Broken Things

Okay. Things need to stop breaking.

About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that the relief valve on the water heater was trickling water. Rather than try to do that one myself, I just called the plumber. Verdict? The valve was bad, but it was bad because the incoming water pressure to my house was about 100 PSI. So, replacement relief valve and a new pressure reducing valve on the incoming water main.

Somehow on the last trip to Atlanta, the front right wheel cover on Amy’s car got broken. At least that one was cheap (yay eBay!).

After the fix, the house water pressure was just fine unless all the faucets were turned off for a while, then it went right back up. Another call to the plumber. He didn’t know exactly what was wrong but replaced the new pressure reducing valve (most likely cause).

Earlier this week, the hard drive on the TiVo decided to start dying. Luckily I was able to back up the OS portion of the drive and pick up a rebate special hard drive from the Beast. That one will be cheap once the rebates arrive.

Last night, the laptop decided to start locking up. It now runs about 3 minutes after power-up before it locks hard. I have no idea what this one’s gonna cost. Time for a trip to the Mac store tomorrow.

Finally, I noticed tonight that the high water pressure bit was back again. I finally figured it out: it happens after showers. After a shower, the water heater has to heat the water in the tank again. During that time, the water in the tank expands. Before, that extra pressure just got “absorbed” by the water system. Ironically, the new pressure reducing valve prevents that from happening, so now the expansion is isolated to my house. The valve fixed one problem (constant high pressure from the water authority) but caused another (no room to expand means the water heater over-pressurizes the house pipes). Solution? jeffie makes a trip to the Big Blue Store tomorrow. He buys an expansion tank, copper pipe, fittings, propane torch, and other implements of mass destruction (with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one [archived copy on]), and he learns how to solder copper pipe to install said expansion tank. That gives the system some “breathing room” and hopefully finally slays the high pressure problem.

Again I say: things need to stop breaking. Now.

UPDATE: I think I finally slew the water pressure beast. It ate up about 8 hours of my day yesterday, but I did finally finish it. Side benefit: I now know how to sweat copper pipe. 🙂

4 replies on “Broken Things”

Yeah. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? I’ve been meaning to call them back and let them know what I found out.

That was definitely the problem, though. I plumbed a pressure gauge in just to be sure, and with the expansion tank, the system only goes up by about 5-10 PSI as the water heater recycles.

By the way, the other bit of good news is that Apple fixed my iBook for free. The repair was covered under a warranty extension related to a known problem that they had with the system boards in that particular series of iBook.

Growing up a plumber’s son I don’t think I ever ran into one like that. Usually city water was regulated and if well water was a problem it was just adjusted at the pump. Different areas have different problems though I guess. However let me say that I am impressed with the plumbing skills.

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