The weekend started out in familiar fashion –with a checklist of jobs, and plenty of enthusiasm. Then I spotted a small puddle of water on our courtyard path. We dug down a little to discover a leaky sprinkler pipe…and it got worse from there.
First step, stop the water. The shutoff valves (one mains, one sprinkler) were tricky to access –way down this narrow hole, with no handwheel. So we dug, attached a handwheel and stopped the flow. Crucially, we discovered that these sprinklers run off the mains.
With only pebbles and weeds to feed, we decided to cap the pipe. Unfortunately, this diverted water to sprinklers down the line. Naturally, they were broken, sending water gushing into the street. Now our only options were water on, and this scenario, or all water off. We called for help.
Emergency plumber arrives. Digging. Sawing. Capping. Still a leak. One night without water. Laborers arrive. More digging. Capping. No water to the house. Emergency plumber comes back. More digging. Discovery of corroded galvanized pipe. Attempted capping. Splintering.
He concluded that this portion of mains pipe needed replacing, meaning lots more digging, more time, and more money. We also had another night without water, save for short periods of switching on and flooding the path. Thankfully, it was sorted the next day, without further incident.
We’re saving money by filling these holes ourselves, but our wallets are still $2K lighter…and it feels like we’ve taken two steps back. Special thanks to our neighbor, Maria, who got her hands dirty while helping us, and drove me to Home Depot four times (no car yet!) in search of fixes.