And here, on one length of pipe, is just about everything you should NEVER use to fix a leak.
Change Order? I'll Show Them...
I've seen this with PVC a few times, but it was always going on behind the wall. For a urinal, why not bust the wall and do the rough-in right? The answer is probably laziness, although it might involve alcohol.
Thanks for the image goes to user dethmachine999 on the social media site Reddit.
Please STOP with the braided stainless steel hose!
Time after time here at the nightmares the worst examples seem to have two things in common: PVC piping and (as here) braided stainless steel hose. And why? Because for the seasoned professional they're a flexible piping option, but for the lazy hack they're a crutch. Thanks for the photo goes to user smccoy1087 on the social media site Reddit.
Yeah, But Can You Fix It?
There's always that one customer who just doesn't seem to understand that there simply comes a time when your water heater HAS to be replaced.
It's Actually Much Worse Than It Looks
I've seen this a few times, where the piping actually accumulates to make a cage around the various valves, pumps and appliances. Usually the culprits are space constraints, lack of time, and poor planning. Many thanks to user choose_a_username on the social media site Reddit.
Rough Day at The Office
Fun fact: back in the day they used to set toilets in place with putty. This is what's left of a 1950s-era installation that used about 5 lbs. of the stuff. An enormous hassle -- but kind of a cool artifact of the craft; lead bend, brass flange, even candle wicking on the threads.
Thanks to user Plumbingpdx on the social media site Reddit for the image and the story.
A key part of bad plumbing - bad soldering
In case anyone was wondering, this is NOT how you solder pipe. The solder blotches, the uneven joints, the obvious heat damage all tell the tale. And yes, this photo is from the plumber who is about half-way through pulling all the old work out to do a complete re-pipe on the entire installation.
Thanks for the image goes to user EthanPatton67 on the social media site Reddit.
Kitchen remodel surprise
The installer of this pipe cut through five studs to put in the line. Five! The homeowner discovered this during a kitchen remodel.
Whenever the plumber and the carpenter are that far out of agreement it speaks to poor planning, poor training, or downright spite. Thanks to the folks at StackExchange for the picture.
This DIY grinder pump is a terrible idea
You almost have to admire the ingenuity even as you cringe at the stupidity. Somebody obviously went to a good deal of trouble for a solution the can't have worked very well for very long (if at all). Do you think they just left it running, or had it on some kind of switch?
Many thanks go out to user coolhandluke45 on the social media site Reddit.
Do I call the plumber or animal control?
Electricians have that burned-to-a-crisp squirrel story; HVAC techs have the racoon in the dryer vent story; but NOBODY beats the plumber with the baby crocodile in the bathtub story.
Many thanks to the good folks at Roto Rooter for the picture.
Steel pipe with copper elbows is asking for trouble
I don't see a dielectric fitting on this install. In fact, it looks like they just had some copper elbows lying around and decided to use them. Which is probably going to lead to all kinds of corrosion issues down the road.
On the bright side, this probably means work for a plumber who knows what he's doing! Thanks to the RIDGID online forum for this pic.
A plumber's Gordian Knot
It's kind of like looking at an M.C. Escher print. Is that actually a sideways P-trap there? Legend says that Alexander the Great solved the actual puzzle of the Gordian Knot by taking out his sword and hacking it in two. I'd recommend a similar course with this one: tear the whole thing out and start over.
Thanks to user wcollins260 on the social media site Reddit for the image.
Release the Kraken!
Priceless. The big box store must have been having a sale on flex duct. Photo courtesy of EnergyVanguard.com
Thousands in water damage from one bent end cap
A persistent leak, a terrible smell, and no plumber able to identify the problem -- until the homeowners called a plumber who wasn't afraid to rip out the expensive cabinetry.
Lo and behold, past the extensive mold and water damage, an old stub capped with a push-type cap. Seems the cabinet installer had bent the pipe ever-so-slightly to get clearance. It had been leaking for at least two years.
Between the cabinetry and the mold remediation the homeowner is looking at thousands of dollars in expenses. Thanks for Reddit user 20pennySpike for this class-A Plumbing Nightmare.
This monster could be under YOUR house!
It looks like at least a decade's worth of bad decisions all in one section of plumbing.
THIS is why you don't vent a condensing boiler with metal pipe!
The thermal efficiencies you can attain with a condensing boiler have made them extremely popular -- and unfortunately that means popular with DIY-ers as well.
Here you can see the installer actually used PVC for part of the venting, but then tried to connect it to metal venting (presumably an older section they were too lazy to replace).
The result: an easily preventable Plumbing Nightmare when the corrosive condensate breaks down the pipe.
That is NOT how a plumbing trap works!
It defies logic, it defies physics, it defies plain common sense. For the final time, people, knowing how to cement PVC does NOT make you a plumber!
Thanks to user eircheard on the social media site Reddit.
Up in flames
This was inside a 12-year-old furnace that was being replaced. It’s always a good idea to keep the directions handy although they’re hard to read when they’re burned. Photo courtesy of Thomas Steiger, Area51HVAC.com.
Out of sight, out of mind
Illegal toilet waste piping. The inspector will insist that this be brought up to code. Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
I don't have to go THAT bad...
Sunny Florida, where some plumbing problems can be more challenging than others.
The water goes down, up, down, up, down.
But is it art?
