We pump our own water out of the ground here, using a well Ian paid Big Bux to have drilled, with a solar powered DC immersion pump…
…and from the tank to a network of buried pipes. We have lost water from several causes in the past eight years: Manifold freezing. Pump failure. Flexible pipe kinking. Pipes freezing and breaking at a low point. All but the first emptied the tank. The first unavoidable symptom is no water in the pipes.
That’s not a good first symptom. If it’s a simple problem I can fix it myself. If it’s a not-simple problem, like a pump failure, resolution may take weeks while I pull out the pump, wait for someone to show up here and take it to the city, wait for repair, wait for someone in the city to come back up here, re-install the pump. Did I say weeks? Months is not out of the question. So far it’s never taken longer than weeks.
The system’s flow rate is very low, so even if I can fix a pipe break easily it will still take a day or two before there’s sufficient water in the tank to give me good pressure – or maybe any water at all. So paying attention to the water system is a good habit. But it will try to fool you.
I can stand by the wellhouse and hear the pump, if it’s running, humming up through the pipe. That tells me the motor is running, it doesn’t guarantee water is being pumped. That happened once: The pump was fine but the vertical hose had kinked under gravity. Empty tank.
If the pump isn’t running it might be a problem with the pump or with the electrical circuit. That happened twice: The floating switch in the tank got wedged in a dumb crevice of the tank and wouldn’t signal the pump to run. Empty tank.
Or the pump could just crap out. Empty tank.
Or, as happened day before yesterday, a cow could tap dance on the hose I run to my pear-tree-which-will-never-bear-fruit. Broken hose runs for hours, makes much mud, tries to empty tank. Pisses Joel off.
Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy the privilege of hosting the frickin’ cattleman’s frickin’ cattle? But I digress.
My point is, it’s a good habit to check the water level in the tank. The tap-dancing cow made a good system test: The tank level was definitely low, and probably not because of any fault in the water infrastructure more complex than a torn garden hose. So I made a mental note to check the tank level at the end of the day, after the last dog was walked and the last horse fed…