Working Basement Bathroom and our VERY ODD hot water problems…

May 09 2021
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We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be a toilet a few years back I would not have believed you. Once I started working on this house though stranger and stranger things delight me. To be fair I’m sure I’m not the only one who has bounced up and down with excitement over a working toilet! Six years, hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars spent down here to finally, for the first time ever in this house’s history, have a real bathroom in the basement!

Why did this take so long? SO MANY REASONS. Not the least of which is that this house already has two working bathrooms. But now that we’ve basically got the living room complete down here we really needed a bathroom!

Nothing like hiking it up to the main floor a few times a night… (It meant we really weren’t spending much time down here.)

We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be

The sub pump works too! It worked fine when I installed it a few years ago but it was still a moment of holding my breath for me because it wouldn’t be the first “brand new” and “unused” thing that suddenly just decided to quit on us…

I have a confession to make.

I called a plumber.

Because even with a working toilet we still didn’t “technically” have a full working basement bathroom yet…

Long story summed up:

So, I purchased and installed an on demand water heater that is basically too big for this house.

I also ran the majority of my water lines with 3/4″ PEX but made the mistake of taking it down to 1/2″ at each bathroom because it was easier to work with. (To be fair the one and only other time I plumbed in a home it was in a city and 1/2″ water lines were typical and PLENTY big for water pressure in that situation.)

A large hot water heater combined with our well water pressure combined with the reduction to 1/2″ pipe translates to a situation where enough water isn’t always pulled through the water heater for it to kick on and actually heat the water.

Our sinks and our tub had no problem though we couldn’t “mix” in cold water at all. We simply set our hot water heater to our preferred temp and live with not being able to make it cooler without losing ALL hot water.

Not ideal, of course, but something we could tolerate.

The showers from hell…

To take a shower in our master bathroom we had to run the hot water at the tub too or the shower wouldn’t pull enough water for the water heater to heat it.

(The amount of water we were wasting made me crazy…)

BUMMER.

This is where my lack of plumbing experience absolutely bit me in the butt. I NEVER should have followed the recommended water heater size according to the manufacturer.

We may have three bathrooms and three showers and five sinks and three floors but the likely hood of any of them EVER being used at the same time is almost none and, of course, those recommendations were based on the type of water pressure that you get inside city limits… not a private well!

Besides the shower in the master bathroom the other two showers in the home have been used less than a dozen times that I can remember since I installed them back in 2015.

We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be

But they WORKED for years!

A few months ago we went to run hot water in the basement and the shower didn’t work AT ALL.

NOTHING but a cold dribble.

I checked the shower in our main floor bath then too and found that, no matter what I did with the handle, it would no longer run hot water no matter what. Though, unlike the basement bathroom, it was running cold water at least.

(So, yeah, we finally have a toilet but no shower so technically it wasn’t a working basement bathroom yet…. GRRRR, it was like every time I took a step forward I was pushed two steps back!)

After trying absolutely everything I could think of and find to try (don’t even mention “water mixing valve” or “anti scald device” in my presence…) I finally made the call and yes, it almost killed me.

I WAS SO MAD.

I was confronted by a situation where I now had the experience to want to call someone with more experience before I literally ripped a part two of our showers.

(I even found new hardware that’s old school: just a cold and hot water tap and two knobs – like a sink – which was stupidly hard to find. I swear they just keep making all of this crap more and more complicated.)

In my opinion there was absolutely no reason for those shower valves to have gone out.

Regardless of how I “felt” about it however both of them needed to be worked on and their problems were, obviously, caused by lack of use. No ripping out a wall to reach the hardware though, my plumber was able to fix them by flushing them out and I didn’t even need to get dirty.

I still feel like that was total BS though…

So, finally at last, we had an actual working basement bathroom!

We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be

We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be

While I had our plumber here I was going to ask him about what to do with our lack of water pressure problem with our hot water heater and our showers. But I didn’t have too!

I had already figured it out and managed to fix the problem with just a $100 part from Amazon.

Can I get a WOOPWOOP?!

I had no idea little inline pumps existed and it only took me ten minutes to add it to our hot water line (right after our water heater) and BAM, suddenly we have plenty of pressure in our hot water lines now. And I am kicking myself for not figuring this out MUCH sooner!

However, I admit it, I am someone who will live with something that’s mildly annoying if the fix could be a huge job and / or very expensive. But the water waste was really getting to me and we just shouldn’t have to run a sink or a tub to have hot water at our showers – it was just silly.

And now, for the first time ever, we don’t have to!

So now we don’t just have a working basement bathroom but three bathrooms that work better than ever. We can even mix the cold and hot water now too! Like normal people do in normal houses.

And I have a twice a month reminder in my phone to go run those showers so this doesn’t happen again! (Get a house they said, it’ll be fun they said… lol)

We officially, for the first time EVER, have a working basement bathroom! If you had told me that a major highlight in my life would be

Comments

  1. Marilyn W Majalca
    May 11, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Well, I’m impressed!

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