No tap water test for ? days

It is my house that is running the water not the city. I have turned off the water at the water meter and flipped the circuit breaker on the hot water heater so I can stop the leak until I can find out where it is coming from.  Dad went though the house and he can’t find the leak inside so that means it is happening under the concrete slab of the patio or shop or it’s the sprinkler system. I have no clue about how the sprinker system runs because I never used it.  This will probably be a very expensive repair.

So I activated my no tap water plan and so far it seems to be going very well. I got all of the laundry done last weekend so I don’t have to worry about washing clothes for 1-2 weeks depending if I want to go with smaller loads or a a big load.  I have the Zodi propane camp shower in the bathroom for tomorrow and one of the big igloo jugs is filled with warm water for tonight and I will fill up the second big  igloo with hot water for the morning. I don’t think I will need to use the propane for the camp shower just the pump and the hot water from the big stock pot heated on the wood stove should work fine. I have a smaller two gallon igloo jug in the bathroom with warm water for hand washing and an extra bucket for my rinse water tubs to flush the toilet.  The wood stove and igloo jugs will take the place of the hot water heater so I  will probably see a small savings in my electric bill.

I cheated a little bit by getting the laundry done, filling both of my big stock pots and topping off the pet’s gravity feed water bowl jugs.  Just in case I was the one responsible for the excess water usage. I think Dad is a little concerned about the water being shut off but I’m not worried about the water as I have plenty on hand. My biggest concern is my physical energy levels having to move the water around mostly by muscle power.  I have a dolly and my garden wagon that will help with moving water around, so that will save a lot of physical energy.   If it becomes difficult I can always turn on the water main for a few hours and get any critical jobs done using the tap water.

This “situation” does have few upsides since I turned off the water main I can buy the parts and between Dad and myself I think we can replace a few old valves that are iffy. Remove the non-working dishwasher and replace it with the portable dishwasher I have sitting in the shop.  I can replace the old laundry hoses and make sure I can those valves turn off if I need to in the future.  I have older toilets with the big tanks and I could install new guts into that should make them good for years to come.  I think we  may have to dig a few feet down to find the leak.  I did want to setup the village outhouse idea and depending how much digging we need, I could get a couple of other projects done that require deep holes/trenches. I know this will be harder than normal but I think you should always try and find the positive thing you can do when life gives you a challenge.  Hopefully the city water department won’t get all “butt hurt” with me turning off my own water supply.

I can pay the high water bill when it is due with just a little adjustment.  Paying for the repair job is going to take a bit more work. I think I can pay at least some of it but we will have to see how everything shakes out. I’m not worried yet, peeved and annoyed with the situation but not worried!

8 Responses to No tap water test for ? days

  1. Soffitrat says:

    They should have a policy to let you pay it off in increments. We do.

    • Jamie says:

      rat, Nampa does have a policy for late payments but I still would get hit with a small fee and interest so I might as well pay the darn bill on time since it’s doable for me. I could rant and rave, play the victim and all sorts of nonsense, but the problem is on my end and not the city’s so it’s my responsibility as a home owner to suck it up and pay the bill.

      It’s not all bad news as I will know my water main is brand new and should be good to go for several years. The plumbers will run the pipe out from under any concrete slabs at my place so if a new leak happens I should be able to quickly spot it. My water bill should go down instead of slowly creeping up like it has for the last 6 months.

  2. Tom says:

    I’m disabled also I have been in the plumbing business for 25 years I can help you call me ******* please it’s long to type my wife loves your blog she told me about this thanks if you can’t call I’ll try to do by email or have your dad call please Tom

    • Jamie says:

      Tom, Thank you. I’ll get your phone # to my Dad today!
      I blanked your phone number so you don’t get random calls. I hope that is okay with you.

  3. How did you have a water leak that bad and it didn’t show up as a wet spot somewhere? You’re making me nervous. If I have a broken pipe and it doesn’t show up, I’ll burn my pump out.

    • Jamie says:

      Harry, We think that the leak must be under the concrete slab of the shop or patio. I’m guessing under the shop’s concrete pad as the shop is big enough to hold a 14 foot boat and my mini van with room to spare. I think if it was under the patio slab I would have noticed some extra moisture in the crawl space around the basement or some of the ground around the patio would have got water logged.

      Pipes tend to get buried deep because of weather and freezing so the pipe is probably buried about 24-36 inches deep so the leak would not show up if under the concrete slabs and the soil could absorb the moisture.
      My bill has been going up for a few months but I attributed to the new trash cans (taxes) the city said it needed and not water use.

      So overall I think the pipe has been slowly failing and developing leaks but I just did not make the connection. This house was built in 1940 so it is understandable that a pipe of any type might fail after 70 + years.

      I’m not mad about this failure I knew buying an older home I’d have a few upsides and down sides. The timing sort of sucks but that is Life.

      It’s isn’t all bad as now I know I can handle going without tap water with a minimal impact to my life for a few days to months if that is what I have to do to get by.
      I’m rotating water from storage that is 1 to 2 years old and the water is still good for drinking so I don’t have to worry about the safety of my water storage. I’m not sure why it is recommended by some sites that water be rotated every 6 months as my water has not affected me in a negative way after a couple of years of storage. I’m not saying they are wrong but I think this is old data and has not been test recently. I use tap water which has some residual protection via bleach the city uses. I store the water in a cool (50 degree F) dark spot so algae does not present a problem and my drinking/coffee/beer water is run through a Brita filter for taste considerations. My CIDP is an auto-immune disease so I don’t mess around trying to test my immune system.

      I learned a few more conservation and recycling of water techniques so I should be able to drop the cost of my water bill after the bad water line is replaced.
      I now know how to turn off water to the house and within the house so any plumbing jobs should be a lot easier.

      Depending on the cost I may ask the plumber to give me a bid for replacing a bad shut off valve and capping the water lines to my old non-working dishwasher. I really want to get this house fixed up and as squared away as possible before any type of collapse happens.

  4. My city does not mind people cutting off their own water. You are only stopping it from coming to your own house. I have the huge 3′ key that was made for me so I can turn off my water if a faucet fails like it did one time. I had to go 14 hours with water pouring from a tub faucet.

    • Jamie says:

      Practical: I talked to the Water department and they were cool with me shutting off the water until the main line was fixed.

      Actually they have been very helpful and now that the main line is fixed they will do a couple of new readings of the meter and “might” average a new bill based on the next week of water use.

      I have to take back a few muttered statements about the local water utility. They are trying to work with me, though they have policy they must follow.

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