Oh yes, ventilation. I always took for granted that when I flushed something down the drain, it must be supplied with air to follow it. Like a full straw with your finger on the top, poor ventilation results in poor plumbing performance.
Currently, my toilet’s 3” pipe only has 1.5” of air available! My other 4” sewer line has the same, but it only has the sinks & shower on it. To add a toilet, I really need more of a supply. It turns out there is a 4” pipe sticking out of my roof, but it’s connected to an unused cast iron pipe running all the way to my cellar. Time to remove it!
I started by removing the old toilet elbow. It was made of lead, so it was soft and easy to persuade. This gave me an elbow which I could leverage to move this heavy pipe. Using my grinder (thanks Dad), I cut a ring most of the way around the pipe, but it wouldn’t break.
I needed some mechanical advantage, so I inserted an old iron splitting wedge into the crack. With a quick whack, two elbows hit the floor. Those are heavy! The pipe didn’t slide down as I had hoped, and I didn’t want to remove 3 feet at a time, so I decided to open up the wall in the bathroom. Here I exposed the pipe, and secured it with a ratchet strap and “come-a-long.” I cut it off above the joint, and hoisted the pipe vertically out of the floor.
Next, I supported the weight of the upper section, to remove the lower. These things are made to last, that’s for sure. I started to lower the upper portion, but it got stuck. Apparently (up in the attic) there was another flange. Whoever put it in made sure to leave no wiggle room around that pipe, and I would have to cut a few joists to get it to go down. I couldn’t raise it high enough to cut below the junction, as this is at the edge of my roof, with very little clearance. To make matters worse, I have blown-in insulation which likely would react badly to molten shards of hot iron, so using the grinder was out of the question. Oh boy…now what?
I decided to cut above the junction, and tried to employ my cordless reciprocating saw. However, I burned through 3 batteries on a metal cutting blade, and barely managed to score it! The next day, I got a carbide-grit blade for ‘abrasive metals’ and that was able to make progress. This time, however, the cut was much smaller, and without the wedge fitting, no amount of blunt force was breaking it.
I found a big flat head screwdriver, and that did the trick! I was able to lift up the pipe, and place my new ABS elbow underneath. Whew! As I was laying there in my attic, savoring the victory, I started thinking…
I looked at this stubborn pipe heading down below, surrounded by this fluffy mess. “Actually, it plugs that hole quite nicely,” I thought, “why don’t I just use it as my conduit for the light switch!?” I made sure to secure the new romex close to each end, to be sure it doesn’t chaff, and before long, my switch was ready!
I was on a roll (and already miserably messy) so I ran the line to the outlet & vanity light too. Finally, I went to the panel, and tidied those runs, ready for their breakers. As soon as there’s a stud to secure the vanity light to, I’ll be ready for my ‘rough-in’ electrical inspection!
Next, I opened up the doorway to my kitchen. (For those who haven’t followed, this is NOT a bearing wall.) TBear was over, so I put him to work. His eagerness quickly diminished, but he kept going. In addition to opening the floor plan, this will allow me to get my new stall shower to the bathroom.
First, we moved everything away from the wall, and turned off the power to it. The switch for my overhead fan/light would need to be relocated, and we took the opportunity to replace outlets too. We had it tore out and cleaned up in a day, so that felt really productive, and allowed us to enjoy the 4th of July weekend.
Next week I have something special scheduled, so keep an eye out for the next installment!