Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting There

I'm almost done getting everything put together to get my new water filter and softener system up and running.  Steve* made it over (with the kids) by 9:15 or so to correct the problem with the stems going into the back of the bypass valve.  Since the riser pipe had to be cut to get rid of the ends with bad solder on them, he used the unions I bought this morning at Lowe's and a couple more sections of the 3/4" tubing.  (I think we've used nearly all the 10' length I bought).  Didn't have to replace the elbows, but if we had, I'd bought them.  (Yay for me.)

So everything got soldered in the right way and Steve drilled the pipe hanger/retainers into the wall at convenient brick joints, so the whole system doesn't get knocked into the next county every time I bump my head on the valve.  We turned the water back on, Steve looked at his work, and said, "Great!  No leaks!  I always have at least one!"

But not this time, it appeared.  This time, solder joint success at the first go.


He and the kids leave, and I go to enjoy the luxury of a toilet that actually flushed.  I come out of the basement bathroom, and go to admire the work.  Yes, it was messy as to solder drips and so forth, but it was done!  But wait a minute.  There's water on top of the bypass valve.  I look up.  Oh, no.  There is a leak, up above, coming from the elbow at the top of the outflow riser.

Called Steve to let him know.  He said, "There's things I have to do today, but I'll come take care of it tomorrow.  Put a bucket under it."  I wrapped the leaky joint in a strip of the old faded pink and white towel that had belonged to my grandmother (I remember back in the early 1960s when that towel was bright and  new), then encased towel and pipe in the last of my duct tape.

There's a wire that connects the inside meter with the outside one the Borough reads, and we'd pushed it up out of the way so it wouldn't get burned by the torch.  If I was planning on running water despite the leak, I needed to reconnect it.  Got up on my stool, and as I was sliding the wire and its plastic tie down the pipe, I felt, oh, no, water at an upper joint.  In the elbow about 2" away from the plastic radon exhaust pipe.  It would be in an inconvenient place, wouldn't it?  But maybe why that's why it's leaking.

About that time, Steve called and said frankly, "We're coming back to take care of that leak now.  I want to get this done and over with."

"Good, because there's actually two leaks."

Steve, Stevie*, and Letty* showed up soon, and Steve was able to redo the joint above the bypass valve so it was sound.  And he thought he got the one above the water meter taken care of, too.

They all left.  I put away tools, used some more water.  About a half hour passed.  I was up on the stool again, cleaning the hardened splashes of solder off the top of the meter, when I felt, oh, no, drip, drip, drip!  This time, more frequent and forceful than before.  This is not a place I can put a bucket under.  I called Steve again.

And shortly after lunch, back they came.  And Steve tried it again.  He loaded on so much solder the elbow looked like a messy silver-plating job.  Then we waited.

Steve felt the joint.  "Yeah, it's still wet."

All was not lost, however.  Because of where that assembly is (connected at the bottom to flexible line leading from the outlet side of the water filter), we could afford to cut out a bit of both the horizontal and vertical runs and eliminate the bad elbow.  And because I bought three elbows first thing this morning, just in case, we had one to use.

Steve made one more attempt, this time with the new fitting.  It's several hours later, and the joint seems to be sound.  No side of leakage.  Hurray!

Anyway, with one thing and the other, it was very late this evening before I got downstairs to actually finish installing the equipment.  This mainly involved fitting and routing plastic drain lines and filling the softener tank with water and resin (Safety Note:  Sweep up any resin beads that fall on the floor as quickly as possible.  They're slick and dangerous underfoot).

It'd be nice to say I was finished putting everything together, with or without setting the meters and timers, and the treated water is beginning to flow.  But there are a couple of things still:

a) I overlooked the fact that this brine tank is bigger than the one on my old Kenmore.  The instructions say, right there, "add 3-4 bags of . . . salt."  I only bought two.

Then, b) There's a part, a top distributor basket, that the instructions say I'm supposed to fit to the top of the riser tube before screwing that big honking 2510 Fleck meter on top of the softener tank.  Or rather, there's not a part.  I've either misplaced it since June, or they didn't send me one.  The directions say this device is used "when the unit is subjected to higher than normal water pressures . . . which are present in a few areas of the U.S."  Maybe my area is not one of them (my water pressure is normal), so it didn't come in my shipment.  I'm making no assumptions; I'm going to call the Ohio Pure Water people about it in the morning.

After I've gone back to Lowe's for more salt.


Karen Anne said...

This is about when my brother would say, "You should have paid someone to do that." :-)

Kate H. said...

Not while the friend who's doing it for free is willing to keep coming back until he gets it right!

Tomorrow afternoon, I take their kids off their hands. Both parents are teachers, mom's been back to school since Monday, and tomorrow is dad's last day to plan.

Levi Eslinger said...

That’s great! You got this installed, and all by yourselves too. It’s a good thing you got a couple of people to help out. Most people just get overwhelmed with all the stuff that’s needed to be done, and just hire someone else, or worse, put off doing it altogether. I hope your new water filter does the job for many years to come.

Capital Plumbing & Heating Ltd.