The big pressure gauge pays off!

Ugh, what a wet, miserable, lousy, ugly, filthy muddy morning. Mornings like this I could curse myself for getting a big dog that needs big walkies, because I should be sitting in my recliner with a mocha and a blanket over my geriatric lap instead of slogging around in the rain and not-nearly-freezing-enough mud.

Since this is the third day without a glimpse of my own shadow, we come to the reason solar electric power will never catch on in the Pacific Northwet no matter how natterers may natter…

…and I think that today I’m finally going to be driven to do something I’ve thought of many times: Connect the Battery Minder across the batteries and run it off the Honda generator. I did it once, ludicrously, many years ago with about 400 feet of extension cord from Ian’s place and it actually worked. The generator is a lot more sensible. Most of my neighbors don’t think twice about firing up gas generators to jazz life into their discharged batteries, so I don’t know why I consider it mildly blasphemous but I kind of do. Sometimes the habitual way of doing things becomes the right way in your mind, even though there’s a better way standing right there waving and pointing.

But that wasn’t the morning’s big issue. This was…


That’s the big pressure gauge Big Brother sent me a long time ago, which I finally got around to installing three and a half years ago, and which badly needs cleaning with vinegar so don’t notice that. And this morning I noticed, since I check it every morning especially in winter, that it was reading a good 1 psi low. At first I thought that might be caused by the fact that at present my toilet valve is leaking, and I believe that indirectly it is – but the important thing is that the line pressure didn’t increase when I closed the toilet’s shutoff valve. The other thing besides leaking which will cause low pressure is low water level in the tank. And that’s very bad.

So – I actually would have gotten a nice soggy muddy walkie this morning anyway, no matter how much I blame Tobie for my troubles. And sure enough…


The water level is unacceptably low. Not alarmingly low under the circumstances but quite low.

Two things could be going on here. First and most very bad: The well pump could have failed. Again. This is far from out of the question: We’ve had the pump out of the casing twice since we put it there 14 or so years ago, once because it had completely failed. It’s kind of due, which is why I actually have a spare. Heh. Talked Ian into that when it became clear our very hard water had killed it the last time. So even a bad pump isn’t the lingering disaster it was in February 2015.

Or: It could just be that the pump won’t run without direct sun, we haven’t had any of that for two solid days, and I let my toilet run 24/7 thinking that would be smart because it would reduce the possibility of a burst pipe. Without considering the certainty of extended gloom in winter. Happily I always stock a spare toilet valve, but I’m not happy with the one I have because I only installed it this June.

I won’t know which it is until tomorrow earliest, when the sun is forecast to peek out. The well pump definitely won’t run on a cloudy day, which is why it’s smart to have a bigger water tank than you think you need.

But the important thing is: That big steampunk pressure gauge actually served its primary purpose: Warning me of low water level in the tank. Huzza!

Finally: At least there’s no wind, which on this very muddy and not very cold morning means the porch can finally serve one of its primary duties:


…letting me leave my muddy boots outside the cabin for once. So the weather, while miserable, isn’t nearly as bad as it could be. 🙂

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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3 Responses to The big pressure gauge pays off!

  1. Robert says:

    … isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.
    Waiting to hear a coyote made off with one boot…
    Good luck with the water issue.

  2. Joel says:

    Waiting to hear a coyote made off with one boot…

    Well, I didn’t leave them on the porch…

  3. Terrapod says:

    Hey! Is the well pump running on 12V? If so, I assume that Honda has 12v output. fast way to test if the pump is working fine only not getting power from sun/battery, or if pump is failing.

To the stake with the heretic!