It’s amazing what running water will do for morale. It almost makes it like a real house! But I’m getting way ahead of myself.
The day after the electric was turned on, a water pump pro I randomly found on HomeAdvisor came over to check out the pump and some plumbing. Like almost every other person we’ve met over the past 5 months, Nick from Clear Water Pump in neighboring Dover Plains was amazing.* With electric current flowing, we embarked on a 3-4 hour game of “find the leak.”
We focused on the cold water lines, but it was immediately discouraging: three leaks in, we were still in the basement. Also, the leaks themselves were very strange: the pipes weren’t burst, but the connections between pipes (couplings, tees, and elbows) were broken just enough to leak. Nick cut, cleaned, and rejoined each in turn. He agreed it was strange.
It turned out that the leaks were limited to the basement (yay!)
But it was (and is) strange that the basement pipes would burst; the house had been effectively abandoned for years, so burst pipes wouldn’t have been a surprise (no heat, pipes burst) but the basement is the most naturally temperature controlled space in the house, so why would the pipes freeze only there? And only slightly, so as to break at the couplings? Nick, his colleague (I will add his name as soon as I remember it!), and I brainstormed. Because knowing things is good. We (they) decided it was likely that the prior owners (or the bank) turned the water off, but did a bad job draining the pipes. Just enough remained at the bottom (because gravity) that when the temperature got cold enough long enough to freeze the basement pipes, they popped.
But we fixed them! So we turned the pump on, and it worked!!**
With the cold water on, we were in heaven.
Except the bathtub doesn’t work, the toilet held a disgusting surprise (never open the seat in an abandoned house – I can’t unexperience that, but you can be spared the trauma!), and the hot water has several things going against it…***
*amazing; adjective: startlingly impressive.
**Our luck has to run out eventually, but seriously – could this house be any more amazing?
***So I guess technically our luck ran out with the hot water. The tub will be an easy fix (replace the water-handle-thing); Sergiu cleaned up the toilet (the man is a saint!); but the hot water pipes have a lot of exploded elbows (and probably a lot more behind the handful of walls still standing), and the chimney needs cleaned, (probably) lined, and the roof-bit rebuilt before we can turn the hot water heater on.