In this update, I demolish an old chimney, and my plumbing parts come in!First, some notes on the parts. I’m a fan of Amazon, and a Prime member, so when I go shopping, that’s the first place I look. However, they’re not always the best source for low-cost items. In this case, Supplyhouse.com was $77.61 cheaper on a $200+ supply order. (Pretty significant, if you ask me.)
I found that there was only a 1 cent difference on many fittings between the brass and plastic version, so I went brass whenever that happened. Since the fancy Sharkbite press-fittings were costly, I only got them for the locations when I’m transitioning from the new PEX to old PVC. I also saved on having lots of shutoff valves. By using a PEX manifold, many fixtures will have their own line & valve!
While I waited on these supplies, I decided to demolish an old chimney. “What does that have to do with the bathroom?” I’ll pretend you asked. Well, I plan to open the walkway between kitchen and living space, where this chimney was. In fact, I have to if I’m going to get the shower stall to the bathroom!
I had located the chimney beneath the blown-in insulation, along with the upper half which was knocked over and covered up too. I will have to remove it all eventually, but the short-term goal was just the lower piece. I borrowed a large shop-vac from a friend, and rigged its discharge to shoot out the window. Sure, it had a filter, but ash is pretty fine stuff!
Using a trowel & bucket, I excavated the insulation, and stemmed the stuffing with boards. Then I dismantled the chimney brick-by-brick from above. They were very old and loose, with only a few needing any persuasion from the hammer. The center was packed full of ash & debris. Stacking the bricks and sucking up the mortar meant little mess for the kitchen.
Eventually, I got down as far as I could reach, and some debris knocked out the decorative pie pan covering the hole. That scared the dickens out of the kids. That’s when I knew it was time to transition to the underside, but first, I nailed some boards tightly over the top.
To my relief, when I opened the cavity in the kitchen, I found only 1 remaining bottom layer for me to remove! That was quickly accomplished, and the task done. When I was cleaning out the vacuum, though, I decided my friend deserved a new filter.
Not long thereafter, my parts came in, and I was eager to get the “wet stuff” started. First, I decided on the ‘optimal’ location for the manifold, which would distribute all the water in my house. I found a wall under the bathroom, with plenty of space to route tubing.
Next, I installed two studs at a width ideal for the manifold, and laid a scrap piece of thin plywood over that. This would keep it off the wall (in case moisture collected on it) and give me lots of surface to attach the PEX to.
With the water source in place, I decided to focus on sewer, and locate where the new trains needed to be. Unfortunately, I learned that the stone wall protrudes into my bathroom about 10 inches, which prohibits me from placing drains close to the wall. This completely ruined my floor plan, so instead of continuing, I moved onto another side project.
As part of the project, I planned to install an outlet on the other side of the house, to save me 100′ of hose when watering. For this purpose, I had purchased a 12″ hydrant, which should be plenty for my exterior wall. From the cellar, the first board I put a hole in merely sandwiched the stone foundation, as a mount for the window. (My drill bits aren’t designed for stone work.)
Opening the tongue and groove ceiling, I revealed some pristine magazine pages from the “Ladies Home Journal” dated 1917! It was neat to see ads for Welches and Crisco from nearly 100 years ago!
It took many hours (with the wrong tools) to make a sloppy, 2-sided hole that would allow the 3/4″ OD pipe fit through. In the end I learned it was WELL worth $20 to get a long bit from the hardware store, also that there was 10 inches of material on the exterior wall! Fortunately, that still puts my valve inside, and leave me a little to spare.
In the next installment, I’ll have to figure out a new floor plan in order to move forward…