The thing about physics……

….is it’s not simple.  Newton’s laws have been successfully challenged.  Now they are just guidelines.  Everything that goes up does NOT always come down.  Fifty five pounds of Reddi-mix is at least ten pounds heavier than fifty-five pounds of fuel in a Jerry can.  Of course, fifty-five pounds of wine in a case is actually quite light.   And, the biggest myth of all: water does NOT always flow downhill.  THAT hardly needs elaborating.  Everyone who lives OTG knows that.

Gravity is only 100% assured if you are working on a roof.

And we have been reminded of all that recently.  In theory, the water pick up at the creek which is at the 120 foot elevation should flow down hill to my tank at the 70 foot elevation level with fifty feet of gravity to virtually insist on it.  Hah!

I first discovered this problem and wrote about it on the blog on the fourth.  But that bit of magic physics just started to flow today, March 14!!!  We have actually been here since the first.  Took two weeks for water to flow down hill.!!!!! Yeah, I know…’maybe it was frozen’ or ‘maybe the water Gods are ticked at you..’  whatever.  TWO weeks!

But I am not a nut.  I can handle capricious nature. Mostly.  Sal, of course, can still be a challenge.  But this was worse because my winter water preparations (extensive) failed me (or, I them……whatever) and a valve froze, broke and allowed all our water (stored in a cistern) to drain out.  So, no water from the creek and an empty cistern…….still, I am not really, really stupid….I had an emergency cistern and plugged that one in only to find that water going downhill from that tank – assisted no less by an expensive pump – was not putting water pressure into the system.  And there unfolded the real mystery drama into our lives that proved – beyond a doubt – that water will not only NOT flow downhill, it will not even do so aided and abetted in that task by a half-horsepower jet pump.

Woe is me.

So, the ‘parts process’ begins.  Off goes any suspect parts and on goes new parts.  NOT easy – but doable so long as friends are coming and going from town.  One suspect part is the inflow ball valve on the toilet.  Odd little whacky item deep in the house-toilet-cistern system.  It would just NOT shut off.  Easy peasy replacement later, the new inflow ball valve will also NOT shutoff.  How is that possible?  How can a simple ball/float valve NOT shut off when the little float is up?  How?  HOW?  HOW?!

But, that’s OK.  I will simply poop in the woods.  NO problem.  Mind you, Sal is NOT happy over this alternative approach to such matters.

AND the pressure switch on the jet pump will not switch off either (even if I turn off the toilet thus allowing the pressure to build up) and so the new pressure switch installed only served to reveal that the spare switch is of the same temperament as it’s first-string teammate and it won’t shut off either.

Bonus lesson:  the local hardware store attempts to make their first quarterly profits based entirely on replacing broken winter water-system parts.

Consulting the local plumbing genius suggests the pump is maybe not up to task anymore.  “Like ‘out of the blue’ it got weaker?”  Suggestion: new $500 + pump.  NO problem.  Let’s do it.  Let’s also add a new expansion tank as well because the old one is 15 years old and that is at least half-life.

If anyone is reading a bit of hysteria into all this, it is because a man needs a shower.  Ya know what I am sayin’?

On the good news front, the boat went back in the water.  Winter prep worked and it started instantly.  Sal’s boat acted up briefly but was quickly fixed.  We are both mobile again.  Mobile enough to go buy spare parts for the water system.  Barge came.  Woofers calling.  Flowers peeking out.  Temperature rising.  All is good.  ALL is good but you might wish to stand just a bit downwind….jus’ sayin’….

13 thoughts on “The thing about physics……

  1. Whew!
    I have a ‘state-of-the-art’ hot water on demand system that produces water as you require from a heat exchanger system. I have NO idea how it works, or why. But it does produce steaming hot water at the twist of a tap. For about two minutes! Then it abruptly (instantly) turns to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving me full of suds. Leave it running and it stays cold. Turn it off for 5 minutes and it comes back on steaming hot (at which time you try to rinse the coagulated soap out of your hair.
    Okay in the summer – you just grin and bear it. Not so nice in the winter though.
    And to top it off, it only does that 50% of the time. You never know which 50% though.


