I Am Plumber, Hear Me Roar!

June 6, 2008

Ah, the joys of living on a boat.

We had a brief warm spell a week ago, so we put away the space heaters (the central heater is on the fritz and since it gave out towards the end of the season, we shrugged and decided to debug it in the fall).

But since then it's been abominably damp and cold. Last night, I got home from work at 10 PM (don't ask), and the thermostat in the boat read 12 degrees. Shiver.

And my water pump was running. And running. And running. Dry. I shrugged, figuring the tanks must have been almost empty when I left for work, and then a small pressure drop triggered the pump and it kicked in and didn't stop. So I turned it off, went outside, filled the water tanks, and returned inside to take care of a few things before bed. Went to brush my teeth, no water. Oh, yeah - turn on the pump! So I did so.

And unhealthy hissing and gurgling noises floated up from the bilge. And the pump was running, and running. And running. And then the bilge pumps kicked in and I said - FRACK! (multiple times) A freshwater leak! Which means turning off the pump and no running water. And I'm thinking, if it's the hot water tank I'm screwed, because that's not fixable by me. The hissing noises pointed suspiciously at escaping steam.

By this time, it was 11:30 PM and combined with the cold, the lack of water made me grumpy. Even worse, my built-in handyman's away. For several more days. So I threw in the towel and went to bed.

Today, since I got home from work at a slightly more civilized hour (9 PM), I dug the space heaters out of storage, then started pulling up floorboards until mucho plumbing was exposed. And turned on the pump. And immediately located the leak.

Our water filter had cracked under pressure. Well, not literally, but something went badly off-kilter, and large amounts of water were spewing from fissures never meant to emit liquid. After a couple of consulting calls to my remote handy-man (who coincidentally is installing a new hot water tank at the cottage this week), we determined that we had a duplicate filter for the foot pump galley system beneath the sink. Two screw drivers, some damp socks and tights, and two swapped filters, and I now have running water again!

Hooray! And I never even joined the Plumbers Philharmonic Orchestra while I was at McGill.

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