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A Major Water Leak


A very rare occurrence in Mérida, our JAPAY (water) bill has been higher than our CFE (electric) bill for the past two billing periods.  So we asked JAPAY to come to the house and determine if we had a leak.  [JAPAY does this for a fee based upon the number of bathrooms you have in your house.  So if you need the service just say you have one bathroom.  Since you now have to prepay for this service there’s not a cross-check on the amount of payment and how many bathrooms you really have.  Some may say that this is cheating but, in reality, the actual water leaks seldom have anything to do with the number of bathrooms you have.]  JAPAY found a leak from the main line to the street which we then had repaired.


More issues with leaks so JAPAY comes out for a second time to find yet another leak in the line from the street to the cistern.  This leak is in the same run of copper tubing.  After much discussion amongst themselves they inform us that we would be better off to replace the entire run.  We thanked them for their service and sat down to determine what to do.


The problem with replacing the line is that it is in the wall for one-half of the run but in the baño (bathroom) in dives under the tile floor and continues under the courtyard pavers through the cocina (kitchen) and then under the concrete patio before reaching the cistern.  Not wanting to tear up floors and new pavers, we had to find Plan B.


We called our favorite handy man Marcos Sosa.  After reviewing the problem he suggested a couple of things.  First, he said, they should follow the line of the existing copper where they could, that way there would be much less chiseling of rock to create a channel.  Second, he said that we could just continue the line in the same wall through two more rooms to get to the back of the house, saving all the floors and pavers.  We agreed with his ideas and hired him to get the job done.


On the first day of the job we were pleasantly surprised to see 5 obreros (workers) appear.  There were two plomeros (plumbers), Saul y Samuel.  Samuel also acted as the jefe (boss).  A combo albañil (mason) y plomero named Carlos.  Finally two apprentice albañils, Argeminis y Adolfo.  Marcos acts as the contractor, but he also is the “shag man.”  He makes the runs to gets any and all parts needed for the job.  Oh, and this is probably important, Marcos owns all of the tools they use.


After a 10 minute planning session they got right to work.  After one short day and two full days they were finished.  The new line works like a charm, we actually have water pressure!   As they removed the old copper pipe with its numerous holes, it was obvious we had been losing water in the walls every minute of the day. 


Day 1

IMG_1960  IMG_1962  IMG_1976

The obreros (left to right are:  Saul, Samuel, Argeminis y Adolfo) started on the front porch just after the water meter.  Then they went through the foyer, living room and master bedroom.  By the end of day one they had the channel cleared and the old copper removed.


Day 2

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Some of the obreros began installing the replacement pipe, while others continued to create channel through the living room and back bathroom.  Working the back bathroom was a tight fit for Saul.  The installed pipe was capped and pressure tested overnight.  It passed with flying colors!


Day 3

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They continued installing the new pipe by burying it under the grass finally connecting to an existing pipe which went to the cistern.  At least in Mérida we didn’t have to worrying about burying below the frost line.  In the other pictures, Argeminis patches the concreta in the master bedroom while Adolfo finishes the concreta in the living room.


The job was done quickly and professionally.  If you need any such work, large or small, Marcos Sosa is a good bet.  His e-mail address is: and his cell phone number is 999-184-3034.  His English is quite good.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. yucatango permalink
    11/08/2011 11:22

    Thanks for the recommendation of Marcos Sosa. It’s always good to know of a reliable handyman even if I don’t need one right now.

  2. 11/08/2011 12:05

    Wow! Your Japay bill was larger than your CFE?? That would be a bolt from the cosmos. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your water bill now, ours is never more than a couple hundred pesos for several months.

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