Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Yay: New Door, Nay: Frozen Pipes

Posted on | January 21, 2011 | 14 Comments

Check it out we have a real functioning back door! Wow, I know! O.K. maybe not that exciting but we’ve never had a back door that properly closed or even locked since we bought the house. The biggest bonus? No more snowdrifts! The old door was not that the best at keeping out the past four snowstorms. Now we just shut the door and stay clean and dry inside. The door still needs to be painted and sanded but we’ll get to that come Spring.

So I started with the good news…Who wants to be a Debby Downer on a Friday? Be prepared this is gross. The pipes are frozen, again. Well…we think they’re frozen? The water on the second floor works fine but it smells like poo on the first floor. Either the drain is clogged or it’s frozen. I’m on my way down to NY for and left Greg to deal with the situation.

I just got a text from Greg: Called a plumber. The salt (he tried salt you use on your sidewalks to try melt it) and the acid did not work. The smell is overwhelming. Imagine cat poo soup! Makes you want to throw up, right?

So if you have any grand or creative ideas of what it could be please share.

p.s. we already tried the typical fixes hot water and the good old blow torch. Below photos of the sun setting on my train ride down to NY in the snow.

p.p.s Big sis! I’ll be at your hour house around 7 and I’m kinda stinky because I haven’t showered in two days but I brought new color books for the girls!

Related Posts:
House Renovation: Ceiling & Frozen Pipes
Searching For An Old Back Door

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14 Responses to “Yay: New Door, Nay: Frozen Pipes”

  1. G
    January 21st, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    It’s not ice – the sulfuric acid would have melted it – it’s got to be a clog or ROOTS AGAIN! Bartlett and Steadman (awesome plumbers) will be here at some point to take care of it this time. I told them no rush – it’s just me, I can hold it for days. ;)

    If the acid burns through the clog before they get here, I’ll still have them take a look. They probably have a Ridgid K-1500 which will tear you a new a-hole if you aren’t careful.


  2. Katy Elliott
    January 21st, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

    It wasn’t me who clog the pipes! Yuck gross, actually I don’t wanna know.


  3. Elizabeth
    January 21st, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    This is why I love your blog- you’re honest and open, even about the uh… “shittiest” aspects of home ownership. Also, your little communique in the comments section cracked me up.

    Good luck, and happy weekend!


  4. Katy Elliott
    January 21st, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    ha! It’s because I’m still on the train so I can’t moderate his comments.


  5. G
    January 21st, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    The back door looks great! Thank you Dana, Geof, and Dana (www.buswellbrothers.com) Looks Great!


  6. Kim
    January 21st, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    Argh, the trials of owning an old home. Love that home of yours though, and commend you for taking it on!

    Your photos from the train are beautiful. Can I paint from them? Let me know!

    Enjoy NY!


  7. Erica
    January 22nd, 2011 @ 6:31 am

    You might want to look into replacing your stack (also called waste or drain pipe) at the same time as you’re having other plumbing work done if it’s cast iron.

    Mine is cast iron and cracked in a spot a few months ago (it’s about 140 years old), I had water — sewage water, but liquid, not #2 — in my basement every time I ran water from the 3rd floor (bath, toilet, sink). The plumber fixed the crack, but showed me how thin the cast iron is in other spots and suggested replacing it all with plastic. Which, like those plastic bags in the ocean, will last for ever and not corrode.

    It doesn’t sound like this is your immediate problem, but it might help forestall future problems.

    GOod luck!


  8. Josephine
    January 22nd, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    One of our friends had their sewer back up across their downstairs bath/kitchen floor when they drained the upstairs tub. It ended up being a tree root, the guy used a grinder and then everything was fine – we’ll except their kitchen floor which needed replaced. Sorry, sewer problems are just gross – no one should ever have to deal with them. I guess home damage from a back up isn’t covered by most home insurance policies unless you request it and then pay extra. I keep meaning to call ours since I know enough people that have had problems – shockingly they all live in old houses!


  9. Jill
    January 22nd, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    Cat-poo soup is not a good thing! I really feel for you guys.
    There’s always something with home ownership. I think the hardships of home ownership should be highlighted more.
    The “American dream” can often turn into an” American nightmare”. Our home has a problem with water. When it rains really hard our back office is at risk for flooding. A few weeks ago I watched the water seep in the office at 11:00 at night. It reminded me of the elevator seen from The Shinning. Kind of
    a nightmare!


  10. Laura.
    January 23rd, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    ew! BUT your photos of the winter sunset whooshing by make up for it. so beautiful :)


  11. Monica Dunkley
    January 23rd, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

    oh gross!

    hope it’s all sorted soon!


  12. Katy Elliott
    January 23rd, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    Thanks for all your nice comments. The plumber is coming over Monday.


  13. G
    January 24th, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Jeff from ASAP Drains Inc. just unclogged the drain. It was a few roots which caused a slow drain which caused “build-up” which eventually froze. It took about 20 minutes with a really old snake, about twice the size of this one: http://www.katyelliott.com/blog/2008/08/weekend-warriors-tackling-floors-and-clogged-drain.html
    (nothing like the K-1500). The bill hasn’t arrived yet but I figure it will be in the 120-180 range, well worth it because renting a snake is about $70 bucks a day.
    Btw: I learned something today – There are 2 plumbing “specialties” for the 2 types of plumbing (ie. Water/Heating pipes Vs. Drain Pipes), call the right one or they will just subcontract out to the proper plumber anyway.


  14. Julie
    January 26th, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    The train photos are just lovely! So smokey and moody. Hope you get to come to a house with nice working pipes!


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