The One Where We Got Pipes for Christmas

Much like every Christmas, we kicked ours off with a pinhole leak right before Thanksgiving. It was in the basement so nothing was damaged, but the pipe was heading into the – ahem – twenty-two year old hot water heater so Honey called a plumber in to assess the whole scutation after fixing it. The plumber uncovered three more pinhole leaks in the same piece of copper and we knew… it was going to be the Christmas where we got new pipes.

Our community has a pervasive problem in houses spanning decades from the 60s – early 90s of the copper pipes springing pinhole leaks. We got our first one the day we moved into this house almost fifteen years ago. And, since then, Honey has probably fixed twenty-five more. We love the ones in the basement because they are easy. But the ones upstairs have then required drywall and paint repair, and lots of angst and irritation. Every time we left town we cut off the water at the street to help prevent a full on disaster. Honey is a patient man, but finally reached his limit and said we had to get new pipes.

I had a few weeks to mentally prepare. In the walk through, the plumbers basically pointed to every Christmas tree and said “that needs to come down.” And so, Mother helped me completely undecorate the house on December 10. We did make it as fun as we could, singing Grinch music as we stormed the boys’ rooms to “cancel Christmas”. :-) The following weekend Honey and I emptied out every cabinet, bookshelf near plumbing, taking photos off walls, etc. It was a massive undertaking.

Here are some pics of the project. Oooofffff. The only room untouched was my office, where I hung out with the puppies for two days straight.

We are now copper free and hope this will be the end of our leak worries! Oh, and we are the proud owners of a new hot water heater too. The walls have all been patched and painted and I’m tying to let go of the fact that the paint job was mediocre at best. My bestie spent a whole day helping “put humpty dumpty back together again”, vacuuming, dusting, rehanging pictures, wiping out cabinets, etc. on the main level. The upstairs is still a bit of a disaster but we vacated our Grinchy home for one more more festive – Mother’s!!

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6 thoughts on “The One Where We Got Pipes for Christmas

  1. What an ordeal!! I’m glad you had some help from friends and family. We had to replace our water heater recently. I’m having buyers remorse wishing we had gone with a tankless version.

    1. We strongly considered it but it was 3x the price AND there was an issue with venting it so the plumbers and Honey agreed the traditional hot water heater was the best option for us.

  2. What an awful ordeal to go through during the season! It just goes to show you never know the “real story”. 🫣 Wow! Your trip away is well deserved and I think you’re entitled to all the nog you want ~ rum included! 🥃 Enjoy Tybee and Merry Christmas! 🌲 Jane ~ San Diego 🌲

  3. We went through a similar thing back in March with a pinhole leak. Had to replace some sheetrock, sand and repaint the ceiling. Thankfully, we were home, but my husband said he was going to look into putting a device on our phone that sensors any water leak and alerts you. Our home was built in the early 90’s and we have Quest pipes (there was a class action lawsuit some years ago). Thats really a shame you had to go through this during the holidays and had to un-do Christmas. We looked into a tankless water heater as well and yes it was triple the price and we had an issue to with having to re-route piping so we went back with a standard water heater. I will say if you got 22 years out of your water heater, then it was a great water heater!

  4. Wow, what a job! Seeing your beautiful home “undone” like that during Christmas must have been painful. Glad you are through the worst of it!

    1. I guess there is really no good time, but it is a huge relief to have it done! I still need to put the upstairs back together again!

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