mdchachi - My Random Thoughts Blog
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2007/7/30 21:52 EDT
Low-Pressure Water Solution
Whew, I just dodged a bullet today. Well, actually, a minimum of a $50 service call but possibly several thousand dollar bill.

Last night we had a short power outage and brownout. After that, our water pressure was not normal. I washed up and went to bed and in the morning, my shower sseemed fine but then when the sprinkler system turned on, it was clear that there was a problem. The water pressure was way low with the sprinklers shooting out only about half way. I noticed the water softener was regenerating so I thought (hoped) that perhaps the simultaneous use was causing the pressure situation. I had to go to work so I left with the sprinklers running half heartedly.

After returning home from work, as I was letting the dog out, I tested the sprinklers. At first they shot out in full-pressure glory. But soon, as the pressure in the HydroPro tank fell, the sprinkler pressure dropped. I shut the sprinklers off and it took over 10 minutes to climb from 30 psi to 50 psi. I clearly had a problem.

We have a well pump and I thought maybe the inground water pump was failing. But it didn't make sense, why would it keep running and not fail completely? Still I suspected the well because my neighbor had had to replace his this year and apparently the company who installed our wells had used substandard parts & pumps. On my neighbor, they hadn't installed a check valve -- a cheap part but necessary to protect the pump. It had failed in less than 8 years.

Anyway, fortunately I had the number of an honest plumber on me. I called him to ask him about the problem. After I told him the circumstances, he immediately told me to check the circuit breaker. The pump was on two 15-amp circuits. I couldn't tell by looking at the breakers, but apparently one of them had tripped. So the pump was running on just one circuit (I didn't even know they worked that way). After resetting the breaker, the pump was working like normal. Whew. Lucky.

My neighbor's well pump replacement cost a few thousand dollars. So I thought I was staring a several thousand dollar bill in the face. With an honest plumber or well repair guy, I'd have been out $75 just for a service call. With a dishonest service man, I'd have been on the hook for several thousand bucks. All I can say is thank you thank you thank you.

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