The Joys Of 120 Year Old Victorian Homes

The Joys Of 120 Year Old Victorian Homes

So yesterday was probably the coldest day in Western New York this year. It got down to about -10 here. Fortunately I now keep a close watch on the usual suspects when it comes to frozen water pipes in this house, but I did not see this coming. In the SW corner of the fireplace room there is a 4″ cast iron pipe that is covered by wood. It’s been there since at least 1922, as that was the last major renovation this home has seen, and the wallpaper covering it demonstrates that.

Apparently there has been a small crack in the pipe for a while, judging by the amount of rot under the wood covering that we never saw until yesterday. But we never noticed, because most of the water just nicely ran down the pipe where it was supposed to go. But yesterday we had the sink in the upstairs bathroom drizzling a little bit to keep the supply lines from freezing and my best guess is that the slow moving water froze in the 4″ drain pipe and clogged it.

Removal of 5 layers of wallpaper revealed this signature left by the designer when the home was renovated in 1922.

…Which brings us to yesterday morning, when I heard the distinct sound of rain coming from the fireplace room after Dan used the bathroom upstairs (eww!).

Fireplace room as seen from the door of my office. As you can see, pipes have leaked before!

Tearing the wood covering off revealed a lot of rotten wood, soggy plaster, mold, and a 3 foot crack in the pipe. I decided this was too big of a job for me to deal with, so I called a plumber, who is coming this morning. In the meantime, I attempted to temporarily seal the crack with epoxy, which was a waste of time and epoxy because the pipe was way too cold to let the epoxy set, even with a heat gun warming it all up.

4″ cast iron pipe. Tape is my attempt to hold epoxy in the widest part of crack until it set.

I love this grand old home, and hopefully we will have it renovated into our dream sometime in the near future, but boy what a headache sometimes!

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