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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Water- Part 1

Songkran Festivities in Rawai
Well Songkran has passed, and what a water filled fun time was had. Prior to Songkran, we had water issues at the house, and with the knowledge that over Songkran, virtually all work stops and businesses close for about 5 days, a bit of a panic set in. Having experienced Thai tradespeople work, we knew that whatever was wrong, would not be fixed on one visit.

It began a few months ago actually. The water pressure in the house began to drop and the water pump seemed to not be running correctly. We also had a collection of green algea in the water. So a visit y the builder confirmed that the pump was at end of life cycle. In typical mater of fact tone, I was informed, "pump no good, make new, tomorrow". This essentially means the pump was indeed dead and would be replaced with a new pump the next day. And so two days passed, and a truck arrived with 3 workers, who promptly cut all the pipes and installed a new pump, connected new pipe and left. Start to finish time 1/2 day. All the toilets have a hose that is situated adjacent tot he toilets. Essentially it is intended to clean your butt, and not use toilet paper, except to dry. This saves on the septic field and avoids the potential for blockage. Having adjusted to this process, it was with a bit of a start, that the pressure in the hose, had increased to such a degree, that I felt I may well become one of those decorative fountains, with the water spraying out my mouth across the bathroom and off the walls. Over the next few days, we began to see drips everywhere thaere was a water connection in the house, The connection hoses had doubled in size, and opening a tap or flusing a toilet released a great high pressure spray.
And the green algea was still coming in. Two days after that we suddenly had no water. So back came the pump guys, to adjust the pressure of the pump, and to reconnect the new pump to the well pump. In the hook-up they had disconnected the well pump and not reconnected it , so the well had run dry.

The next morning, the new pump is not working again. Back come the pump guys. "maybe need new well" I am told. Trying to get across the issue of the algae, I had to show them the build-up of green debris in the washing machine filter, and show that now, the toilet int he main bathroom waould not shut off. This had been looked at a few weeks prior, and a screw adjustment was made, which I had done many time before, only to have it loosen in 24 hours. But the screw tightening was pronounced as "all okay now, fix good", with a beaming smile and a thumbs up gesture, the repairman. It was also decided that a new sink fawcet was need and I was told that they would be back tomorrow to replace that. The tap had come loose, and upon inspection, the repair man had removed whatever was holding it in place and left. After about a week, he had to come back again, and I reminded him he was to replace the taps, which he agreed he would be doing "tomorrow, tomorrow", meaning in 2 days. In the end, after 4 weeks, I went to the hardware shop and bought and replaced my own fawcett. I am sure he will appear at some time wiht a new fawcet to complete the job, but I did neeed to be able to use the bathroom sink, sometime prior to the new year. I had also decided that the toilet float unit needed to be replaced, and so I did that at the same time.  I have noticed here is that the installation of a shut off valve to things such as sinks and toilets, is not a common thing. Call it a quirk, but I like to be able to shut off the water to a specific area or unit, if I need to do work, without having to shut down the water to the entire house. So at a cost of about $1. CDN, as I worked my way through making replacements, I installed shut off valves as well. My past experience has shown, that just as you get into the repair, something else breaks and you may not be able to use thta sink for a few days as you go to get replacement parts. This proved to be a point of amusement to the repairman, who I am sure wonders why someone would spend money to do this, when they simply have to shut off the supply to the whole house.

Getting up to shower heads clogged and spraying our the side seams, I took the shower heads apart and found a collection of vegetation and sand. So back to the landlord again, and the next day two men arrive, with a ladder made up of spliced together 2X4's, of varying lengths. One young worker had large abrasions and scabs on his legs, which did not seem to hinder his ability to scale the ladder. And they proceeded to clean the holding tank. A few hours later, they left declaring the job done. As I opened the kitchen faucet, the water was a deep green. I had forgotten that the job was to clean the tank, not flush the lines and change the clogged filters. And so my freshly arrived brother-in-law and I spend a nice sunny day doing just that. The washing machine had stopped pumping water, and after we cleaned the sand out of the filter it worked fine again. And just as all was working fine, the new water pump stopped working again. Another call and another visit by the pump people. This came afer an inspection by the builder, who declared the problem to be a new pressure switch. I was surprised we actually got that diagnosis, as we had cleared out as he took the garden hose and sprayed it around turning th epump on and off and soaking the electrical connections, which were simply stisted together and covered in electrical tape. We disagreed,on the diagnosis but by now, I did not care what the problem was, I just wanted it fixed. And so I was told they would fix "tomorrow". By now Clive has mastered enough Thai, to be able to block the exit until he extracts a specific time. An effort that I think is laudable, but then again, in such situations, they will normally give you a time. Whether that actually happens is up for debate. My brother-in-law, however being a constant tinkerer, proceeded to bang pipes and clear the real problem of the sand in the one way valve. Luck for him this was but a temporary fix.

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