Friday, January 4, 2013

Mountaintop Water

I don't know what has changed with our water system, but it has become very problematic that last month or so.  We've had the same system in place for months, but since we've moved to the new mobile and have the plumbing hooked up it seems to be having fits.

Aside from the fact that we just burnt up two power supplies to our pump, the hose filters, in everything, keep getting clogged.  I imagine that it is those very clogs that started our problems with the power supplies.  We had reached a point that we were having to unclog the hoses to the water pump multiple times a day.  Our water pressure would drop to nothing and once the filters were cleaned water would once again flow. 

We thought that a simple enough solution to this problem would be a whole house water filter.  We bought one, attached it the water system between the 55 gallon barrels and the water pump, so that the water entering the pump would be clean.  In theory this idea was great and solved everything, in practice it diminished our water pressure so much it wasn't practical to keep the filter on.  It was at that point, in frustration, that we removed the filter in the hose going into the water pump. 

In practice that solution was good, for a time.  We had great water pressure and no longer had to clean the filter multiple times a day, but I think that overtime all of the debris that the filter would have caught entered our pump and damaged it causing it to not function properly and then burn up the power supplies. 

Since we bought a new pump we obviously left the filter on to avoid repeating this expensive problem.  So far we are not having to clean the filters to the pump multiple times a day, but the washing machine is not functioning properly.  It doesn't finish its cycle without having to be restarted several times, or if it does finish its cycle it doesn't get all of the water out of the clothes, so the drain and spin cycle has to be manually restarted, and even then the clothes don't come out as dry as they used to.  The machine keeps stopping mid cycle and we have to remove a hose, clean the filter and then re-start it. 

It appears that our water is dirty, and that over time that dirt builds up in the filters and causes problems.  Even if our water pump filters are fine now, I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before they start giving us problems again.  There is a strainer that we can get to help filter the water, but we have yet to get one and try it out - that is next on our list of trouble shooting the water issue.  I also think that it is time to break down and start adding a little bleach to the 55 gallon barrels to see if that helps eliminate some of these problems.

Its been an interesting process to go through these different phases of water and deal with the results.  We have a 500 gallon tank, a pump that we think will work, and most of what we need to get it all working, but we opted to wait till spring/summer to install it, simply because there are always a million things to do, and spend money on around here, setting in all up wouldn't be much fun in winter, and there will no doubt be unforeseen issues that will come up, and since we had running water our needs were met and so we decided to focus on other projects. 

In hindsight I wonder if it was the right choice to wait, but I know that we made the best choice possible with the information we had at the time.  We had no way of knowing that overtime new problems would develop.  In the meantime it is rather frustrating to deal with, but I hope that if we keep trying new solutions we can find one to work.  I was reading something online about water the other day, and something I had stumbled upon said that the average person uses 150 gallons of water a day!  If I knew that little piece of trivia I had forgot it, so it really amazed me to see it knowing that we, as a family of 12, use just under 220 gallons a day!

I have an idea for an old fashioned top loading washing machine and rain water caught off of our mobile, but now that we are having all of these issues with dirty water I'm not so sure if it will work not, but I would like to figure out a way to do more laundry.  As it is right now I can only wash about 2 loads a day, some days I might be able to do 3 loads, depending on our other water needs, but in reality I need to do 4 to 5 loads a day, everyday, to actually be washing everything - like towels and bedding.

Speaking of water - we went to a hotel yesterday.  We went more for the boys to be able to watch the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl, but you know that if hot showers were involved we would have been enticed with or without football being involved.  I'm pretty sure that any water conserving I had credit for - I no longer have.  I think I was in the shower for a good 30 minutes, or however long it takes to turn pink and red and feel like you are going to pass 

So, there's the water update, for those of you interested, and for our own personal notes :)