December 15, 2004

plumbing emergency

Note the time stamp on this entry. It's not one you'll often see from me, considering our usual weekday bedtime is 8. Not only do we get up early for rowing but we both find massive amounts of exercise demand extra sleep.

Last night I noticed water dripping off the roof. My first thought was the heat pump, because we'd had one of the two replaced last summer. So I called those people and they said, yes the heat pump could drip when defrosting. It seemed to be dripping a *lot*, though. Well, tonight it was still dripping. (Both nights I got home after dark and wasn't too thrilled about climbing up on the roof when I couldn't see anyway.) So called back and they confirmed it wouldn't drip *that* much so I thought and finally realized it must be the solar water heater. (OK, I'm not too bright in plumbing matters.) Oops. I've called the company who replaced our solar panel a few years ago. (I was actually very pleased and surprised that both of these places were open, since I didn't get home until 6:30 or so.) They told me to unplug the control unit for now and they'd call me tomorrow and arrange a time to send someone that day.

I had made arrangements for the solar panel guys to come out tomorrow, then finally was heading up to bed (8:30) when I noticed a bulging spot on the wall by Rudder's side of the bed. And though it wasn't dripping and neither was the ceiling, the floor there was wet. When I looked in the erg room (the bedroom next to ours) the ceiling over the bookshelf was wet, too. That's when I got *really* worried. I brushed my teeth, cleaned the litterbox, washed my hands from that, turned off the water outside and called a 24-hour plumber. Then I called work to say I'd be in late tomorrow.

The plumber got here an hour later. (Thank goodness for 24-hour plumbing services!!) He went up into the attic, got all around in there and couldn't find the problem. Went up on the roof and finally found it, thank goodness. Apparently there's a hairline crack in the pipe to the solar panel. Over time that saturated the cover around the pipe. I think most of the water dripped off the roof, but the saturation in the pipe covering backed up and that's what got behind the walls. So since the broken pipe's outside, he can get to it to fix it relatively easily (note: his first try just failed when he turned the pump back on, so only relatively easily) and all we'll have to do is patch the spot on our bedroom wall where the bulge was (it's not all that big; the bulge was fist-size) and maybe put some spackle on the ceiling in the erg room. Whew. Since it is the pipe to the panel that's leaking, at the very worst he can turn off the valves to the solar. The water heater uses a combination of electric and solar power and can works just fine on electric alone, so that wouldn't be a big problem.

My plan is to get to work 10 hours from whenever I get to bed - 8 to sleep, 1 to erg, one to shower, dress, and drive. It's probably a good thing I was there from 7:30 until 6 today.

On the plus side, I used the time to get a bunch more cards done and more of the tree decorated. It's not my first choice of ways to find more time, but at least I can hope for a happy ending....

Posted by dichroic at December 15, 2004 10:46 PM

Heat pumps and solar panels. Gads, I must really be a plumber, my first thought was that I wanted a peek at your schematics. Your hybrid water heating set-up sounds nifty. I'm a dork. I'm also glad your situation wasn't worse and you got help so quickly. ~LA

Posted by: LA at December 16, 2004 08:33 AM
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