Redone in Copper

Sorry for the dearth of posts. For some reason my phone's forward-facing camera stopped working, so I could only take pictures in selfie move. So all the images in this post are now mistagged as selfies. Plus, you know, they kind of suck because the selfie camera is not really good for photos of things.

Actually, that's kind of funny. Anyway, I haven't taken a lot of photos this week because of this hilarity.

Anyway, the rough plumbing has been motoring along. The plumber really wanted to redo the PEX plumbing in copper, and since he's responsible for designing the plumbing system, we agreed. Though I am a little bummed about all the work we did going away.

Here is the lavatory, replumbed:

The old lavatory

And here's the shower. Since we were replumbing everything, we are also installing a system that recirculates hot water so it takes less time for the shower to heat up. In California we can't do traditional recirculating systems because they use too much energy, so we use a system that sends the not-yet-hot water back into the cold side until it gets hot enough (sound confusing? This page has a diagram that explains it a little better). I think that is what that business with the extra pipe is there, though I'm not 100 percent sure. Since we didn't end up using copper when we plumbed it ourselves I didn't spend a huge amount of time learning the details of shower plumbing in copper (which is very different from PEX).

The old shower

At the same time, the plumbers have also finished the plumbing for the back bathroom.

Here is the wall-mounted faucet for the lavatory:

Lavatory plumbing

Note that the drain is in copper as well. That is way more time and expense than we put into our own plumbing.

And here is the shower valve:

Shower valve

Sorry for the crappy quality. Imagine my face off to the side of it, scowling in concentration as I attempt to take photos of things behind me.

Anyway, this is another thermostatic valve. I'm a big fan of being able to just set the temperature and then every time you get in the shower it's in your sweet spot already.

Tub plumbing

And here's the tub. We had a bit of a go-round on this for a somewhat complicated reason.

Tub fillers are allowed to have as high a flow as you want, at unlimited temperature. Showers must have flow restrictors and a valve that controls the temperature to prevent scalding (I guess on the principle that you may screw up and hit the controls while shower, whereas if you do that in the tub you are protected by the mass of the water around you).

We have here a tub filler that connects to a handheld shower, so you can wash up while in the tub, but there's no overhead shower. So the handheld shower needed a pressure-balancing valve (no need for thermostatic here because this is not a primary shower; it's for things like hair washing while taking a bath in the tub). The shower valve had to be accessible, which normally would not be a problem because you just put it right behind the controls, and if you need to access it, you unscrew the controls and there it is, but in this case we skipped the controls because we just put a diverter valve on the tub filler. So the shower lines run over to the nearby closet of the back bedroom, where the valve is accessible through a panel, and then back to the handheld.

Anyway, before we arrived at that solution we had multiple discussions with the plumbing supplier and the plumber and the contractor and me in pretty much every combination possible, but none with all four of us. Maybe that would have been more efficient. At any rate it is working now.

This weekend we are moving the last of the random crap we have in the house out, because we have rough inspections early next week, and then the drywallers are coming through. Then the warm boards are going down on the floor, and the hydronic heating will be installed.

In the meantime, our dining room at the Admiralty looks like a lighting warehouse as the various fixtures arrive, I'm meeting with the contractor tomorrow to talk about cabinet dimensions, I need to design the back stair handrail/guardrail, and we are interviewing some landscape architects to talk about a garden masterplan in the next week or so. And maybe I'm getting a new cell phone with a functional camera. Busy times.

posted by ayse on 09/29/16