Fortunately, E is a patient man. Because if living on this island during the winter is anything, it is an opportunity to challenge ones patience with problem solving adventures.
This last week has had a seemingly inordinate number of problems. Not just for us but also for our few remaining neighbours. Frozen pipes were the main issue. Even the eagle was freezing.
Over heating boiler tanks another. With the colder temperatures everyone has their fireplaces burning hotter than normal. One friend’s tank is on the floor above their stove. It over flowed, causing boiling water to pour through the ceiling and down on to their stove.
When our hot water over heats, the steam is released and the hot water goes into a return pipe under the house and back to the rain catchment tank. All very good. You would think.. When the outdoor temperatures began to rise and the snow began to melt and our cold water started to flow again, we refilled our indoor boiler tank. First we let the fire burn out and the tank to cool. Then we filled cold water into the cold boiler tank. Then we re-lit the fire and the water, tanks, pipes and stove all heated up together. Nothing exploded.
E went down to check to see how much water we were actually capturing from the melting snow. Quite a bit. He turned the pump on to send it up to the water storage tanks. When he checked up top, he found that no water was making it up the hill to the tanks. The snow was not only quickly melting but by then the rains had started and the tank was going to overflow. We were going to miss out on all the forecast upcoming rain…40 mm. expected just on Wednesday alone.
He disconnected the pump from the up hill pipes and ran it separately. It was working. If we had somehow wrecked it through this cold snap it would cost $600.00 to replace. He thought he should check all of the lines from top to bottom to see if there was an obvious leak anywhere. There was no leak from the water tank up to the storage tanks.
But remember when I was telling you about the indoor boiler tank sounding like it was going to explode last week and E scoffed? E found that the hot water which over flowed from the indoor tank through the return pipe to the rain catchment tank was so hot that time, it had melted the pvc pipe!!!!!
It meant that if he hadn’t discovered it, we wouldn’t have been successfully saving any over flow from the boiler tank. So no real harm done, but we are going to have to find something stronger, less melty for that return pipe.
Back to the problem at hand with the pump from the catchment tank. E had been running up and down the hill, under and around the house, in the freezing cold, since day light. He was out of ideas. Hoping that it was nothing a good long nap couldn’t solve, he lay down.
Sure enough by the time he woke from his nap it had been pouring rain for an hour, the temperatures were up to 6 degrees and any possible water still frozen in the up hill pipes had finally melted. The pump came on, the water went up the hill. 500 gallons saved in storage with the catchment tank empty and ready for the next wet weather system….
We have cold water coming into the house. We have hot water in the boiler tank. We have rain water catching in the holding tank and when the holding tank is full the rain water is successfully going back up the hill to storage. Our water systems, I hesitate to say, for the moment at least, are working.
Usually it takes an ability to problem solve to live here. Especially in the winter, you need to think outside the box, be creative with your solutions. But sometimes you just need the willingness to ignore the problem for a while, take a nap and let
it resolve itself