Sunday, January 27, 2008

Well, well, well...

It all started last night when Kevin was in the shower. He had just gotten home from a long striper fishing trip in the Bay and was in need of a good scrubbing. He came downstairs much too soon, head full of shampoo and stomped straight to the utility room to check the pressure tank (I'll explain that later).

Kev: "You have any problems with water while I was gone?"

me: "Nope. What's wrong?"

Kev: "There's no water. All of a sudden it's a damn trickle and shuts off."

me: silence

Kev: messing with switches, "There. Think I got it."

He goes back up to finish showering, only to return to the pressure tank afterward for some more fiddling. He announces the dreadful news, that our well pump is out.

Kev: "Well I'm not sure, I have to go check some connections, see if there's power out there to the pump and power in here to the switch, but yeah, I think our pump's dead."

me: "That sucks. How much are they and can you fix it?"

We had just spent thousands of dollars this past fall to have an entirely new septic tank and field installed, one that was up to the task of dealing with as much water a family of 5 goes through in a day, so I was not too eager to fork out another grand or two to fix the problem.

Morning came, the connections were all fine and the last piece of the puzzle was the pump and there were concrete signs that it was barely gettin' it. One trip to Lowe's and the production began. I'll start from the beginning.

This is a well.

Not much to look at, but no doubt about it, the source of ease and convenience for today's household. Here's the basic rundown as I learned it today. There is a really deep hole in the ground. Inside there is a loooooong flexible pipe, in this case close to 200 feet. At the end of the pipe a well pump is attached, along with wiring that turns it on and off as needed. The water is pumped up out of the ground and through the pipe that connects from the well to the house. Then it goes into a pressure tank so there's enough water pressure for showers, etc. but no where near the same amount you city dwellers have.

There's also a clorinator in the system so the iron in the water separates from the H2O molecules and can be filtered out by the monster tanks that also sit in my closet of a utility room. And there you have it. How we get water in the country.

To change the pump a pipe is attached to a fitting in the well and it is slowly pulled up out of the ground and changed if all goes well. Unfortunately ours was so corroded from hard water and chlorine tablets that what was supposed to just "slip right out" did not.
The kids came to help. The girls had their purses....thank goodness.

We ended up attaching a chain to the pipe and the blade on the back of the tractor. The hydralic tractor blade could not budge the thing, front wheels off the ground and all.

me: "Shouldn't we call someone?"

Kev: "I've seen this done a hundred times, I know this is how you do it"

me: "Yeah, but just for some confirmation that we're doing it right"

Kev: silence.

Half an hour later, he is on the phone with a friend. Sure enough, we're doing it right. I had a sneaky suspicion we were going to have a visitor, knowing who he called. My intuition proved strong and as I was atop the front end of the tractor bouncing up and down trying to bust the fitting loose up drove our angel in overalls.

Now don't get me wrong. Kevin has the tools, the knowledge and the wherewithall to successfully complete the job. But there are some people in this world who are so good and decent that they know a project such as this is much easier with two. And, he came with one more trick up his sleeve. Coca-cola. Well, in this case all we had was Pepsi. Come to find out cola products are quite volitile and can aid in the removal of corrosion.

So we dumped Pepsi on it.

The rest of the story includes the tractor pulling up on the pipe and a long steel prybar. Another half an hour or so of this and POP! out it came.

Then I got to drive the tractor.

We attached a rope and a strap to the pipe so we could pull all 200 feet out of the ground. Google says it can weigh 300 lbs. full of water.

My view from the driver's seat. That would be the "angel" there in the distance.

And the offending corroded piece with some curious feet.

We now have water. I got to hand wash dishes and run the dishwasher. Kids are clean and piles of laundry await me in the morning.
What did you do today?


Anne Margaret said...

You folks know how to par-tay! I'm not going to regale you with our weekend project - changing the kitchen sink, which took Tim and his master plumber Dad almost 12 hours to install(!) Wouldn't it be fun spending the weekend vacationing somewhere fun instead? Just once!

Pamela said...

Having grown up in the country, we had one of those fun concrete wells about 3 feet across, I know those angels well. My dad has several and I'm sure has been one many times.

Now, I really like to just call the County when things go awry.