The water system wouldn’t start up. It just kept building pressure until we thought it would burst! Had to shut it down. So….no water. “Hmmmm…..something wrong with the pressure switch. I’ll have to go into the manual. Read. Try to fix it.”
“Not now. Let’s keep lifting crap while we have the light.”
“Hey! The fridge isn’t working! Can’t get it lit…not sure if it is getting propane. We’re gonna have to fix it.”
“Right! But let’s finish getting stuff over. Get to that later, OK?”
Two days later, we pull the fridge out of the alcove, flip it upside down and start to examine the workings. Everything seems in order. Clean it all up, blow through pipes, even check Piezo…put it together and back into the alcove. Still won’t fire up. So, I use the BBQ flamethrower to do the job the Piezo lighter did while upside down and WHOOSH, the gas lights and the fridge is working. Seems the Piezo works better upside down. Who knew?
Go down under the house, repeat similar process with pump. Find a small blockage on the pressure switch. Clean. WHOOSH, we have water pressure that stays within range. The switch works again. Showers all around.
Genset won’t fire up. Weird. I am pretty sure I did all the winterizing crap right…………hmmmm……part of that was to drain the fuel completely – even the carb. So, I make sure the whole system is full of fuel and it fires up quite nicely, thank you. We are good to go.
Shutting down an off the grid home for the winter is not an uncommon thing. People with cottages do it every year. It is part of the lifestyle. But just as much a part is the fact that glitches, blockages, disconnects, and various kinks somehow get worked in to your systems over the down time and you have to weave your way through the mysteries of things mechanical to get up and operating again. And make no mistake – it is always a mystery!
I admit that most things are simply following the steps you took to shut down only in reverse – so as to start up. Part of that mystery, tho, is to remember what those steps were. The second level of mystery is that there is always a glitch that occurs that defies logic. The pressure switch pipe was blocked. It was not blocked when we left in November and the system was shut down and drained. So, how did the pressure switch pipe get blocked up? And a third part of the mystery is the fact that none of this is stuff you will ever know intimately. Every time feels like a new challenge.
I once had a rusty, built-in fuel tank in an old boat. Most of the rust got filtered out by the filter and so, when the boat stalled, I could jump below, clean the filter and have it back on before the boat had fully stopped. Some rust would still get through so I became equally as adept at ripping off the carb, taking it apart, cleaning the jets and getting it back on and operating well under ten minutes!
Those maintenance habits came from having done it a hundred times. Most systems in houses do not have to be as frequently addressed and, to be fair, when we do have to address them, it is usually easier and cheaper to buy a new one than have to learn how to fix, say, a microwave or vacuum.
We went to get our mail yesterday and were sharing our start-up up difficulties with a young mother (30’s) living solo out here most of the time (her husband works up North). “Yeah, I know. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken apart, fixed and put back together my washing machine. I can do it now with my eyes closed. And, anyway, it is a lot easier to fix it than haul it to the boat and take it to town, that’s for sure.”
The point? People continue to ask me: “Hey! Now that you are retired and living off the grid, what do you do all day? I mean, don’t you get bored? Do you get cable?”
“Nah. Got a washing machine and few pumps. That keeps me busy. That and chopping wood.”
“Oh. I see. I don’t think that would be enough for me. And my wife really needs her Starbucks, ya know? I don’t think we would be stimulated enough. But it must be nice, eh? No worries, no stress. Just sittin’ around sippin’ mint juleps and readin’ all day, eh?”
“Yeah. All that and naps, too.”