Plumbing nightmare.

I’ve avoided posting about this because it’s been both so infuriating and so depressing I don’t want to “contaminate” my blogging pleasure just to write about it.  But write about it I will,  because the situation has reached a point of ludicrousness that would be funny if it wasn’t making me feel all ragey and insane.  Right now I just feel like screaming and I feel helpless too, because there’s really not a damn thing I can do to get it resolved.

Most of you know I rent my duplex.   The house I live in is over 100 years old (it was built in 1908) and has lots of charm and many of its original features.  However, old houses (that haven’t been kept up with and brought up to code) have their dark side.   The darkest and most irritating thing about this house is the atrocious plumbing.

I don’t think the plumbing was ever modernized or brought up to code.   There is no water pressure valve, at least not one that’s easily accessible.  There is no accessible crawlspace to access the plumbing, which means if anything goes wrong, the only way to tell what the problem is is to dig up the kitchen floor and get under the house that way.

The water pressure has always been terrible.  But over the past two weeks, it’s gotten really bad.   So bad you cannot take a shower at all, and it takes me 45 minutes to fill the tub.  By the time the tub is sufficiently full to actually get in it to take a bath (about halfway) the water has already turned cold.   If you are running any faucet in the house (there are three — the tub, the bathroom sink, and the kitchen sink), you cannot run another one at the same time.

I have been texting and calling my landlord and at first all he did was ignore me.  (I do not have a lease; it is month to month–so technically I have no rights as a renter).   I’ve been saving all the text messages in case I need them later.     I finally lost my patience. After an angry text from me, in which I threatened to not pay the rent until the problem was fixed (and let him know I’d have to buy a gym membership just so I could take showers), he told me to find a plumber myself, one who would do a “cheap” estimate.

I do not know any plumbers, and know zilch about what they charge or who is any good, so I had a friend of my daughter’s who is an unlicensed plumber look at the situation.  He said he couldn’t even do an estimate because there is no access to even look and see where the problem would be.   He also told me that fixing it would involve several things, including carpentry since the kitchen floor would need to be torn up and replaced.

I texted back my landlord explaining that the problem involved a lot more than just snaking a sink, and contracting would be involved. I also reminded him that as the tenant, researching plumbers and contracting was not something I knew how to do and was not my responsibility anyway.    He answered back, saying he’d send his “guy” (a drunk handyman named Roger with a bad attitude) out to assess the situation.  Fine.  I didn’t care.  Let his drunk jimmy-rig something.  As long as I got water, I didn’t care if he had to use drinking straws and duct tape them together. And put a piece of plywood or something over the huge hole he’d have to dig in my kitchen floor to access the pipes.

He said Roger would be out yesterday or today.  Well, he didn’t show up either day.    I called my landlord (Roger refuses to speak directly to tenants) to ask about this.  I was told that Roger had arranged to send out the electric company to look at the wiring for the house, since he’d have to use a backhoe to dig up part of the yard to get to the plumbing.  They were supposed to be here this afternoon. I informed my landlord that hadn’t happened.

He told me to call them myself.   I called Duke Energy, and was told they didn’t take care of “underground services.”  I was given the phone # to a government agency that supposedly takes care of “underground” matters.    I only got a menu of options, and finally was asked to submit a “ticket number” to get help.

Huh? A ticket number? I didn’t have a ticket number!  I called back my landlord and asked him what the hell I was supposed to do.   I couldn’t call Roger either since I don’t have his number and he doesn’t want tenants calling.  My landlord assured me Roger was “taking care of it” and he would be in touch with me when he has more information. He also told me that he could evict me if I don’t pay my rent, regardless of the fact I am getting practically no water.  Because I don’t have a lease, he could probably actually do this, so I agreed to pay the rent, but told him I’d like it reduced. He said he would consider this.

Meanwhile I have no real solution to my plumbing issue, and tomorrow night is supposed to go down to 17 degrees and the pipes (which are much thinner than standard and are also not insulated) are very likely to freeze.  Last winter I was able to avoid that nightmare (I’ve had my pipes freeze before and then burst when it got warm again) by keeping all the faucets dripping when it got cold, but now I don’t even have enough water pressure to run more than one faucet at a time, even at a drip.   So I have no idea what I am going to do.

Please don’t suggest moving, because I don’t have enough money to do that. I don’t expect any advice anyway; I just needed to vent.