Well.. Christmas of 2021 was not an enjoyable time aboard. We have had good Christmas’ onboard, but this year is one I would rather forget, and if life had a reset and reload the save game button – I would have pressed it!
Christmas day was going well until the macerator on the toilet blocked. When running the pump, it sounded like something solid had fallen into the bowl – again.. As the macerator was spinning, something was pinging around in there, but the water was not going down. Took the rear panel off to check the pipes, and the main outlet pipe from the macerator seemed a little solid, gave it a squeeze, ran the macerator again and pop – one of the pipes gave up and the contents of the toilet and the tank started spewing out from under the ceramic bowl.
Grabbed my tools, quickly loosened of the pipes and went to remove the toilet to get it into the shower tray – from where we can clean it easier – and at that point I realised that I forgot to take the fresh water feed pipe of. Disconnected that, moved the toilet and started to strip it down.
Soon after, I realised that there was now water coming out from under the sink vanity unit.. and in my rush to remove the toilet with the pipe still attached – snapped the pipe that is located BEHIND the vanity unit. Great – so now we have no toilet and no running water as we had to turn off the water pump as it was happily emptying the water tank into the boat!
So that’s that then.. Time to get the hammer and jigsaw out. Firstly, empty the vanity unit – how much stuff do we have in here, there must be 10 bottles of different types of shampoo at least! Once that’s empty, time to cut a hole in the bottom shelf to see what’s going on. I know the break is under there, as I can feel the snapped pipe from outside the unit – so I’m hoping that I can get to it without having to rip the sink unit or the internal lining walls out
After making a big enough hole (pretty doesn’t count here – just cut a hole in the blasted thing – making good I will worry about another day!) yes, confirmed that the pipe is snapped and not just come undone.. and of course it had to snap right at the “T” piece – so I cant just add a barrel to join them back up again, I need to replace the whole “T” piece..
Right – we need running water. Time to see if this vanity unit will come apart, or if I need to completely strip the sink, drain and the working hot pipe to the sink. Thankfully, several lumps of a hammer later, I managed to remove the side wall from the unit, leaving the sink and other panels in place without having to disturb anything. I need to extend the hole though – so I can get the broken pipe out..
So – find a suitable sized cork – thankfully from Anna’s stocks – jam it in there as best we can and tape it up to hopefully hold it. That allows us to switch on the water pump with a tap open – use the water and then turn the pump off with the tap still open to depressurize the system again. This worked for 2 days until the fragile tape gave up – which was replaced with duct tape that I found. This held until we replaced the pipe thankfully.. but it still takes 3 people to put the kettle on – and we don’t have a working toilet. We all agreed to survive with the emergency portaloo until the pipework is fixed, as getting in there around the toilet once plumbed back in is a pain!
So.. the boat is using 16mm pipework – the UK stocks 15mm. Awesome. I had my suspicions about this having read other posts etc about other peoples issues with pipes onboard older Amber boats – so this was not a surprise to discover, what was a pain was not finding anyone open that stocked it.. The only places I could find were RS components.. A company in Falkirk (Scotland) and Pipestock near Portsmouth. RS was out – when I added everything up, the bill was £250+ just for pipes and joints.. No thank you! The Falkirk company.. well, were in Falkirk and as its snowing north of the midlands – I’m not risking that journey – so that left Pipestock – who are closed until January 4th.
New year came and went, and were surviving on a cork and a prayer, as well as having to empty the portaloo every 2 days (and walking that to the elsan is a job as well as its bleedin heavy when full!). Eventually Pipestock were open, I had a hire car to get there.. I put in the order – phoned.. and they will have the stock in on the 6th. Bugger.. 2 more days to wait – good job the car doesn’t go back until Friday!
We finally have the pipe, fixings, glue, cleaner and cutter from Pipestock. Time to start fixing this..
Firstly.. Re-build the broken pipework around that “T” piece.. there are adapters on these pipes that I have no idea the size off.. so I am keeping as much of the original pipework as I can. Once complete, I’m leaving this section to set for 24 hours before I fix the final bit to the pipe attached to the boat.
Now.. thats some new pipe clips fixed to the wall – lets try not to break the new one, and time to cut a bit of pipe out that has the duct tape stuck to it so that its the right length for the repaired section. Chemical PVCu glue/weld later and the new pipe is fixed to the existing pipe run, clipped to the wall and that heavy monstrosity for the toilet is also fixed to the wall – which didn’t help with not snapping it in the first place!
Now that’s in – lets see if I can get the side of the vanity unit back in. Lined up and thankfully, it went back in easier than I thought it would – phew. Screwed back to the wall, shelf back in (after adjusting the holes for the pipes to go through, bottom shelf re-made good(ish).. as least as good as I’m happy for it to be for now.. and we have running water again.
The toilet – however; is still not re-installed yet. Time to get on with some work – as it’s now Monday, and that can wait another day or two. Once I know there are no leaks from my repair.. we can look to sort the toilet out.
Until then, that’s all for now.
Ah.. Celeste.. your turn to help a little more.. clean up after Daddy.. 😀