not come to visit

    In another stroke of bad luck, my parents couldn’t come visit us this week. My father was struggling with gout and edema in his legs and feet, so his doctor advised him not to travel. And it’s good that he decided not to visit us because he had to go to the hospital this week with chest pains. We don’t have the best hospitals in our rural area, so I’m glad he was still in Massachusetts and was able to get better care.

    He’s had two heart attacks, so he’s not playing around when it comes to chest pains, especially since some of his recent blood test results were a bit off. Unfortunately, the paramedics couldn’t figure out exactly what’s wrong with him. He will soon undergo an echocardiogram and be examined by several specialists. Hopefully they can give him some answers.

    Planning for the financial future of the parents

    This health crisis has got my sister and I thinking about our parents’ financial future. They have no plan for retirement and have not yet made a decision about where they will live. We fear they may not be able to afford the soaring rents and real estate prices in the greater Boston area on a steady income.

    Although there are several good 55+ and assisted living communities in the Boston area, they have waiting lists that are several years long. They also require six-figure deposits and monthly rent payments. We’re not sure our parents could afford those upfront costs even if they could handle the monthly payments since they didn’t save much.

    My parents don’t want to talk about retirement provision, although my father will be 68 this year and has frequent health problems. While things could change, I don’t think I can help them financially without going off track for my own retirement. My sister is in a similar situation.

    If you’ve been through this with your parents, do you have any advice on how to deal with it?

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    Canceled plans and plumbing problems post first appeared on Blogging Away Debt.

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