Sunday, May 6, 2018

Leaking like a sieve

It was supposed to be another calming trip to the beach house, which my wife and her brother inherited, just to make sure everything was OK. You know, because the place is about 45 years old and things happen. Especially when it sits in salt air 24/7/365.

We'd already made previous repairs, including a serious leak underneath the house a year or so ago that forced us to return to Lexington on the same day we arrived at the beach. That was fun.

This time, when we arrived, we noticed some of the vinyl siding was starting to separate on the east side of the building. OK, we can live with that. So we unpacked the car and turned on the electricity. Yep, the air conditioner was still working. Whew. Lucky us. It was already 85 degrees outside.

Then I went streetside to turn on the water main

"Oh, no. Bruuuuuce," wailed my wife, who was standing in the carport of the classic two-story beach abode featuring a knotty pine interior.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing: water gushing onto the carport from under the house; water flowing down the side of the house of the lower apartment. Torrents cascading like a waterfall from the ceiling of the carport. Water everywhere. I only wish I was exaggerating here.

"Call Tom," I said, "I'll turn off the water."

Tom is our professional fix-it guy, who's done excellent work for us in the past. He arrived within the hour and assessed the situation. He said he'd be back the next day with an assistant.

In the meantime, Kim and I took a room at a nearby hotel – $142, including tax.

The next day, after breakfast and running a few errands, we found Tom busy with repairs. He thought he found the source of the leak. He turned on the water. It wasn't leaking where he'd fixed it. But the house had other ideas. It now leaked in a different location.

The entire day went like this, chasing leaks, making repairs. By late afternoon, we thought we'd caught the last leak – until we turned on the water. Yep. New leak, new location.

Apparently, the water in the house is running through 45-year-old thin gauge copper pipes that don't fare well against the salt air. The corrosion was profuse. Tom was replacing the copper with PVC tubing.

But we'd had enough for the day. Tom said he'd be back as soon as he could, but I hope he takes Sunday off. No hurry now.  We left for home after 32 hours at the beach

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