    • Ticked off the same gods, I see. That one might be an easy fix. Where the cold goes into the heater there’s a fitting with a little wire mesh cone acting as a filter. If the filter isn’t clean, the flow cuts off and the heater shuts down. After a bit the sediment falls to the side and the water is available again.
      Or it could be the….. (take your pick of thermocouple, faulty sensor, operator stupidity). I start with the last one first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought of that too, but after a week without a shower (don’t turn the tap on in the winter, Stupid) I decided to chance it.
        I’m going with the filter explanation as it’s the second best choice, and easiest to remedy. The last is most difficult to remedy.


  2. Had a look at a 2016 blog about ‘Sal in the bush’ wrestling with a water line. How far does the water need to travel to get to your abode?


  3. Maybe the pump needs a new impeller? It’s not a bad idea to have a second pump, so if you replace the old one consider having the old one rebuilt. Where i’m from the cost to repair the old pump was about half the cost of a new one and now I have a backup.


    • That is the plan…now….but a Gould pump (they say) can’t wear out the impeller….I have no idea why not but that’s what they say (you know, the guys who sold it?)


  4. Bet that first shower felt good. I wonder what we will find after two months away. At least John has been up the lake a few times to check on things for us. – Margy


  5. There are few things better than a good shower and one of them is a SHARED shower. And we have had a few…..emphasis on few! New water pump and expansion tank arrived today…..when that installation gets done, I will shower like confetti on New Years eve. Found the problem today…..after a week or so of searching……sediment. Yep! Dreaded sediment build-up. SBU. Much like chronic sperm back-up, all hell can break loose if it isn’t addresed. Taking the plumbing apart (house plumbing) revealed blocked arteries….ooops…blocked pipes, valves, filters and tubes. Stream water carries its own revenge. Like life, eh?


    • I worked in an office tower in Downtown Van a decade or so ago.
      Occasionally we would get torrential rains that the two underground parking storm water pumps could not keep up.
      500 gallons a minute combined.
      The lower third of the U/G parking would fill with water…..?
      A lawyer in the building constantly bitched and threatened to sue if his car was damaged
      We spoke to other buildings to see if they were having problems….Nope.
      We called the city to have our storm sewer line checked….Nothing there.
      We put in bigger pumps, 750 gallons a minute combined
      Over $10k in plumbing costs.
      Next big deluge.
      They still couldn’t keep up.
      We had temporary pumps “on call” to haul out with fire hoses in case the parking garage flooded. Nights of heavy rain were a pain.( Why are torrential rainfalls always at night?
      The plumber was baffled.
      We ended up pulling the new pumps out to see if something was blocking them.
      Several hockey balls….. orange , hard plastic, water filled, hockey practice balls covered in brown/green algae slime. Perfectly camoflaged in the bottom of the main storm drain pipe
      When the first pump started it wasnt strong enough to lift the hockey balls so the water level kept rising ….when the water level reached the float switch for the second pump…….two pumps a sucking.
      Slorp! The increased suction ,,up came the hard plastic balls, both pumps would be blocked by the perfectly fitted hockey balls.
      When the pumps were shut off the offending balls would sink out of site.
      We figured it out when one of the pulled pumps, fortunately, still had a hockey ball jammed in it’s impeller volute suction opening.

      Where did the hockey balls come from?
      Old security patrols had mentioned several times………seeing
      The Lawyer and his 3 kids would play hockey in the u/g parking on rainy weekends and they would occasionally “lose” one down the drain grate.
      I had a talk with him later with a copy of the security reports and one of the old balls in a clear plastic bag….
      I told him it was a ten thousand dollar bill for finding his hockey ball.
      He denied it but never bothered me about anything again.

      I cant make this crap up.


      • I have discovered the mystery. Sediment. After removing offending toilet bowl valve we discovered the little built in filter totally blocked. Bits got through, though, and kept jamming the valve open. Good and bad news…..the toilet valve is the last unit in the line….easy to clear but, but, but every piece in between must be crudded up. Take apart. Blow the lines. Big job.
        If only I had a lawyer on retainer….I’d make HER do it!


  6. I was taught a trick by a plumber to blow out water lines to winterize my cottage plumbing lines….
    A tubeless tire valve held on most taps(kitchen, bathroom, etc.) will create an excellent seal.
    Use a small air compressor to “fill” the tire valve in quick bursts…
    Works like a hot damn.


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