The hiss of water

We woke Saturday morning to the hiss of water.

At Sea Eagle View, one of the 11-year-old water heaters failed, one year past expected lifetime. Manufactured in December 2004 according to the label, this tank served the kitchen, laundry and powder bath on the first floor, and the master upstairs.

Steven called Barry at Custom Plumbing. He’s tasked with plumbing Emerald Hill. Barry rolled a truck. Kenny arrived about 11 a.m. after picking up a new 50-gallon electric water heater and other supplies. Kenny went to work. Steven, Jacquela and Jadin got out of the way, delivering donations to Goodwill, visiting Sherwin-Williams to begin picking out exterior paint colors for Emerald Hill. About 145 pm, Kenny reported he needed to also repair the pipes to the recirculating pump, after bumping the pump while lifting the new tank into position. About 4 pm, Kenny turned the water back on, Steven turned on power to the new pump at the breaker box, and Steven and Kenny babysat the plumbing, looking for leaks. We were dry. Kenny packed up and drove off.

Which is when this adventure swerved into a ditch.

Water pressure inside the house fluctuated between a trickle and full pressure. Steven and Jacquela bled air out of the system. Pressure came back up, then dropped, then came back up. Steven checked the valves at the tank and street. All good. Jacquela and Jadin left for dinner with friends Shannon and Rafael and Jadin’s classmate since kindergarten, Sofia. Steven stayed behind to take a shower using the new water heater.

But, first, he checked the new tank — and discovered water streaming across the garage floor, hissing out of a pinhole leak at the pipes that connect to the top of the new tank.

Barry pulled into the driveway about 10 pm, peeled back the protective insulating foam, located the pinhole, soldered it closed. Barry and Steven tested the water pressure in the house — normal. Barry drove off. Steven opened up the kitchen faucet to put water into Reboot’s bowl. Nothing. Not even a trickle. Upstairs, Jacquela opened up fixtures in the master bath. She got a couple of kicks of air bleeding from the system. Then a trickle of water. Steven called Barry. Barry walked Steven through checking and rechecking all the valves at both water heaters, the valves at the street, fixtures in the house. Past 11 p.m., Barry and Steven agreed that Kenny was coming back Sunday with Pressure Reducing Valves, the device that reduces the flow of municipal water supply from above 80psi to 65psi, which is less destructive to solder joints and fixtures inside the house. See this article from Watts. We suspect the pressure fluctuations are telling us that the PRV is failing.

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