Main Break

Tuesday morning Wife got up around 5:00AM -because she gets leg cramps- and went to start coffee…and at about 6:00 she heard a weird noise in the garage and went to check on the doggie. The water heater was making groaning noises and the re-circulation pump was making a high-pitched whine – and the doggie made eyes saying, “Make it stop!” I heard the ruckus and got up, and we all gathered in the garage where I turned off the circulation pump, which quieted things down a bit, but the water heater still strained, while inside the kitchen water pressure was just a dribble – so boots on in a light drizzle, I went outside.

Around by the front steps water was gushing up and flooding the lawn, and running down the new channel I had dug for the down-spout hose – so I went and shut off the valve to the sprinklers – which did no good, then the valve to the house, which also did no good either. I made a fast walk up the 100-foot drive, out to the Main on the road, and there’s six of those concrete squares to choose from, and none were marked with street numbers – but one that had a bolt with a lifter and that one was squealing, so I raised the concrete plug-thing and started twisting on the valve till the squealing stopped – I had lucked out and found my own meter-valve, and the deluge stopped.A few hours later after going to the store for jugs of fresh water, my plumber friend stopped by on the way to a job up-country, and did a quick assessment: start digging here and I’ll see you tomorrow. So I laid-out a half-folded tarp and got a shovel, and after about an hour had uncovered the main, and a T-junction that went to the house, and what appeared to be an un-glued elbow where separation had occurred.At any rate the flood had subsided so it was just good to let things dry-out in the hole, besides I was muddy and sweaty and there was just one big jug of water with which to clean-up. Civilization is practically defined by running water, even if just cold water, and plumbing apparatus to deliver the water. My Civilization had failed, temporarily, but I still had a dog that needed her walk and she doesn’t think quite as highly of Civilization as I do since she is rather independent of it.After the dog-walk, I heard my neighbor (the free-range chicken rancher) motoring about on his Craftsman tractor. Ah-ha! He’s a retired Plumber! So I called him over and we talked and he went off to get some of that two-part PVC glue, and then came around the fence to see what I had gotten myself into. He inspected the pipes and said that it looked ti him as though a bunch of the joints were only stuck together with the purple-primer, and that whoever had done previous work had missed a few spots. The Main t-junction showed evidence (blue) of glue, but other joints were just smeared with purple.

I got down in the hole with the two-part PVC cement, cleaned out water and mud from the elbow joint, then lathered it up with purple-primer, let it set a bit, then applied the blue-glue and got the fittings back together and held the joint fast for a minute. Ok! Instructions are to let it cure for 24-hours but most guys don’t wait that long…except for me, I let it set-up overnight. In the morning my other plumber friend returned, and inspected my handiwork. His conclusion was that the joints that were holding, had been glued with the clear glue, not the blue stuff. I don’t know – but he called it good, and we went through the process of flushing the line and restoring water service. With a pressure-meter on the hose-bib reading 70lbs, I was ready to back-fill the hole and take a shower! My back is feeling a bit torqued today, but the work is done.

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

7 thoughts on “Main Break

  1. Fine times with plumbing! If you’re talking about Christy’s Red-Hot Blue Glue, it doesn’t need primer, and sets up very quickly. With purple primer and PVC cement, you can apply the cement and make the joint immediately after priming. Actually, I think it’s better that way, since the primer softens the PVC. It’s been years since I worked as a plumber, but IIRC, we hooked up the pressure test as soon as we were finished with all the joints. The clear PVC cement gives you a little work time to line things up nicely. 24 hours seems a bit much, but then I was always working on drain, not supply.

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  2. Seems we all have horror stories about water lines. I won’t go into mine, suffice it to say I have cussed about unmarked meters many a time…
    Hope you are up to par soon.

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    • I got a big-ass Sharpie marker, it’s like 3/4” big, and marked my valve/regulator plug lids – and put a bolt and washer through the cement meter-plug. Without some way of pulling it up, there’s no way you can get your fingers into it. You’d probably break your knife trying, too. Anyhow all is operational now, and the hole is filled-in!

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    • It’s always been a bit damp at the foundation right there, it’s probably been seeping quite a while and finally let go. At least it wasn’t late at night, running all night! El Dorado Irrigation District uses February as a counting month for average billing purposes!


  3. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve never had a supply line break. Back in Long Beach, though, we had the main drain from the garage (where the laundry was) get some roots in it, which popped the clay pipe joints apart, and we had a backyard with a lot of soapy water in it. Our across-the-street neighbor is a plumber, so he got Miguel and the Three Amigos to dig it out, and then replaced the old clay “soil pipe” with a new ABS pipe from the garage to the junction with the house.

    Cost us $2500 to have it done, and it was a bargain, as they usually charge $100/linear foot to replace a drain like that, and it was almost 70 feet.

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