Crappy Plumbing

So I’m moving into a new flat (apartment) this week, Tomorrow to be exact. Anyway, last night we started moving a few things round after work. This flat has recently beed done up by some feng shui “expert” and has some bizarre characteristics, but all in all, it’s actually pretty nice.

Anyway, we just dropped off a few things and were hoping to get back to our current residence in time for Lost at 9pm. It’s 8.30pm and just before we leave, my wife shows me the new washing machine, which is sitting on the enclosed balcony, off the master bedroom.

Now this balcony has a water tap on the wall, and a drain on the tiled floor, which makes sense to me. However, as part of the renovation, someone decided to put in a raised wooden decking floor on the balcony. It’s about 4" high. This is where it starts to get stupid. Since the drain is now 4" below the decking, some “plumber” decided to extend the drain up the way till it extends about 6" higher than the decking. That’s 10" off the floor, folks. It’s sealed, BTW, so any water that somehow makes it onto the tiles floor has nowhere to go till it reaches 10", which is about 6" higher that the partition that leads to the master bedroom, and the newly installed laminate flooring (which doesn’t like water, in case anyone doesn’t know that).

Anyway, back to 8.30pm. My wife opens the balcony door to show me the washing machine, and I see that the water is just a few millimetres from flooding over the top of the partition with the master bedroom. So that makes the water 4" deep. The tap is dripping from two places. One is from where it is joined to the pipe. Without trying too hard, I screw the tap a full turn more into the wall, which stops that drip, but it’s also dripping out the TOP of the tap (just from being such a crap tap… I suspect the seal has gone.) Andway, I manage to force the drip to stop by tightening the thing as hard as I can by hand.

This thing must have been dripping for days and days. Another hour and it would have breached the partition and the laminate flooring would have been screwed.

Anyway. Rant over.

Good ol’ stupid design, mixed with shit quality equipment and “cha bu doa” installations. Not a good mix.

Are you renting this flat?

Or did you buy it?

When I moved into my current place just before CNY, we came over here a few days before we moved to give the place a good clean. The apartment had never been lived in, but dust etc had accumulated, so my Taiwanese roommate decided that we should connect a hose to the tap in the laundry room (actually the only tap in the apartment, the builders hadn’t connected any in the kitchen) and hose and wash the floors/walls. Connect hose, turn tap on and what happens? Tap breaks. Water gushing everywhere.

So my roommate goes back to the old apartment to get some tools, so we could shut off the water to the apartment. I stayed behind with a giant squeegee thing and tried to spread the water evenly throughout all the rooms (3 bed, large kitchen and large living room). My roommate, after leaving to get the tools, decided he should go and buy a new tap so he could fix it himself. All the while, water is still gushing out. No matter where I was in the apartment, the water was at least ankle deep, sometimes deeper.

My roommate finally returned and shut the water off by the time the water on the floors in the apartment was up around my shins.

Why do some Taiwanese who live in older apartments run a new plastic water pipe down the outside of buildings??? They are messy and badly mounted…why can’t they just continue using the original pipe that they already have running down to their apartment, and just change the pipes that feed the water from the main pipe to all their faucets, bathrooms, etc.? It is usually these pipes that fail, not the main water pipe…

I don’t know anything about plumbing but I do know that there are very few taiwanese who take any pride in their workmanship. The pipes on the outside are probably there to replace the old pipes which have burst under layers of cement. It is probably cheaper just to run the main feed down the side of the building than to dig through the concrete looking for the rupture.

After taking a look closer at things, have you ever seen something that’s not crappy here?

Test all plumbing, including drains, etc before you move in or before you pay the plumber. Turn the water pressure on, etc to check for leaks and never pay the guy until you are completely sure there are no problems of any kind. Tell the guy before he does the work you will have an inspector come over and check his work before you pay, etc. Just be polite. They know how to do it right here, but won’t do it if you aren’t looking or checking etc. They have no qualms of ripping of you off if they can get away with it, similar to a lot of businessmen back in the USA. More good guys back home, but then you can find reputable guys here in Taiwan, just ask around for referrals from Taiwan friends.