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Well pump and chickens
Old 07-29-2008, 09:32 AM   #1
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Well pump and chickens

Well, we've been without water for going on three days now. the flapper in the toilet leaked or something and our pump ran dry. Apparently it ran dry long enough to burn out the impeller. That was Sunday evening. We found out as we returned from a long motorcycle ride.

So yesterday I worked on it for something like ten hours, and still didn't get it fixed. Now don't judge me too harshly, because that 10 hours also includes three separate trips to Lowe's. Once for PVC couplings and elbows to try to fix a suspected air leak that might have caused it not to pressurize. Failure, so the second trip was to purchase a new jet pump. (Why do people always look at me funny when I strap stuff like that onto a motorcycle?) Got home and found out that I sometimes don't know my own strength. When I put that last pump together I really tightened those nipples on the face of the pump. I can't get them out now for love nor money. So a third trip to pick up parts and I decided to use PVC this time. Well, once I got home, wouldn't you know it, the PVC fittings are too thick to install next to each other. So this morning i will have to go to Lowe's AGAIN and buy those nipples I should have bought last night.

Thank goodness for the swimming pool. We've at least been able to bucket water up to the bathroom and wash up in the pool.

I find myself wishing that I hadn't built such a large chicken tractor. Sure, the chickens apparently love it, and I built it to meet the higher space recommendations I could find. (Like 4 sq ft per bird instead of only 1 sq ft.) But it sure is heavy. And it takes up an awful lot of room. I've only got 1/4 acre and that includes the house, the front yard, the side yard, the driveway, and the swimming pool. Doesn't leave a whole lot of space birds. I guess somewhere around 1/3 of my tiny lot.

I am going to try to move the birds daily instead of every two days. They can really tear up a piece of lawn in two days, and it takes a long time to recover. It is my hope that moving them daily will lessen the stress on the lawn to the point that it recovers before I have to put them back on a particular area. (Which is not the case right now.)

Well, better head out to Lowe's. See ya'.

I don't know whether it is the relaxed pace of being retired, or the dread of working on that darned pump again, but I've procrastinated about as long as I can.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post
Well, we've been without water for going on three days now. the flapper in the toilet leaked or something and our pump ran dry. Apparently it ran dry long enough to burn out the impeller. That was Sunday evening. We found out as we returned from a long motorcycle ride.

So yesterday I worked on it for something like ten hours, and still didn't get it fixed. Now don't judge me too harshly, because that 10 hours also includes three separate trips to Lowe's. Once for PVC couplings and elbows to try to fix a suspected air leak that might have caused it not to pressurize. Failure, so the second trip was to purchase a new jet pump. (Why do people always look at me funny when I strap stuff like that onto a motorcycle?) Got home and found out that I sometimes don't know my own strength. When I put that last pump together I really tightened those nipples on the face of the pump. I can't get them out now for love nor money. So a third trip to pick up parts and I decided to use PVC this time. Well, once I got home, wouldn't you know it, the PVC fittings are too thick to install next to each other. So this morning i will have to go to Lowe's AGAIN and buy those nipples I should have bought last night.

Thank goodness for the swimming pool. We've at least been able to bucket water up to the bathroom and wash up in the pool.

I find myself wishing that I hadn't built such a large chicken tractor. Sure, the chickens apparently love it, and I built it to meet the higher space recommendations I could find. (Like 4 sq ft per bird instead of only 1 sq ft.) But it sure is heavy. And it takes up an awful lot of room. I've only got 1/4 acre and that includes the house, the front yard, the side yard, the driveway, and the swimming pool. Doesn't leave a whole lot of space birds. I guess somewhere around 1/3 of my tiny lot.

I am going to try to move the birds daily instead of every two days. They can really tear up a piece of lawn in two days, and it takes a long time to recover. It is my hope that moving them daily will lessen the stress on the lawn to the point that it recovers before I have to put them back on a particular area. (Which is not the case right now.)

Well, better head out to Lowe's. See ya'.

I don't know whether it is the relaxed pace of being retired, or the dread of working on that darned pump again, but I've procrastinated about as long as I can.
Quit working so darn hard! I thought retirment meant unwinding.......
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:10 AM   #3
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Whenever I'm doing a plumbing project I just fill the cart with twice as many of twice as much different parts as I can ever conceive of using and then return what I dont use.

