Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Frugal Habits: When routine maintenance saves a bundle

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.

Or even…

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!

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Author: funny

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  1. That pool of yours! Thank heavens there was a happy ending to this one.

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  3. Good advice. I try to keep a list of things that need to be done regularly and have reminders hit my e-mail on random things like cleaning/changing filters. The same advice applies to cars, as well. Getting that oil changed and those tires rotated are quick and easy things that can add a lot of life and subtract a lot of cost to your four wheeled friends.

  4. You’re so right! This reminds me of one time years ago (back when I was young and stupid, of course – not like now! :)) when my car started acting funny, and I didn’t know why. I began to bemoan an expensive trip to the mechanic when my dad asked, “When did you last change the oil?” I nearly had a stroke when I realized it had been 8,000 miles! Oy. I wasn’t wrong, though – if not for quickly doing that basic bit of maintenance, I certainly would have had an expensive bill from the mechanic!

    Money Beagle, great idea about setting up email reminders to ping you when it’s time for a maintenance item!

  5. Are you still going to get that leak fixed? Several years??? Do you at least have a plant there that’s been benefitting from your largesse?

  6. @ SimplyForties: Weirdly, so little water is seeping out that it doesn’t seem to be hitting the ground. Even in winter, when water doesn’t sizzle off the dirt, there’s no damp under the pump pot. What makes one think there’s a leak is the geologically slow accumulation of stuff that looks like mineral deposit. If I were to bestir myself to go out there and scrub the equipment down with vinegar, probably that would wash right off.

    Then maybe I could observe how much (or even whether) water is leaking.

    A repair job will cost several hundred dollars, which just this minute I don’t have. {sigh}

  7. Okay, well that doesn’t seem so bad. I was picturing years of constant dripping!

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