Most people buy a home assuming that it has its own quirks and curiosities, especially when the home is over seventy years old. However, most people are quite surprised to learn that there are some secrets in their house that only come to light when they remodel or have a problem. Plumbing surprises are the biggest secrets of all. Here is how a visit from a plumber on a service call will reveal the hidden plumbing in your home.
Investigating a Leak
When you notice that there is a strange leak in your basement but you cannot pinpoint its source, you call the plumbing services team. The plumber comes out, investigates the leak, and voila! You have some pipes you did not know you had. These hidden pipes are often tucked behind a normal-looking wall, an old cistern area, or behind a panel that looks like it is blocking an old basement window, but is actually blocking a crawlspace instead. Pipes hidden in these areas are difficult to get to, and are the least suspected for leaks because you cannot see them.
It is not uncommon for former owners of your house to remove toilets and seal off the toilet stacks (the large pipes that are connected to the base of a toilet). Without any prior floor plans of the home, these hidden toilet stacks remain silent for years, until the seal breaks or pops off under the floor boards. When that happens, you will frequently encounter cold, wet seepage and a sewer odor in the area of that former toilet.
When the plumber investigates, he/she will pull up the flooring to uncover a hidden toilet stack! It is up to you at that point whether you want to install another toilet. Otherwise, you can just have the plumber do a really good job of sealing off the hidden toilet stack again.
Inverted Water Faucets
If you have a partially finished basement, you may be surprised to encounter inverted water faucets when your plumber checks the ceiling for water damage. In fact, there may be several of these weird faucets in your basement if you stop to look and uncover them. Some were meant for appliances. Others were meant for a "farm shower," which is what farmers coming in from the field would use rather than trekking manure and dirt inside the house. Other faucets, particularly those stuck randomly in a wall, were used to extract water from the closed-off cistern behind that wall. Your plumber can remove these, if you like, or just make sure they never leak again.