Rural Water Part Two

When last we left our heroines:

The plumber finally called Wednesday. There had been a miscommunication. He was not coming that day but was calling to schedule when he’d be out. I was…upset. But he said he’d come out Saturday. Fine. It was still sooner than anyone else.

We got the hot water tank, took out the old one, put the new one in its place, got everything for it all lined up and ready to go. Just waiting for water.

Got a new water pump, too.

No call Saturday morning so I call the plumber back. He’ll be here between 1 and 3. Plumbers are like the cable company, it seems. He calls and gets there at oh, I guess 3:15 or so. We show him the mess and I go back to the house. The cold and the walk (and the going up/down steps) had me in a lot of pain. Lorna braves the cold to help if needed and answer any questions. After a while, I go back down to see how it is going.

New pump is in place. New plumbing is in. But not the new plumbing I wanted. All he’s done is cut the old pipe and make it so it fit the new pump. He says he’d have to (blah blah) in order to fit the white pipe to the black pipe (the one that goes underground to the house). And the foot valve is fine. The old pump had a crack where the pipes had it in a bind from the work this summer. BUT does he replace the 20+ yr old foot valve? Nope, puts it right back in place. So all he does is cut a pipe, glue on a new connection, check the foot valve, and set the water pump. And he has the gonads to tell Lorna that it is not a job for homeowners to do. WTF? I tell him I wanted the pipe moved so we can lift the lid. He said to just lift it and pull it out instead of stand it upright. I laugh. I should have told him to do it to show me how.

Anyway, he gets the pump running, we pay the bill (not too bad, less than $150), and he leaves. We then hook up the hot water tank and await shower times. Except the water is taking forever to heat. We run the dishwasher because we have no dishes at all at this point. We also figure that the dishes would be safe to use the “new” water on, right?

Many hours later, I’m ready for bed and am ready for a long, hot shower. Except the hot water is kinda lukewarm. I go down to the cellar to check stuff out after looking some more stuff up on the ‘net. Everything checks out. The only difference is the old tank was set to 130F and this one is about 110F. I adjust that, recheck it all again, and we go to bed.

Lorna wakes me this morning to say the water in the pumphouse froze and the new pump is leaking. Twenty years we have lived here and it has never frozen. Even the butt-cold time of no power during the blizzard did not harm the pump. We turn off the pump and the hot water tank and think it over. We go to Lowes, get a heater, a cool temp-controlled timer, and some insulation. By the time we get back, it has thawed out and the pump works again and water gets to the house again. Except it is leaking at the pump. We get some wrenches (water pumps are metric, by the way) and tighten the bolts. The upper two are very very loose. After tightening them, the leak stops. There’s another leak over at the opposite end of the pipe the plumber messed with but it is minimal. We hook up the heater, close up the pump house, turn on the hot water tank, and watch football while waiting.

We have gloriously hot water now. We’ve washed a load of clothes and it is still hot. Yay!

In the morning, Lorna will go down to the pump house and see if it is warm enough. At some point this week, I’ll be putting in a new electric line for the water heater. I don’t mind working with electricity, I just am not happy doing it in a damp place, ya know?

Meanwhile, we’ll be asking around for names of reliable, non-chickenshit plumbers. Know of any in my area?