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And not a drop to drink - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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And not a drop to drink [Nov. 19th, 2005|06:46 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |anxiousashamed]

We are currently without water.

Well, that is not precisely accurate. We are currently in a situation where turning on the water at the main results in a veritable fountain spurting from a pipe just above the water heater, and so the water is, for the most part, turned off. We turned it on this morning for showers, and this afternoon to flush, but turned it back off and empted the catchment buckets as quickly as possible.

We're not quite sure when this small but persistent leak began, but Ferrett learned about it in the middle of Harry Potter last night, because he puts his phone on "vibrate" rather than turning it off completely. Kristi discovered it, and the fact that it must have been going on for some time, since the carpet remnant on which Ferrett's drum kit rests is quite squishy. She put buckets beneath it and asked what course of action she should take. Ferrett, in his infinite wisdom, told her we'd call when the movie was over. He then heroically refrained from sharing the news with me so that I would be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Locating the shut-off valve was simple, and we went to bed with the expectation of calling the plumber in the morning. Alas, our plumber charges a fee only slightly higher than a king's ransom for Saturday call-outs, so the determination was made to live with the situation until Monday.

I hate it when things like this happen. Not because the unavailability of free-flowing water is such an inconvenience, but because is isn't. Before we shut the water off last night we emptied and refilled all the ice trays, storing the cubes, and put a gallon of water into the fridge. When Ferrett showered this morning we all had our morning constitutionals and flushed. Then when Josh showered this evening I did the dishes. And we flushed again, refilled pitchers, and got everything settled.

It has not been a hardship, living without the easy waste of flowing water. It is an unpleasant reminder of the wastrel nature of American life, our arrogant expectation that, despite all the Chicken Little talk of shortages, the resources I want will be there when I want them. I may have to pay through the nose for them, but it's only money.

I know that once the plumber comes on Monday, I won't leave the water main shut off all day. But maybe I'll remember that I made ice cubes so I wouldn't have to let a couple gallons run down the drain, waiting for the water to get cold.

I hope I remember.
LinkReply

Comments:
From: ewtikins
2005-11-20 12:24 am (UTC)
If I have to run the tap to wait for the water to get hot or cold I try to save it in a bucket and use it on the garden. I'm not terribly consistent about this, but I do try. Eventually I would like to have a greywater system but I don't own this house so it will probably be difficult or impossible to do.

Keeping some water in a pitcher in the refrigerator helps with having cold water on hand when you want it. So does getting used to drinking tap-temperature water. But then, keeping your freezer full is more efficient than keeping it empty, so icecubes are also good.
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From: appleblossomtru
2005-11-20 01:10 am (UTC)
A few years ago, we went through the whole water heater mess, eventually having to replace it after patching it several times. Not fun.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-20 01:25 am (UTC)
The water heater itself is fine, actually, having just been replaced two years ago. It's the pipes leading into the water heater that are the problem.
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[User Picture]From: adjust_56
2005-11-20 01:40 am (UTC)

I hope I remember.

One of the things my parents did for me after college was a trip to the third world countries...we hear about how spoiled we are but rearely understand what that means, 3 months in a third world country brought it home......I'm grateful to live in this country but I don't take anything for granted, but for the grace of God I'd be living somewhere else.
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2005-11-20 02:35 am (UTC)
Technically, Sis, it's "Nor any drop to drink." It feels nit-picky, but I think it would bug you.

What size do you wear now, anyway? I think I'll check the resale shop for you. I was wondering what to get you for Xmas anyway - I don't want to buy you any of the things on your Amazon list this time 'round.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-20 02:38 am (UTC)
Objecting to my tastes? ;-)

I'm a size 16 right now. Have fun shopping!
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2005-11-20 05:23 am (UTC)
Not objecting per se, just that there's nothing on there that I see as us sharing.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-20 01:28 pm (UTC)
I'm just teasing - no worries.
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[User Picture]From: ytaya
2005-11-20 09:37 am (UTC)
Keeping a large bottle or pitcher of water in the fridge is also a good way to avoid running the tap to get it cold.

Just out of curiosity, how is water generally paid for in the US? Is it rated on some household size scale, or do you pay per litre/cubic metre/some other unit that you use? Does the company that provides your water also charge you for sewage services, too?
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2005-11-20 01:38 pm (UTC)
Varies, but towns sometimes have their own, cities usually have a company that supplies it, measured my meters as it enters your house. My town also charges a sewer fee, assuming that the water that went in went back out in one form or another, but not every town has that. I think a residence probably is charged at a different rate than a business.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-20 01:42 pm (UTC)
Depends on where you live, though water and sewage services and generally a combined bill. I've lived where it's a flat fee, but here water is charged by usage.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2005-11-20 01:41 pm (UTC)
The family I work for insist that the water run a few minutes before I fill a pitcher or a pan, because they fear lead in the water. It is really hard for me to do, as I hate waste of any kind, including water.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-20 01:43 pm (UTC)
Lead is an issue, in older households, particularly if there are children.
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[User Picture]From: hilarita
2005-11-21 12:51 pm (UTC)
Though if you're in a hard water area, this is less of a problem, as the calcium carbonate coats the pipes, thus preventing lead getting into the water.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-21 12:55 pm (UTC)
Good point!
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-11-22 02:29 am (UTC)

Lead in water

Enquire of your local water company what their policy is regarding phosphate dosing.

(If they phosphate dose their water in your area then you don't need to run to waste to avoid Pb contamination from water standing in old pipes. - the comment about hard water is only semi-valid, it depends on the local water chemistry which in turn depends on the geology of where the water is extracted from)

- cannon fodder

(aka. Richard Lawson - currently employed as an analytical scientist
at Wessex Water (http://www.wessexwater.co.uk))

PS. wandered in here from link in Ferretts' journal.
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[User Picture]From: hiromasaki
2005-11-21 07:06 pm (UTC)
The real question is (and I've had to do this, personally.)

Why throw out the catch buckets rather than use them to flush said toilets through the day? Yet another few gallons of water saved from just being run down the drain needlessly.

And as for the pipes leading into the hot water heater, two things:
Dielectric joints help corrosion some, but not completely.

Too high a temperature in the water heater will speed corrosion.


Not sure if they were causal issues in your particular case, but worth looking into.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-11-21 07:18 pm (UTC)
Probably the main issue was that those particular pipes are 50 years old.

I do run my hot water heater hot, but with 5 people in the house we've kind of needed to. After next week we can turn it down a bit.
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[User Picture]From: old_hedwig
2005-11-22 02:31 pm (UTC)
I just hate having the water turned off. Even if its only for a few hours while we fix something, so many of the normal things one does around the house - cooking, cleaning stuff - involve water.

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