Once the guy who was constructing the Kraken in his basement was done, he gave his leftover flex duct to this guy. Nice creative duct “supports.” And what happened to the front panel for this furnace?
Laziness trumps all
Yet another DIY nightmare.
Frozen pipes can make for a real nightmare
An example of extreme water damage from burst pipes via McAdams Plumbing, Denver, CO.
But wait, it gets worse...
Photo from onetimeplumber.com.
A plumber's bad day at the office is not like most people's bad day at the office.
A combination of metal fatigue, corrosion and sediment build-up has this flange on its last legs.
It does a body good
We can’t even begin to explain this. And what’s the doorknob supposed to do? Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
A VERY bad day at the office
So what could have happened here? Misplaced cleanout? No trap in the floor drain? Any way you slice it this is a real nightmare to deal with.
Image credit goes to Reddit user CoolHandLuke45.
"That should hold 'er"
Whenever you replace pipe with a piece of hose, it’s a good idea to use lots and lots of hose clamps. And stand back. And maybe wear a poncho. Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
Always have a spare
It looks like this homeowner decided that two traps are better than one. Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
Didn't tee off the cold supply line
Hard to figure out how something like this happens. Maybe somewhere the spec got switched from single-handle faucet to hot and cold taps and the installer was... confused? Trying to keep two different bosses happy? Maybe?
Anyways, it means nothing but warm water for whoever is using the sink. Thanks to jdoss06 on the social media site Reddit for the picture.
Coal to oil conversion
Yikes, that's a lot of asbestos. (Photo courtesy of Dave Yates.)
Seen better days
Sometimes in trying to solve a problem you just end up making bigger problems for yourself.
Who need beams?
Out of site, out of mind. Well, until the plumbing falls apart and floods your place.
And we all know that misplaced truss can almost never be regained...
Urinal? More like ur-in-my-way.
What's the worst that could happen?
We have a feeling that this is not going to turn out well. Photo courtesy of Thomas Steiger, Area51HVAC.com.
A little short
Measure twice, install once. (Photo courtesy of Dave Yates.)
Bubbles, bubbles everywhere...
So you're a brand-new plumber and this is what you find on your very first call. Turns out the main line was clogged and before they knew about it the homowners did a load of laundry and followed it up with a bubble bath! Photo and explanation from Reddit user KamikazeWarDog.
Hard water, hard times
“Madame, can I interest you in a water conditioning system?” Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
Careful with that plunger!
This goes to show why your wife shouldn't plunge the sink while you're on the toilet. Our friend Allan Ferguson, Omega Plumbing & Electrical, Thornleigh NSW, Australia, used this photo in marketing materials 8-10 years ago.
Are you SURE you want to be a plumber?
Some days being a plumber is just plain hard work. This 4" double wye weighs about 150 lb. The plumber on the job had to pull it out from 12' inside a 5' deep tunnel, all by himself.
Thanks to user Havinsman2 on the social media site Reddit for the pic. Now go buy yourself a beer.
Just be glad the toilet does not drain into the sink
Let's hope this is some sort of temporary fix...
Necessity -- the mother of invention.
Needs more drainage
I guess you can never have enough drains. This is what happens when a homeowner gets hold of some PVC pipe and a can of solvent cement. Photo courtesy of Steve Ebels, Area51HVAC.com.
This grease trap seems to be doing a better job spreading the grease than trapping the grease.
Photo from Reece’s DIY disaster gallery on the Architecture and Interior news blog at www.bookmarc.com.au.
Help, I'm trapped!
Our friends John Mesenbrink and Eric Aune at Mechanical Hub always uncover some creative trapways. Hey, what's that smell? Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
So who is the bad guy here?
Is it the plumber for running his pipe along the top plate? Or is it the HVAC tech for cutting the pipe? Either way you slice it (heh) it's a problem that could have been prevented with better planning and communication.
Many thanks for the photo to user Rainman516 on the social media site Reddit.
Okay, this DIY PVC piping has FINALLY gone too far!
We see a lot of crazy PVC piping here in the Nightmares gallery, but this takes the cake. We're not sure if this is properly a Plumbing Nightmare or more of an Auto Maintenance Nightmare!
But given that PVC probably can't withstand the kind of vibration to be found on the open road, not to mention that GASOLINE DISSOLVES PVC and this person is using it for a section of fuel line, we think it easily falls under the "human folly" clause for inclusion.
Thanks go to user OGRuss on the social media site Reddit.
Accident waiting to happen
Venting a water heater like this is asking for trouble.
Is there going to be more tile? More drywall? Something?
I THINK it's waterproof...
Cable ties don’t stop leaks. The result of this misadventure was thousands of dollars in water damage. Photo courtesy of Mark Eatherton, Area51HVAC.com.
Corrosion ate my water heater!
Non-reactive fittings like brass would probably have been the better way to go on this water heater installation. Looks like it's time to find a new water heater -- as well as a trained professional plumber!
A bad boiler job discovered by Aubin & Sons Plumbing & Heating.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
It’s always a good idea to recycle your 2-liter plastic bottles, just not like this. Photo courtesy of Mechanical-Hub.com
Bad days in Haidian
Workers clean up and repair a street after a water pipe burst at the west entrance of Huangzhuang community in Haidian district in Beijing, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images).
Look on the bright side
A standard water heater can’t take a PVC flue because it melts. That’s preferable to it catching fire and then melting. Photo courtesy of Eric Morrow, Area51HVAC.com.