Down the Road a Piece
Why wouldn’t the new well pump pump right?
Like that day last week, today too is a good day for us, because although our new well pump wouldn’t work well....or maybe right.....or maybe hard enough, it does now.
Pretty much by accident.
But first our surprise. The cost of the new pump was not $5,000 nor $2000, as I expected. Which is why I sat down when Dolores handed me the bill. It was about $840.
That included a Sunday emergency call, which the company said would be billed at $195 an hour -- after we had phoned a half dozen other plumbers, who couldn’t come on Sunday.
We couldn’t find that $195 anywhere on the bill. Maybe because they didn’t actually install the new pump until Monday.
But they did install the new pump Monday morning, before 8:30 a.m. when I returned home from my early morning bus drive to Bar Harbor. I noticed the well cap was on the pipe, and there were no plumbers in the dooryard. Not even the Labrador Retriever Dolores had told me on the phone one of the plumbers had had with him. Why not? Labs can swim pretty well, and we’re talking about a lot of water -- ours about 150 feet down.
I nervously went into the house, where Dolores assured me the new pump was in and working.
But come shower time, the test of a new well pump, there was hardly enough water to dampen my hair. This was not good. Dolores reported the same problem, relieving me of the thought that I had gone nuts.
Also, the toilet filled very slowly. A lot better than when we had had to tote our old wine jugs, which we don’t use for wine anymore but keep in the cellar filled with “emergency” water.
We noticed the faucets also ran slowly. Well, not the faucets, they just stayed put, but the water dribbled out of them.
Another emergency! Did we have to rename our home Camp Dribbly Water instead of its current Final Resting Place. After all, it’s hard to rest if you have to spend all your rest time waiting for water to dribble.
So I did what all home-grown home-repair guys do. Nothing, because I was too busy for three days, working, doing some writing, not killing the cat for always being in the way, and other important home-grown home-repair guy stuff.
Finally I had a break in my retirement schedule. I had already phoned our electrician to get him to check the wiring the plumber had done to give us dribbly water. But that break came, and I descended into my favorite cellar, ours, the one that Dolores hates because its a cellar.
I found the new 220 line for the pump in the circuit breaker box. I found the water storage tank full. Which, in my skillful investigating mode, made me look at the water pressure gauge. It said 50!
So I wrote a note to our electrician reporting my scientific investigation and discoveries. Then I went back to work.
Now most people driving to Bar Harbor are thinking about the beautiful fall scenery on the way down and back. They probably also think about the deer that crossed the road just ahead of their vehicle. They may even think about the eagle they saw in the sky or the giant cruise ship anchored in Bar Harbor’s harbor.
Not me. I had already thought all those thoughts too many times. I thought about why our home had become Camp Dribbly water. By the time I got home, I had really thought about it -- particularly why the water ran so slowly when the water storage tank was full and the pressure gauge read 50.
Hmmm, my thoughts almost exactly. So I knew there was lots of water in the tank and a good gauge reading. Hmmm, that meant the new pump was actually working fine.
Hmmm again, I descended into my favorite cellar again and again felt the full tank and read 50. Hmmm yet again. Before he had left, the plumber had mumbled something about how sometimes a water bubble could form in the line after a pump had been replaced.
There, hidden in the dark corner beneath the pipes, the pressure tank, and the gauge, was the pipe that brought the water up into the house itself. There. There was a right hand corner of that pipe.
There, there went my hand and banged on that corner of the pipe.
Then, then I went upstairs and turned on the water. There was lots of water coming out of the kitchen faucet.
I smiled, told Dolores what I had done, and could hardly wait for my next shower.
Which actually soaked my hair, as it had done before the old well pump went. There was lots of water. Dolores made the same discovery during her shower.
She canceled the electrician. The problem was solved.
I, the home-grown home-repair guy, had found the problem, and with a couple of thumps of his hand on a pipe had fixed it.
So, to all you home-grown repair guys out there, don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t listen to your wife when she says she’ll never be able to wash her hair again.
Go down in the cellar, find a corner of a pipe, and bang on it.
Just not too hard. Don’t hurt your hand.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013