I'm a worrier by nature. Maybe I was that from infancy, although I don't remember worrying about much of anything until I was six. One morning I went to see what my grandmother was up to as she was living with us at the time and generally made me breakfast before I went to school. I couldn't wake her and somehow knew she was dead, although I ran to wake my mother in the hope she could do something. Several months later, my father died in a car accident. I became a committed worrier at that point and, no matter how old I get, I've never managed to break the habit.
Last week when I saw the amount of our water bill was close to double what it should've been for a period during which I had the irrigation system turned off, I was sure we must have a leak. When my husband and I checked the water meter, we discovered that the little blue wheel that signifies water is flowing was spinning despite the fact that no water was running inside or outside the house. We methodically checked for wet spots, tightened every spigot, and then turned off each water shut-off valve in turn to see if we could isolate the problem. All we could determine was that the problem probably lay somewhere between the main and the secondary shut-off valves.
|The main shut-off valve is just to the left of the compost bins my husband built for me last year (shown on the right next to the fence in this photo)|
|The second (of 4) shut-off valves is behind these Camellia sasanqua shrubs next to the house|
That's a pretty large space. In between is a row of citrus trees, a persimmon tree, and the raised planters of my cutting garden. My husband's initial inclination was to start digging beginning at the master shut-off valve. Not only was I worried about my garden but I was also concerned about wasting water with every passing day. If you've read my blog for any time, you probably know that I try very hard to conserve water so this approach didn't sit well with me. I campaigned for consulting a plumber to see if there were ways to detect the leak without digging up the garden. Following the Easter holiday weekend, my husband called in a service company we've used in the past with positive results, encouraged by information on their website about modern techniques to identify water leaks without digging. That turned out to be a waste of money but we then contacted a company that specializes in leak detection.
While I was worried about distributing the finished and unfinished compost in my compost bins if we discovered a leak near the main shut-off valve, my husband was concerned that our citrus trees might be impacted, fearing that their roots might have caused the leak.
As it turned out, when the leak detection technician got to work yesterday, he fairly quickly found the leak near the 265-gallon rain collection tank located behind the garage. Luckily for us, it was several inches shy of the tank itself, which is still about one-third full.
|The tank is more than twice as long as it is wide|
|This is the view from the other side. The hose carries any overflow under the gravel into the bed containing the citrus trees, which lies beyond.|
|We paid the technician to repair the leak once it was identified. The work area was very close to the tank.|
The technician used sound to detect the source of the leak. Given the trouble the leak caused and the amount of money it cost to remedy the situation, the hole in the pipe itself wasn't impressive.
|This is the section of the pipe that was replaced. Can you see the hole?|
|There it is in closeup. It's what's referred to as a pin-hole leak.|
We're waiting for the work area to dry out before stowing everything that was removed from behind the garage. That's a project we can put off for another day or two.
|There's a lot more outside the frame of this photo that needs to go back, including gravel|
At least I've one less thing to worry about this week. Of course, if we've had one pin-hole leak, it's likely that there will be others in the future within our half-acre property but there's some comfort in knowing what to do about it if it happens again.
For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party