Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cold Weather + Excess Water = Nothing Good!

Cold weather season is here and preparation is just a part of life for almost everyone. Unhooking all water hoses that are connected to the faucets, taking down the hummingbird feeders that were once the mecca of attention in the Summer, mowing the yard one last time and last but not least put out the winter feed and suet cakes for the birds that visit in the blustery cold weather. Did we get this done in time? Why, yes, we did. I've been enjoying my time watching the birds fuss and fight at the four feeders I have hanging outside my office window. 

One particular chilly morning as I was watching the morning show they put on for me, I noticed steam coming from underneath the front porch. Glenn came to take a look and said it was probably the dryer vent underneath leaking the heat. We didn't think another thing about it until our local meter reader rang the doorbell a few days afterwards. He asked me if I was running any water at the moment. I told him the dishwasher was running but that was all. He stood there and thought a moment and asked if we watered cattle. No, I told him we didn't water cattle, the cattle in the pasture weren't ours. He then proceeded to tell me that we had used 40,000 gallons of water in the past month and I just about fell over. HOUSTON, we have a BIG Problem!!! He said, "Ma'am, you most definitely have a leak somewhere between the meter and your house." Wow, I'd say problem. We haven't EVER used that much water. 

The water leak was found, thankfully, under the house where the hot water heater was located. The pop off valve was open and pouring hot water over the top of the heater and down the sides. Remember when I mentioned the steam coming from under the porch. Mmm-hmm. It wasn't the dryer, it was the steam from the hot water pouring under the house. It was nice and toasty under there. This leak explains why our electric bill was more than double and why our hot water didn't last long when taking a shower. But, to our surprise, this wasn't our problem. It was actually the water department whose water regulator was bad and wasn't regulating the water pressure coming in to our meter and further in to our pipes. Therefore, the water pressure that should have been around 60 was topping out at 140 and with the boiling of the water inside the hot water heater was forcing the pop off valve to open and let out all the hot water. The regulator has been replaced and all is now back to normal. I haven't seen the water bill yet, but I'm sure I'll be visiting the water department to negotiate the charges.

Moral to this story? Don't just assume steam under the porch is nothing to check out.

Hope all of you have a warm, safe and dry Merry Christmas!