The stream froze up. But that’s to be expected. It’s why we have cisterns – so any interruptions from the stream do not interfere immediately with our lives.
But the pump at the house also froze up (despite miles of heat tape and completely wrapped in insulation!). But, well, it’s only money. Just get a pump. Put it in. Back to normal. Pump is being purchased tomorrow, delivered Thursday.
But, when the bloody pump froze up, it allowed all the water in the cisterns to flow out undetected. One day I was siphoning water from the tank into carry totes, the next I was sucking air. I climbed up and looked in, “Hey, Sal! No water! We are empty! Both tanks!”
“What do we do?”
“Well, I have no idea where in the system there is a leak so I guess we start looking for it and go from there.”
So, yesterday we took the system apart. Even tho I knew the pump had broken, I did not see the hole in it (at the bottom side) and so, of course, we started at the other end. Disconnected fillers, filters, ball valves, hoses, insulation and heat tape. Took all day. Found nothing wrong. No holes. Pulled out my little air compressor and pressurized the line. It was intact. All the precautions worked except for the efforts spent on the pump.
I went back, removed the pump and THEN saw the hole. “That must have been it. Look at that! That’s a Grundfoss and the one recommended by Andrew Sheret. But it has a real cheap, pot-metal adapter plate and that sucker folded up like a pancake. Plastic in-line ball valves fared better. Bloody waste of money, this! And fuss and bother. Never buy a Grundfoss!”
Our first pump failure was a Gould pump – the ‘BEST’ pump made. It failed after ten years but, to be fair, it was not til I took it apart that I discovered why: sediment build up. The pump was fine but clogged up. And now it was all apart and I had a new Grundfoss on the way. I left the Gould in a bucket, installed the G’foss and away we went to the showers. It was all good.
Until last week. Down went the G’foss. So, now I have two pumps-in-parts buckets and another new intact one coming. We may get this fixed yet!
But – and here is the point of this blog – even if I get the system running, we have no water in the cisterns. Even a new pump can’t pump water not there.
“I’m going up!”
“Sal! It’s freezing. It’s raining. The stream is likely frozen at least in some places. What can you do?”
“I can try. I can see if the pick-up is blocked. I can wiggle pipes to see if they are solid with ice. I can try. No?”
“I think the odds of success are slim but there is no point having a pump delivered if we can’t get water so…..yeah….I think it is a good idea….don’t try fixing things…just suss it out.”
She left in the rain. She has her walkie-talkie. A few minutes later she called, “I am gonna be a few extra minutes. I saw a great log. Don’t wanna miss it. Gonna get it and tie it up for later.”
She’s got the right attitude, that’s for sure. And she’s gonna need it. There was a last minute cancellation and the hospital called and asked Sal if she wanted in earlier. She said yes. She goes in for a knee replacement Feb 7th. We then reside in CR for 6 weeks while she goes through knee-physio.
What we have here is a woman whose knees are so bad they moved her up the awaiting-surgery list. In the meantime, she is bushwhacking her way up the frozen creek to see if she can get us some water.
I dunno….isn’t there a medal or statue or trophy or something for partners like that?
Oh yeah….one more fun thing for the almost-70’s to do when bored or NOT quilting….when we were checking the system, we had to check the tanks. To really check the tanks, someone should go inside. The whole at the top is NOT generous. I can’t get in. But Sal can. So, she lowered herself into one 800 gallon black tank and sloshed about in 8 inches of water and ice. She checked it out with a flashlight. It was good. And she was ready to go into the big tank next to it but it is taller than she is so once in, she would have trouble getting out.
“I think we should tip it over. Then you can crawl in.”
“Good idea. I do not like the thought of having the opening too high for me to reach.”
“By the way, Sal, after this….what are you making for dinner?”
Is there a wetsuit/survival gear for warmth part of the tool kit?
Sal bundles up. Boots, gloves, wet gear, hand and foot warmers…..you’ve seen her gear in pics. And you’ve seen pics of her climbing the stream. Now imagine all that covered in wet snow, dark and the stream is raging. She goes to the top and clears the pickup. Then she follows the pipe down looking for breaks in the line. Then, she fixes them if she finds any. This time, its all intact. Likely it is just ice in the line.
It is not a job I could do. Last week while thawing out the van I got touch of frost bite on the tip of my baby finger. Big wussy here. A frozen water fall not in my curriculum vitae.
The knee op is going to be a piece of cake after this latest adventure. Kudos to Sal.