Sunday, November 27, 2005

Becoming one with the pipes

It's been a while since I posted anything here, mainly because my time has been occupied dealing with some broken plumbing in our house. We have low water pressure coming in from the main so the builder installed a Grundfos MQ booster pump. Alas, the MQ has a few quirks, not least of which is that it is not adjustable and produces about 95 PSI. So when you turn on a tap in our house it starts out as a trickle, and then transforms into a gushing torrent.

The situation came to a head, so to speak, when a few weeks ago the plastic (!) fitting that attaches the outflow pipe to the pump failed, resulting in a rather spectacular geyser of water at the side of our house.

I went through half a dozen different plumbers, plumbing supply shops, and don't even know how many web pages to try to figure out what to do about it. Everyone was telling me something different. Some said I needed a different kind of pump. Others said, no, the MQ is top of the line, you need a pressure regulator. Still others said I don't need to do anything, 95 PSI is not too high.

I finally decided to go with the pressure regulator since that seemed to be the least disruptive solution. Again I had the very devil of a time finding someone who would do the work for me. There must be an awful lot of demand for plumbing services in Southern California. I actually had one come out and spend an hour evaluating the situation and then never even got back to me with an estimate. Go figure.

If you want something done right you've got to do it yourself. So I got myself a propane torch, some lead-free solder, a can of water soluble flux and a pile of copper fittings and installed the damn thing myself. Here's the result:

It looks quite good (if I do say so myself), and it doesn't leak (well, not much). But mainly the pressure in the house is now down to a more reasonable 65 PSI. It feels good to get something like that done.

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