Here’s a real simple way to save money on home repairs: maintain things according to instructions.
No-brainer, eh? Well, easier no-brained than not.
Recently the water has been draining out of the pool’s pump pot every time the system shut off. Nothing I could do seemed to fix it: no amount of cleaning, adjusting, or fiddling around stopped the pump and filter from sucking air whenever the timer turned the pump off.
This? Bad. You don’t want the pump to come on when the system is full of air. It can blow the lid off the pump pot, causing the expensive damage we all can imagine and inflicting serious bodily harm to anyone who might be standing nearby. If the pump runs dry for any length of time, it will burn out, another event that comes under the heading of “expensive damage.”
Argha! I figured this looked like another pricey visit from Leslie’s. For quite some time, there’s been a little seep from a connection between a large pipe and the pump. The Leslie’s guy has insisted it’s not worth fixing, because, he said, the plumbing job would be expensive. This tiny leak been going on for a while—as in “several years”—so I expected the time had come to repair it.
Figures. Every outlandish expense tumbles down on your head when you can least afford it.
But since the system was draining water only when it was off and seem to work fine while it was running, I’ve been turning it on and off with the breaker switch instead of letting it run on the timer. This way I can bleed the air out each morning when I turn the system on. The plan was to continue operating the system manually until this until fall, when I have an income again, and then hail the Leslie’s guy back over here as soon as my first paycheck hits the bank.
Early in the morning while I was contemplating this state of affairs, it occurred to me that it’s been a long time since I lubricated the O-ring that serves as a washer for the pump pot lid.
Hm. You don’t suppose… Could it be?
It’s been so long, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t even find the goop, which I normally keep out there by the pump. Probably Bob the Leslie’s Dude accidentally walked off with it, thinking it was part of his tool set.
This morning I had to join the choir to sing a at a funeral. So, this taking me out of the house, on the way home I dropped by the Ace Hardware and picked up a container of silicone grease. Pulled the pump pot lid off, cleaned everything well, smeared this sticky gunk on the O-ring, and put the thing back together again. Primed the pump, let it run for half an hour, and shut it off.
Very nice. The pump pot was full of water, with hardly a bubble of air visible.
Went away for an hour. Came back.
Hallelujah! The water hadn’t budged! The pot was still full, and there was no sign that even a drop had drained out of it.
A six-dollar investment in silicone goop averted a $300 repair bill.
Or, we could put another way…
Several months of idle neglect almost caused a $300 repair bill.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Translation: Get off your duff and take care of things around the house. Fix stuff before it’s ready to break, not when it’s on its last legs. Keep mechanical devices clean and maintained according to their manufacturers’ instructions. A small fix now saves a big, costly fix later!