IN WHICH Mojo Continues to Lose the War of Wits

Well PumpYou see this on the left? This thingie is a well pump. It pumps water out of a well and sends it to a pressure tank, and hence pressurizes the water throughout my house. Without it, the water would never climb itself out of the basement, let alone flush our toilets or shower our filthy, filthy bodies clean. In conclusion: Mojo likes having running water.

Longtime readers will know that the well pump has been the very BANE of Mojo's existence, despite its obvious necessity. The well pump overheating and throwing a PVC pipe with a delightful pressurized spray of scalding hot water is the originating event behind Mojo's Carnival of Smiles. It has caused me much aggravation since. You wouldn't think it would be so problematic, since it is a relatively simple device. The water gets sucked in from the well through the hole on the right, and pops out the hole at the top into the house's plumbing. The rest of it is just an impeller (fancy word for "fan") with a motor to turn it and impel the water in one hole and out t' other.

The whole system is pressurized, and to monitor that we have the pressure switch, which is the little black box you see on the left. A tube coming from the water housing on the pump goes down to the bottom of the switch and pushes it with some fifty pounds of pressure per square inch. If the water pressure in the system drops--say, if you take a shower--the switch turns the pump on, and the water gets pumped back up to the proper pressure.

We've replaced the whole well pump once in the twelve or so years we've lived here, a year or two after the Carnival of Smiles made us replumb the entire system with actual PIPES instead of random garden hoses and clamps. I've probably replaced the pressure switch--it bolts on, and just acts as a housing for the electrical wiring--four or five times (indeed I keep a spare one or two on hand for just such times). And the little pressure tube that runs from the pump to the switch, I have replaced more times than I can count. Including THREE TIMES IN THE PAST WEEK OR SO.

The first time I had to replace it, I figured it was about due anyway, although I was a little surprised in how it failed. Usually it pops off of one end or the other. I have little clamps on to prevent that from happening, so maybe it was inevitable to develop a pinhole leak somewhere along its length, spraying a fine mist merrily over the cat's litterbox. I keep a coil of tubing just for this eventuality, so I hacked off a length, unscrewed the clamps and replaced it with only a very slight bit of bathing on my part. Fred watched the entire time, as is his wont, and he REALLY ENJOYED the pee-stream of well water that came flying off the pump to hit the water heater some eight feet away. Fifty pounds of pressure, you'll remember.


Mojo repairs her well pump.


So you can imagine my chagrin a few days later to wander into the basement and find the NEW length of pressure hose spraying from no less than THREE little pinprick holes. Huh, sez I, perhaps my coil of hose--which must be going on ten years old, now--is no longer equal to the task. So I bought a NEW coil of hose, and spent some time down in the basement replacing the pressure hose again, while Fred watched and again danced with glee at the thin spray of water hitting the water heater tank.

This time I was doing laundry all day, so I happened to go down in the basement again maybe two hours after replacing the hose. To find, to my dismay, that the NEW hose already had ONE pinprick leak cheerfully misting away. It's like our well is pumping HYDROCHLORIC ACID instead of WATER. This caused me no end of cursing and throwing things, because believe it or not I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO than replace hoses on the well pump. To be honest, I don't even like being ANYWHERE AROUND IT, as the Carnival of Smiles might suggest, should you read through it all. Yeah, call it PTSD, but I REALLY don't like being around it if I can help it, and here I am visiting it on almost a daily basis.

So I rub the stupid hose, and find--instead of nice smooth hoseness--there are what appear to be BITE MARKS all up and down it. I have yet to catch him at it, but good ol' Fred, who is apparently taking a break from destroying every electrical wire in the house, is now CHEWING ON THE WELL PUMP HOSE.

Luckily for me I still have a length of ick-tasting cable protector from the LAST expensive round of cat chewing. Enough for the well pump, anyway. But I still have to go down there and replace that damned tube ONE MORE TIME.

Anybody wanna buy a cat?