My Sediments Exactly

sediment filter 0220
Real-time photojournalism: the new sediment filter. The tennis racket is really a wrench.

The plumber is here and I am helping by sitting clear up out of the way. Actually, the plumber is here when he’s not somewhere else, so as a productive exercise we’re not getting far fast.

Avery arrived on time, but wasn’t in the crawl space very long before he emerged and announced he’d brought the wrong size screw threads (or something technical I’m getting wrong) and had to return to the shop to get the right ones. He did say that half-hour of travel time would be off the clock, but I’m wondering how he’s ever going to track his time because he has just now jetted back out the door on a plumbing emergency.

We have people who think they have t-shirt emergencies at Pat’s Screen Printing, but a plumbing emergency sounds like a real problem. Avery has headed for a housing development near Cranor Ski Hill where a garage is filling with so much water that drywall is coming off the walls.

This sounded complicated, from the little bit I overheard: it appears this development has one common well, and to shut it off the HOA president, who has a key, needs to be located. Or perhaps Avery also has a key, but either way, there doesn’t seem to be much the homeowner can do until a key arrives to access the shut-off valve.

Which is precisely why we are having Avery install a shut-off valve right as water pipes enter our crawl space. Or he will install it, even if it takes all day. That did not seem like a possibility at 8:30, but it’s starting to sound that way now.

The shut-off valve was ancillary to his main purpose in helping us today, which is to install a sediment filter. He said “iron filter” when he was here last time, but apparently we’re going to be able to collect all kinds of sediments, including iron.

He started talking in microns: we’re starting with a five-micron filter, but could go down to two microns, or a carbon-something (fiber?) filter, but then we might be changing it out every month. I of course haven’t asked how much the replacement filters cost — if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, I’m sure — but I did learn we can buy them at Ace, same as we can our refrigerator water filter. Which for some reason is as far away in the refrigerator as it can possibly get from the water dispenser.

Avery thinks that with just two of us in the house, we might go six months before needing to change our five-micron filter, and he did offer to install some pipe and locate it in the laundry/mud/pet/all-purpose room, so that Lynn and I and our creaky knees will not have to go down into the crawl space.

I asked if it could be located under the sink, which would inconvenience Marrakesh and his water dish, but Marrakesh is safe for the moment because there isn’t enough clearance under there. I couldn’t find another place that wouldn’t be in the way, so I told him to put it in the crawl space for now and when our knees protest too much at this arrangement, we’ll call him back again.

Besides, we’re supposed to be going into the crawl space on a monthly basis to get the read-out from our flow meter, which Avery installed on his first visit to the underside of our house. I haven’t even gone down to see where it is or how easy it is to read, figuring it’s a long way between here and the beginning of March.

I did make a brief appearance down there this morning, while Avery was gone the first time, because Marrakesh, who seems to have no problem making the five-foot drop into the crawl space, has no idea how to use the stepstool to get back out. A set of stairs is on my woodworking list, but since I’m still in the throes of my bookcase, it might not happen anytime soon.

While down there I did locate the vent pipe that had come loose under the clothes dryer. I knew we had a loose pipe because of the air I was huffing in my bathroom on Sunday during Lynn’s laundry spree, but I assumed it was behind the dryer. It was not; the loose part is in the crawlspace surrounded by insulation, and I’m debating the cost of asking Avery to shore it up versus my knees and back. If dryer vents are even in the purview of a plumber and if he ever makes it back from Cranor Hill.

Right on cue, he has walked back through the door, saying, “Well, that was exciting.” I said, “That’s the sort of excitement I don’t want,” and he replied, “That makes two of us.”

[But blogging in real time is very exciting, isn’t it?]

Once upon a time Lynn bought us a bright-blue pitcher with a filtration system (Zero Water, maybe?), which we use all the time. But it comes with a measurement device so you can see how clogged the filter is getting and know when to change it. I haven’t had a chance to ask the very popular Avery if there’s some read-out mechanism on our sediment filter, but he has already told me that most people rely on their water pressure to let them know. When your water slows down to a trickle, it means your filter is clogged and it’s time for a new one.

He brought with him a spare filter, and it seems like that’s a good policy, to always keep an extra on hand for that emergency midnight visit to the crawl space when Ace Hardware is closed.

On the subject of clogged filters, I asked him almost as an afterthought about the weird spray I’m starting to get from my bathroom sink, and it turns out that same pesky iron sediment is clogging up all the aerator filters in the house. So we have now — and when I say we, I followed Avery from sink to sink watching him take aerators apart — cleared those sediments as well.

[Just before we did this I overheard Avery on the phone with his company: some other plumber installed a hot water heater in the Cranor Hill house yesterday, and some part blew out, drenching the common living area, a bedroom and the garage. Fun, huh?]

And now Avery has gone, after checking to see if I was aware that our boiler needs an annual cleaning (I saw it in the manual, but no one mentioned it — this morning has been so educational), off to save some other hapless homeowner before returning to the Cranor Hill house if the owner can’t track down the original plumber (that’s going to be an expensive call).

So blogging in real time is done, and I don’t want to get too sedimental about it, but I am bidding you all adieu — and hoping your house does not fill with water today.

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