A Step in Self Reliance — Installment Two

| 4/5/2016 9:00:00 AM

Jennifer Quinnpressure switch

Installment One left me hurrying upstairs to check the faucets as my newly-primed pump filled the pipes with water. Imagine my shock when I found a geyser spouting from my bathroom sink and one of the faucet handles blown off!

I had recently disassembled the handle because the faucet was leaking and I thought it just needed a new washer. Then it turned out that I probably needed to replace the valve seat, or something, which I thought was beyond my skill level at that point. In fact, the guy at Lowe’s thought I might need a whole new faucet set. So I put the faucet back together and screwed it on tightly — or so I thought, anyway — but this was the faucet that had now blown off.

By the time I could rush out to the porch and shut off power to the pump I had quite a flood in my bathroom. Meanwhile, my neighbor emerged from the basement to find out what the trouble was. We found the cutoff valve under the sink and got it shut off as tightly as possible. I went out to the porch and turned the pump back on, and — what do you think? — another geyser!

Clearly not only the faucet but the cutoff valve was bad. Since I didn’t feel ready to tackle faucet and valve replacements and my handy-couple hadn’t returned my calls for help, it seemed my only recourse was to call a plumber. It wasn’t just a matter of using the bathroom sink — I couldn’t have the water turned on with that valve not functioning.

Next day the plumber arrived and installed a new faucet set and new cutoff valve, costing me more than I’d like to admit. Then it turned out there was a badly leaking valve in the basement, adding more to my already astronomical bill. But my troubles weren’t over. Even after replacing the leaky valve the pump refused to shut off, with the pressure gauge hovering a little below 30 psi.