Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009: The Year of What Next?

So I'm being all domestic and industrious tonight, and I head on down to the basement to do the laundry I should have done this weekend, and when I get down there, I hear this sound.




Nothing should be running. Sink's dry, both stack pipes are dry, the waste pipe along the floorline is dry (and so it should be - it gave out the first year I owned the house). I go to the far front of the basement, pull on the light cord, and the light comes on. And it reflects off the pool of water on the floor.

My first thought is the hot water heater went, which it shouldn't; it's only 9, it got replaced right before I bought the house. Then I see the source of the drip - it's a pipe that's coming out of my heater. Huh?

Upstairs, get the man who has -if not knowledge then more of a clue how this stuff works than I do - and he says it's an overflow valve for the heater. Understand I have a ginormous old house with 16 radiators, and that means there's probably a lot of water flowing through the pipes up there. But why would it overflow?

Called the plumber. He called back a half hour later (I love my plumber) and he had several suggestions. I was not the one to speak to him, or Bill the plumber would be on my doorstep first thing tomorrow morning to cause inconvenience, mess and expense because much as I don't want another bill right now, I also don't want to deal with an ongoing problem.

He had several suggestions about how to stop the flow. None of them worked. Replacing the valve, however, would mean draining the entire heating system so he could work on the pipes. Draining, okay, pain in the butt. Re-filling the entire heating system, probably a $200 water bill. On top of the plumbing bill. His suggestion for living with it is to go down twice a day, change the bucket, and try to nurse it along for a month, until heating season is over, so that then it could be a two-step process: (1) pay him to deal with the pipe, and (2) re-fill the system some time before the heat goes on next November.

That sounded okay, until I went downstairs to put the wash in the dryer and the first 5 gallon cat litter tub was half full. How many gallons does my house hold, and how long is it going to take them to drizzle out of that pipe? And will there be anything left for Bill to drain by then?

Is my house bored? Does it get some obscure pleasure in every once in a while throwing some small part of itself on the floor in a fit of house-ish pique? What? Didn't I give it a new(ish) kitchen? Don't I pay its bills and worry over it?

Sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful house. And that's all I have to say about that.

I'm going to go finish my jacket and not think about what's going on in the basement.
This is Max. Max is a 10-year-old Olympic champion sleeper. It makes me calmer just to look at him. I share my cat valium with you.


luckylibbet said...

Thank you for your cat valium. I needed it.

NancyDaQ said...

Max is adorable. I'm glad he's your cat valium.

Keely said...

Aww, your cat valium is cute.

tarabu said...

An interesting though - a house in a fit of pique . . .. . this has potential.

-E said...

so glad I rent.

And that pic of Max made me want to mush my face into the computer screen :)

Gorgeous Things said...

Ah yes, I heard a comic sum it up beautifully:

When I was a kid, I would hear things go bump in the night and wonder, 'What's coming to get me?'

Now I hear things go bump in the night and I wonder, 'What's that going to cost me?'

You and I are living the same 2009, I think!

cidell said...

I'm sending you old house positive energy.

Dawn said...

Hee hee, this story is so familiar. Our overflow valve is also "overflowing" but we have a floor drain in that room. I made a little aluminum foil irrigation ditch so it diverts the drips to the drain. My husband is going to change the valve but, like you said, you have to shut everything down. In the winter up here that's not an option. My little irrigation ditch is annoying but it solves the problem. I did that one of the times he was up on the slope. My house was born in 1975 so it's not "that" old but it was shoddy construction.

Meg said...

"Cat valium." Love it, need it.

laura said...

In my next life I want to come back as a cat (preferably one of yours). I've tried over the years to fool my house, appliances, and cars by never mentioning things like tax refunds etc in their presence. But unfortunately if something needs to be fixed (for example your sick kitties) then appliances and the like get jealous and want their fair share of attention. I dealt with this a lot last year (and actually already this year!). Oh the wonders of home ownership!

goodworks1 said...

Could you attach a hose from the overflow pipe to the drain so that at least you won't have water on the floor to deal with? Sort of a variation on Dawn's solution? At least you could stop listening for the 'drip'...

Very cute cat valium!

Kitty Couture said...

Thanks for the cat Valium. Always appreciated.

Good luck with your heater!

Kat said...

Don't just look at Max, Karen, PET him. Just thinking about these nuisance bills can raise the blood pressure. Doesn't petting a cat reduce blood pressure?

About two years ago, I was making dinner and heard this hissing noise. I searched for the source of this noise and discovered our water pressure tank developed a spraying leak. The leak was not in a good spot, but on the seam of the tank so it couldn't be patched. We know that because the plumber came out (after regular hours, of course, which means a higher bill), and said it would have to be replaced. It would have to be drained and the water would have to be shut off completely until the next morning when he could come and fix it. I shudder at the thought at what COULD have happened had I not been home. It would have flooded my laundry room and possibly my sewing room. Wasn't exactly a slow leak. Anyway, these plumbing bills are never less than $200. Usually about $500-$1000. Kind of like the dentist or car repairs--shockingly expensive!