common sense goes a long way

In my recent post on September 4 I described the installation of a whole house filter, see schematic below.

pipes, fittings and the filter which I installed
pipes, fittings and the filter which I installed

Since this was the first time I was using pex, I was concerned there could be a rupture or seepage in the basement during the night when I was not at the house and so I disconnected power to the well pump which is located deep in the ground.  The following day when I switched on the power I was surprised that the pump had to run for some time to charge the expansion tank.  I thought there could be a leak and, yes the outside faucet was leaking.  I repaired the faucet, disconnected the power that evening and the next day no water emerged from the kitchen faucet and again the well pump had to refill the expansion tank.  So I visited the other outside faucet which was fine and all the faucets in the house and the washing machine connections and listened to the toilets, and all seemed fine.  I gloomily concluded that the check valve in the well was leaking and the water in the expansion tank was leaking back into the well.

My searches on the internet advised that adding a second check valve just before the expansion tank was not a good idea and that I should have the pump pulled and replaced (minimum cost $1,200 if done by contractor) or there could be a leak in the line from the house to the well head or the well head to the pump.  But was this  really the reason?

I decided to use available instruments to determine the cause.  I shut off the water valve at C (the valve at A is always closed) and disconnected the power to the pump and noted the psi pressure reading at E and time of observation.  I did not use any water and 50 minutes later was surprised and relieved to see the psi had not budged.  So this meant that no water was leaking back to the well.  I connected power to the well pump, opened C and allowed pressure to normalize and then closed C and noted pressure at D.  Even as I watched, the meter at D slowly rotated to 0.  So there was a leak somewhere and my valuable well water was being squandered.  Again I visited all the outlets but this time, instead of listening to the toilets I removed the cover of each toilet.  And in the last toilet the water was silently overflowing into the overflow tube because the float was not shutting off the fill valve.  This will be a quick, easy and inexpensive repair and far, far better than having to deal with a bad well check valve.  And with hindsight, the diagnostics to perform were obvious, but isn’t that always the case with hindsight?


Common sense is important but a little luck along the way is always welcome.  Yesterday at 4.30am, when I was away from the logcabin, my smart phone began chanting I had received a text and it was a “security event zone 2 alarm” at the logcabin  which meant something triggered the sensor in the kitchen and my neighbors were being awakened from their slumbers.  I quickly shushed the alarm and looked at the cameras and all was well and so I reset the alarm.  Zone 2 has been triggered twice in the past 3 months and at the time of one of the triggerings a camera in the kitchen captured a large moth flying in the room.  Was it again the moth?

This time the cameras were silent but it could still have been the moth since the camera and and the sensor are in different parts of the room.  I decided to open the sensor case to lower its sensitivity and, to my surprise a small spider emerged from inside the cover of the sensor.  I now think that this spider was hanging out in the sensor case and it triggered the alarm by crossing the face of the sensor.  I removed the spider and some nearby webs.  Hopefully this solves the zone 2 alarms.  And it was serendipitous, since I was not looking in the sensor case for an inhabitant – but I will take luck anytime.

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