Friday, November 14, 2014

The phantom leak

To those of you with a macabre sense of humor, who have been following my troubles with water, namely floods, this story will amuse you.  We came home last Friday and everything appeared normal.  But, when we tried to use the water is was turned off.  At first I thought it must be the whole building, but when I checked the cold water mains outside the front door was actually turned off.  I wondered who would have done this without informing me, maybe it was a prank of some kind.  So I turned the water back on and then went around to check if there was another flood or leak anywhere, but there was not.  So I forgot about it for a while, then the phone rang just before Shabbat and it was a neighbor to tell me that there was a problem with hot water in the building, cold water was leaking into the hot water system and the plumber, Amram my friend, had traced it to to my apartment, and so he had turned my water off.  Would I mind keeping my water off until after the weekend when Amram would come and fix my problem.
So I obliged, we filled up some bowls and pots with water and then turned the water off.  Actually it was only the cold water that was off, so we could actually run hot water, which remained cold at first.  When we needed showers and to flush toilets I turned it back on for the time.  On Sunday (a working day here) I called Amram and he came in the afternoon and explained to me that when he checked the building my apartment was the only one that was using up cold water even though we were not home and supposedly it was all turned off, so he figured that there must be a leak from my cold water system into the hot water system of the building.
We went around together checking all the taps (faucets) and could find no problem.  I thought it must be the shower, that has a swivel lever that goes from cold to hot, but after checking Amram said it wasn't that.  Then he found the washing machine and although he could not prove it, he decided it must be the problem since we keep the taps to the washing machine open all the time, so the cold water under greater pressure than the hot, could be leaking into the hot water system.  I was not convinced, but he asked me to keep the cold water tap on the washing machine closed (when not in use), and indeed it reduced the cold water flow in my apartment to nearly nothing.
So I learned two things, first check the flow meter on the water periodically, to see if it is turning around when everything is turned off, and if it is then check for leaks.  Also, I learned that you can have a visit from the plumber without actually paying him if your leak is a phantom one. 


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