We had this discussion several years ago, I could probably find it if I cared to search long enough – every now and then the water supply system fails, it has found several ways to do it, and while I accept that Murphy will occasionally stick his finger in my soup I was very dissatisfied with the fact that my first clue was always the tank running completely dry. I wanted a warning. There’s 2500 gallons of water in that tank and the idea of a warning just didn’t seem unreasonable to me. But I couldn’t think of one on my own.
Which is why, when the float switch on the pump circuit failed a few years ago so that the pump wouldn’t automatically turn off, I considered it a good thing: It forced me to stop on my way past the tank a couple of times a week, climb up a ladder, and physically look inside the tank at the water level. My driveway goes right past it, it’s not out of my way. And when the level was low enough, I would walk to the pump house, not far, and manually turn the pump on. This worked for me, I’m already out and about a lot.
There was, as I said, blog discussion on the topic of
better more elegant ways to determine the tank level than climbing a ladder, spinning the lid off, and looking inside. Maybe four years ago Big Brother sent me a gigantic pressure gauge on the theory that water level in the tank would affect pipe pressure slightly but significantly enough that it would show on a big enough gauge, a truly steampunk solution that appealed to me. It meant tearing out the undersink plumbing so I didn’t get around to installing it until I had to replace the faucet anyway, but it went into place in April 2019. And a little experimentation confirmed that the theory was sound in practice: The gauge does react – slightly but noticeably – to changes in tank level. This past summer I learned what the gauge would read when the tank was almost completely empty, as it was necessary to empty the tank for Ian’s water pump project. Good to know.
And last winter I found an unexpected add-on benefit of having the gauge so handy, since it will of course also react to freeze-related breaks in the Lair’s plumbing, something to which the Lair is prone. But for its primary purpose it wasn’t really all that useful because I was still in the habit of stopping at the top of the ridge, looking inside the tank, and manually switching the pump on or off as needed.
UNTIL this summer, when I learned to my surprise that the plumber who (sort of, long story) installed Ian’s water pump was apparently offended by my non-functional float switch and fixed it without telling me. It took me a while to relax to its sudden reappearance; I hadn’t asked for it and didn’t consider it a plus because I liked the “verify” part of trust but verify.
Which is a longwinded way of saying I’m kind of thrown back on accepting that I can verify a full tank by simply glancing at that big goofy gauge on my sink.
For some reason I never understood, the pressure is slightly temperature-sensitive and is highest first thing in the morning when everything is cool. It drops about a pound over the course of the day. But if it reads 19 1/2 pounds first thing in the morning or 18 1/2 later in the day, the tank is definitely full – and that’s all I need to know. I just have to relax and rely on physics, and I can stop climbing that damned shaky ladder every other day.