TITLE: Our Water Leak Posted March 16 2015
By Robin Ulbredtch
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On Wednesday, when Steve and I received our city water bill, it had doubled in price. We quickly went to the utilities department at City Hall to see if there was an error. The city utilities clerk printed out meter readings and assured us there was no mistake. We had a big water leak, and we had no idea how to fix it. My heart sank at the thought of having another large bill to pay.
The following Thursday, Steve had an appointment at the VA Hospital. He planned to find out how to turn the water off when he got home that afternoon. Unfortunately,the VA Hospital kept him overnight because his blood-sugar level was dangerously high. Therefore, I had to figure out something else. I filled several buckets and pots with cold water. Then I called the city,and had someone come and turn the water off. Meanwhile, I realized flushing the toilet would use up all my drinking water before the next morning.
After assessing the situation, I took an empty bucket and shovel outside and filled the bucket with snow. Then I proceeded to melt the snow in a big steel pot on our range.
The next day we called our plumber friend. He was not available, but he recommended we call a man named Zach. Zach told us we needed to install a sump pump so we could get the ten inches of water out from under the house. Then he would be willing to come over a look for the leak. Zach gave us the information needed to purchase a new pump, and we did so.
On Saturday, Steve’s brother, Al, and his son, Cory, came from Spokane to help us install the sump pump. After two days of pumping water from underneath the house, Al returned. He crawled under the house and checked out the plumbing, but he didn’t find a leak. The following Monday, Al returned and put all new parts in our toilet tank, but the leak was still going strong. Al seemed a bit unsure of what to do next.
Not knowing what to do next, I called another friend from church and asked him to help us. He does maintenance and repair on homes for a living. After two days and hours of diagnosing the problem and letting the sump pump pull the water out from under our house, he crawled underneath it, looked around, and confirmed that the water leak was not there. He also installed our sump pump in a better location, and found the shutoff valve that turns the water off to our house. After turning this valve off, he found that the water meter was still spinning, which meant the leak was somewhere in the main pipe that carried water from the meter to our home.
While Steve and our friend from church were in our front yard talking about the situation, Steve suddenly noticed that the ground beneath their feet was super soggy. Our friend surmised that this was a likely spot to begin looking for the water leak. He suggested we hire someone to come and dig a hole--to find the leaky pipe, and make room for him to get down in the hole to fix the pipe.
That evening I called another friend from church to see if he was willing to work, and dig the hole for us. He agreed to do the job. Apparently, he called the first Christian brother to find out more details. Thankfully both men showed up the next day to work.
This duo worked hard—in cold, rainy weather—to help us. By 1 p.m. they had located the leak, dug the hole, repaired the pipe, and covered the hole again. We were doubly blessed when we found out we only had to pay for parts to fix the pipes and fifty dollars for labor. If we had to pay the going rate for these services, it would have been a much larger amount,
Finally, after eight days of hauling water, melting snow, going to the neighbors for drinking water, and borrowing our son’s bathroom for baths and showers, Steve and I had our water back.
Thank you, Lord, for helping us get the leak fixed without a big bill for labor or hiring a backhoe. Thank you for your servants who were willing to come to our aid.
God taught us a valuable lesson from this situation: Never take the blessings He gives us for granted. I am extremely grateful for the privilege of having hot and cold running water coming into our home.
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