Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another break in the line

Yes, feel free to sing the title of this post to the tune of the classic Pink Floyd song.

The burst pipe we fixed last year at Mom's house (outside at the spigot) cracked again.  Another 15-minute job goes for several hours.

The main shutoff for the house is at least 50 yards or so away, near the end of the drive at the dirt road that runs by our "Ranch."  I jumped in the car, drove to the cutoff, killed the water, then drove up to examine the damage.  Turned out the only thing that cracked was the elbow that connects the water line to the spigot.  Mom and I headed up to the local hardware store, bought some pipe, connectors, cleaner and glue, then headed back. 

The hardest (and by far the LONGEST) part of the project was cutting the existing pipe.  See, back in 2007, Mom had new underpinning installed around her house.  The guys did a great job, but in the process, they managed to stick the pipe between two 2x4's leaving about two inches within which to work on the piping.  Ouch.

I eventually got the pipe sawed off.  I can't remember how far into the project I was before Shan's Dad came home, but he jumped right in to help.  Once we had everything assembled, I turned the water on and we were good to go.  For a few moments.  While we were trying to figure out how to insulate the pipes given the limited working space, Shan's Dad moved the pipe a hair too far and suddenly we heard the WHOOSH of water!

I ran down the hill to the cutoff and yanked the junction box open, then killed the water.  It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Evidently, one of the connections we fixed last year was not fully seated well.  The pipe did not break, but rather 'popped out' of the connector.  Whew!  Easy fix!  Shan's Dad glued things back together and we waited a moment before I headed back down to turn the water on again.  Everything was working just fine.

This Spring, I'm redoing the main water line coming to the house - going to have a main cutoff at the house.  There is a cutoff at the house, but it only covers the water going into the house and not the water line going to the water hose.  That will be fixed.  Shan's Dad and I also talked about reworking the line so that we have more room to work it and so we can get it properly insulated.

All I can say is that I'm glad our local school district had been closed due to icy conditions.  I stayed home because getting out to go to the office just didn't seem prudent.  I was home at 3:00-ish when Mom discovered the burst pipe.  Sometimes we do (or don't do) things for which we do not know the reason nor the consequences.  It's times like these that I tend to think God's guiding hand played a part in it.

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