It doesnt help that the folks who put my irrigation system put in 1/2, 3/4 and 1" pipes indiscriminately, often using 1/2" to service 6 gear drive sprinklers and a 1" pipe to service a couple of pop up's.

I had an entire shopping cart full when I plumbed the new kitchen sink we put in last month.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:40 AM   #4
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Also, consider one of these:

Pumptec will protect your pump from running dry.

It senses when the well runs dry (the motor amps change), and shuts off for a predetermined time. If the well has slow recovery (my problem), this gives it a chance to recover. If there is a leak, it will keep the motor from just running non-stop and frying.

My FIL had something like this on his, I should get one too.

-ERD50
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:57 PM   #5
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Just remembering: it took me 10 years of being on a city water system to get over the taboo of running water when the electricity was out.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:35 PM   #6
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I'll second that. One of those saved our pump when the water table dropped during a severe drought two years ago, and the lack of one just cost our neighbor their pump. It will pump when water is available, and shut off the motor when it's sucking air and likely to overheat. When your pump is so far underground that replacing it is a $3,000 job, it seems like a no-brainer to spend a hundred bucks on a Pumptec. ("Seems like," because I've never seen one installed locally, and our house didn't have one either.)
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Also, consider one of these:

Pumptec will protect your pump from running dry.

It senses when the well runs dry (the motor amps change), and shuts off for a predetermined time. If the well has slow recovery (my problem), this gives it a chance to recover. If there is a leak, it will keep the motor from just running non-stop and frying.

My FIL had something like this on his, I should get one too.

-ERD50
While that seems like a wonderful idea, their website says it is not for use on jet pumps. Of course, I have a jet pump.

Got that sucker running yesterday. A couple of phone calls to one of my brothers (the electrician) and I found out that the reason I got "lit up" despite the switch is that I have 240 running to the pump, so both the black AND THE WHITE are hot. Darned glad I didn't touch both of them at the same time.

Today's mission is to replace the defective flapper that caused the problem in the first place. Did you know those things are only guaranteed for 5 years? Ours was the one that was there when we moved in 18 years ago. Guess it's due for replacement. But this time I'm taking the old one to Lowe's with me. Should only require one trip that way.

I drove over 120 miles back and forth to Lowe's to fix that darned pump. Good thing I was using the motorcycle. The truck only gets 10 mpg. That would have been an additional $50 just for the gas.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeatherneckPA View Post

Today's mission is to replace the defective flapper that caused the problem in the first place. Did you know those things are only guaranteed for 5 years? Ours was the one that was there when we moved in 18 years ago. Guess it's due for replacement. But this time I'm taking the old one to Lowe's with me. Should only require one trip that way.

I drove over 120 miles back and forth to Lowe's to fix that darned pump. Good thing I was using the motorcycle. The truck only gets 10 mpg. That would have been an additional $50 just for the gas.
Suggestion on the toilet flapper. I've had several go bad here, sometimes they get hung up if the chain has just a bit of extra legth, I've had them rub against the side of the tank, and generally has to tweak them to get them to work, and I've had them just lift off. A really marginal design , IMO.

Then I noticed a different style at the store. It is not a flapper at all, but just a vertical shaft/float with a seal on the bottom. And a 'hoop' molded into the side - you get a solid shaft toilet fluxh handle, and bend it to fit into that hoop. Advantages:

1) No 'sideways' motion , it moves only vertically, so it can't get hung up on anything.

2) No chain to try to get set just right, or to break, or get stuck anywhere.

3) With the solid shaft flush handle, if you see the water level rising in a plugged bowl - you can STOP THE FLOW by just lifting on the handle! That pushes the float valve closed.

4) It just seems to me like a simpler, more foolproof design. The valve is just a flat washer, everything moves in one axis, rather than swining in an arc. Just seems better in EVERY way, at least so far.

Only disadvantage I can see,

you need to take the tank off so that you can screw the new base with it's seal onto the tank, and re-assemble that. I think ti was worth it, but you'll want to get new gaskets and tank bolts for the bowl-to-tank junction. Check if yours is a two or three bolt system, they had what I needed.

Good luck!

-ERD50
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