Thursday, May 21, 2009

Red Letter Day!

Today was a Red Letter Day! After dinking around for more than 2 months trying to figure out how to cheaply water my garden from the spring instead of the chlorinated town tap water, I finally found a man with experience in springs to help/advise me. And, I now have garden water! (Well, almost... keep reading...)

First, Calvin opened and checked the springbox; yes, it has water feeding into it. Then he checked the electric lines to the submersible pump. A-OK. So, he asks me when is the last time it was fired up? Best I can guess is probably 15 years ago when they mandated town water; I didn't live here then. I also said that there was no power to the sub-panel in the root cellar where the spring water diaphragm tank resides. (I was certain of that because I had a new 200 amp breaker panel installed in the house 2 years ago and there was no breaker for the pump.) Boy was I (mostly) wrong!

Calvin calmly put the old cartridge-type fuses back in the ancient panel box and the pump came on! (Further examination showed the electric sub-panel runs directly from the outside service entrance panel where the main shut-off is, rather than through a breaker on the new interior panel box.)

Outside of the root cellar is a hose bibb, and when we opened it up... water! Lots of cold but muddy water from the spring. We spent half an hour stirring up the sediment in the springbox, recirculating most of the water from the hose bibb via my garden hose, until it finally started to run clear.

I paid Calvin, and he went on his way as I connected another length of garden hose and the sprinkler head to water my garden. My jubilation, however, was short-lived. When I came back out of the house a few minutes later, I had just a dribble from the sprinkler head. I had either run the springbox empty and possible burned out the pump, or perhaps the old fuses are faulty? After all, they have been sitting on a shelf in the root cellar at least 15 years.

I'm disappointed, although not terribly disappointed. Whatever it is can be fixed. Tomorrow.

If it is just the amount of available water to the pump... the spring now bubbles up in 2-3 places besides where it feeds a 4" PVC pipe to the spring box. (Springs have a habit of moving like that!) Taking a sledge hammer to one side of the old springbox will allow the surrounding water to pour in to feed the pump. If it's the old fuses, I can pick up more at the hardware store. (I assume they still make those?) And if it's the pump, that's the most expensive "fix" but still nothing like the cost would be for a whole new set-up from scratch to run plumbing and electric to/from the spring.

So, La-Te-Da... I now have a means (soon) to water my garden with good, clean, non-chlorinated water. YaHoo!

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