Few things are more deflating than spending a fortune to replace something in your house like a septic system or new well pump.
As homeowners, we know that these things may one day need to be replaced, but we hope it will be in the distant future, preferably under a new owner’s watch. If we have to spend money on capital improvements, most of us would prefer visible upgrades such as a new paint job, roof, landscaping or a patio.
The water pressure in our well water system has never been great. I know this because it takes way too long to fill up a bucket of water to mop the floor or a huge pot for pasta. I can turn on the faucet and walk away from the sink for a minute or more and it’s only halfway full.
But I didn’t realize how low until my 18-year-old daughter shouted down from the upstairs bathroom the other day. “Call the guy about the water pressure now!” she shrieked. I guess this is what her teachers are talking about when they say she advocates well for herself.
In her defense, she’d ask me to call someone about the water pressure the week before and I ignored her. Though it was sporadically very weak, I suspected that it was affected by household activities such as showers (of which there have been many), laundry and the dishwasher, which seems to be running constantly.
I didn’t think it was that bad. I hadn’t noticed a marked difference in the pressure in the master bathroom. I offered to let her use our shower, thinking perhaps the shower head in the other bathroom might be the problem.
But she was adamant.
“Call someone now,” she said.
I instantly became incensed. I don’t like being ordered around. But more importantly, I had no idea who to call about the water pressure: a plumber or the well guy?
And let’s face it, the last thing anyone wants to do right now is have a service person in their home. It has nothing to do with them personally. It’s just that after you’ve been holing up in your house for two months to avoid the Covid-19 virus, you don’t want anyone in your house.
I thought we could hobble through with our weak stream of water, but the system forced our hand. The next day, only a trickle of water came out of the kitchen faucet, and the Curmudgeon complained bitterly about his morning shower.
I called our well service company and explained the problem. Not surprisingly, they had an free appointment the next day at 9 a.m. Within seconds of looking at the piddly stream of water in the kitchen sink, the technician said, “Looks like your well pump is shot.”
After inspecting the water system in the basement, including a tank leaking water onto the floor, he said our pressure was zero and we’d be out of water by the end of the day unless it was replaced. Turns out my daughter was right about this one. I needed the well guy whether I wanted him or not.
I was heartened that the technician didn’t want to be in my house any more than I wanted him there. He offered to enter through the basement hatchway, but I had to let him onto the first floor to see the water flow. He wore a mask and escaped to the basement quickly, never entering the main living quarters again.
He said his company’s been very busy considering we’re in the midst of a pandemic. After three slow days at the start of Connecticut’s state shutdown with no work, he said business has been brisk.
“People need water no matter what,” he said. I also reminded him that people are in their houses a lot more than usual, so they’re noticing problems that might ordinarily be overlooked. They’re also around to let repairmen do their jobs, though I don’t think anyone is relishing that aspect of it.
Within two hours, the pump was replaced and we were out about $3,000. I was feeling pretty grim about spending money on a replacement part when my son came down from a shower.
“That was the best shower I’ve ever taken in my life,” he said. “The water pressure is fantastic. It’s actually exhilarating.”
He suggested that I take a shower to see what he was talking about, but I pointed out that it was 3 p.m. and I’d already showered. Still, I’m feeling a little better about the new pump. Exhilarating? I’ll take that in any form I can get it right now.