01 December, 2012

It Was Just A Quick Little Repair Job

I didn't say it was a good one, however.

This all started yesterday. I had a few spare moments in the morning, so I thought 'Well, since I have to go into town for some groceries, I'll just pop into Lano's Hardware and pick up a few fittings and re-route that faucet in the well house that I've been meaning to do pretty much since the well house got built.

The only reason we had the faucet inside the well house was when construction first started, it was the only structure on the site. We used it as a tool and supply storage locker - in addition to protecting the well and pressure tank. I didn't want an outside faucet when there was no one around to see what was going on, so it was an easy decision to put it inside the well house.

After a bit more construction on the site, the faucet became redundant. As more time went on, Cody (our caretaker) and I realized we needed a faucet on the outside of the well house to take care of the banana trees and other plants in that area.

Easy enough to do. Just re-route some piping, drill a hole through the concrete block wall and, bingo - it would be done. Or, so I thought.

Anyway, I completed re-routing it yesterday and proceeded to pressure test it. First problem the last elbow, just before it went into the wall, had a slow drip leak. No other way really to fix it for sure than to redo that part of the piping. Easy enough. It's PVC.

Oh, I should note that the reason the pipe seems to zig-zag below the electrical outlet is because it comes off of a 1-1/4" pipe that was reduced to 1/2". Zig-zagging it to avoid the outlet was the easiest way to accomplish the repair.

I couldn't do it yesterday afternoon as we had happy hour at our patio palapa, so I decided I'd tackle it first thing this morning. Which I did. Cut some pipe, glued up a new elbow and got everything installed. Dianna held the faucet in place for me while I pushed the elbow onto the pipe sticking out of the wall.

I let the glue job sit for about 15 minutes just to be sure it was nice and dry and set. Usually, with PVC, you don't even need to do that at all. You can usually run water at pressure within a few seconds of gluing things up. I felt that 15 minutes was being really conservative and cautious.

I came back into the well house and turned on the valve to that line. As I stood there watching to see if any leaks developed, I began congratulating myself on another successful repair job.

Wham! All of a sudden (damn near instantaneously) I was drenched, with water under pressure going everywhere in that little confined space. I knew immediately that something untoward had happened. I quickly bent down to shut off the valve controlling the line.

What had happened was the glue joint for the bottom of the coupling (where my finger is pointing) had failed. It must have gotten wet as I was gluing it up and shortly after full pressure was applied (about 55 pounds of water pressure), it cut loose in a magnificent discharge all over me and the inside of the well house.
Site of the Break
As you can see in the photo below, I got completely soaked as did the majority of the inside of the well house. I'm pointing out the failed glue joint. I think I can reuse the fitting. I just have to dry it, re-glue it and push everything together.
Showing the Site of the Failure
Here's a view of the inside of the well house. Not a lot of room for stuff. The well is under the black plastic in the lower left corner. The blue thing is the pressure tank. It stores water under pressure so that the pump, which is about 55-feet down the well, doesn't have to run continuously to supply water to the whole place. I also store spare gas cans (the red things) in here as it's away from the house. Eventually, I want to build a flammable materials storage locker on the property somewhere away from everything, so that I can store the gas cans, paint, thinner, pesticides, and other bad stuff  in a reasonably safe environment.
Inside of the Well House
Here's the end objective. A nice, new outside faucet on the side of the well house. I'm waiting till tomorrow to pressure test the glue job just in case. Not that I don't trust it, but, I don't trust it.
End Result is a New Outside Faucet
One of the last things to do on this project once leak-tightness is achieved is to run a bead of caulk around the faucet to help deter little critters from moving in. At least it will look good when it's done. The final bit will be installing a new hose hanger in the vicinity of the faucet. Then I can congratulate myself on a quick little repair job.

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