Light from the basement shining up through the drain hole
Let me start at the beginning.
Some (shortish) time after we moved in, Troy tried to take a bath and couldn't get enough hot water to fill the tub. He warned me that we would have to boil water to take a bath. I took this to heart and have not had a bath since we moved here. (Cue sympathy.) This is very sad when I think on it because I can really enjoy a good bath.
Fast forward to this week when Troy was feeling very sore and achy and announced he was going to have a bath. "What? I thought we couldn't do that?" I reply with my eyebrows highly arched in surprise. It turns out Troy's earlier comments applied to the original water heater which we replaced shortly after moving here. (Probably not long after Troy had tried to take that bath.) Only I didn't realize it was a whole new ball game. So there goes 2+ years of bath taking right down the drain (so to speak). I can tell you, ignorance is not bliss.
Anyway, while taking this bath this week, Troy gets completely fed up with the tub. The original bath mentioned above had already led to him caulking shut the overflow. (Previously the overflow worked, only it wasn't connected to any pipes so that water just poured into the basement quite freely.) It was, however, still leaking a steady drip. The drain also leaked pretty steadily. That's a lot of water flowing into the basement!
Troy decides he's had enough (like I said, he was fed up) and rips out the previous overflow cover etc, cuts a piece of appropriate hard plastic we've got lying around and caulks it to the tub wall.We now have no overflow safety at all, but we figure we are responsible enough not to let the tub overflow anyway. And at least we can have some deeper baths.
So removing the overflow also removed the toggle switch to close the drain. We had bought an alternate drain cover so we were prepared for that. What we weren't prepared for was the complete failure of the drain pipe. The pipe wasn't really attached at the upper connection (overflow/drainswitch); it was just sitting next to the spot it was supposed to be connected too. (And for some reason Troy's original fix of more caulk just didn't quite solve the problem.)
Removing the overflow cover and drainswitch shifted the top of the pipe which led to the revelation that it wasn't really attached at the lower connection either. It was just sitting against the drain hole, but generally plumbing prefers a nice water tight connection. Good plumbing anyway. And, in light of all this, you will not be surprised to hear that the connection a little further down where it meets the main sewer pipe was not good either; it was just sitting on top of that pipe.
Troy came upstairs to where I was finishing my ironing holding the rusty, dripping pipe in his hand. I'm not sure what he said and whatever words he used doesn't matter because all I heard was that I would not be taking a shower in the morning. He assures me, though, that it will be fixed tomorrow.
Handyman tip: While working on this project, Troy shared with me the tip for recapping your tube of caulk. Wrap the open end with aluminum foil kept in place with a rubber band. He's neither found nor read about anything that works better. There, now your time reading this post wasn't wasted!
-a grubby christina