A Cautionary Watery Tale – Part Two

When I look back at the various problems – OK, let’s call them challenges – that we’ve had living in our finca in rural Mallorca, most of them have been water-related. And several of them have arisen as a result of a job that we did in the belief we were making an improvement.

The installation of an electric water pump, to speed up the flow of water in the house, is a prime example: after having the pump fitted, The Boss was left with the task of digging a trench across the drive, in which to bury the electricity cable.  But when all was dug and buried, that wasn’t the end of it  . . .

Pump Up the Volume

With the new pump working, we knew we’d use more water and electricity, but were alarmed to discover how much more. Our water consumption had more than doubled and we’d been using enough electricity to power a small pueblo. It looked as though we’d have to avoid turning the taps on fully . . . which would rather defeat the object of having the pump.

Getting through the butano at a rapid rate

Getting through the butano at a rapid rate

To add to our woes, the water heater supplying our shower room had developed an insatiable appetite for butano.  Fearing a gas leak, we called back Pep the plumber, who quickly applied his analytical brain to the problem. Within minutes he’d dismissed our leak theory and suspected something far more serious. Muttering in mallorquin, he went out to his van – returning with a pickaxe.

Swing That Thing

The bad news, Pep explained, was that our hot water pipe was probably leaking, which would cause the water heater to use more gas. The even worse news was that the leaking pipe was likely to be under the floor tiles in our shower room – hence the pickaxe.

We couldn’t bear to watch Pep smash up our terracotta floor, so retreated – only to rush back at what sounded like a very loud mallorquin expletive. Kneeling amid shards of terracotta and an indoor fountain we hadn’t had before, was a very wet Pep. Swinging his pickaxe, he’d accidentally punctured the cold water pipe.

But he’d also found the hot water pipe, which was seriously leaking – explaining the increase in our water and power consumption. It seemed that the increased water pressure had ruptured a weak joint in the old pipe. Pep set to and eventually fixed both pipes.

Of course, there was still that large hole in the floor. And, as we had feared when we saw it, repairing that was another ‘consequence job’ for us.

Jan Edwards Copyright2013 

5 thoughts on “A Cautionary Watery Tale – Part Two

  1. This reminds me of when we remodeled our bathroom in our very first house. We were young and had 3 children and were going through the requisite “struggle” to make ends meet so had no extra money for emergencies. Hubby was in the laundry room/ bathroom nailing plywood to the floor when he nailed right into a water pipe It (of course) was New Year’s Eve. The water was squirting everywhere and he had to quickly cut a hole in the floor to get to the pipe. Then we discovered that the pipe was part of the hot water heating system. Poor hubby didn’t know what to do and it was the dead of winter so we had to call a plumber. We were hit with a very big bill because the plumber did not like being called out at night and on a holiday, too. A few years later, still pinching the pennies, hubby decided to try repairing an outdoor spigot that was leaking. He turned off the water source and was lying in his back on the stone patio trying to solder the break. He got too close to the log wall of the house and set one of the logs on fire. Fortunately, there was a bowl of water for the dogs at hand and he grabbed it and threw it on the fire. DIY is SO much fun!

  2. Oh, Caterina, I had to chuckle, I’m afraid! DIY should also be known as Damage It Yourself . . . since that so often seems to happen. Hopefully hubby’s DIY skills have improved over the years. Thanks for sharing those anecdotes!

  3. There can be problems with water going in but also with water going out! As Mallorca is a dry island the vegetation is always looking for water. This can be found in the sewer pipes if they can find a way in. A few years ago we had a blocked sewer pipe in the new built extension to our finca. The plumber first had to dig up the pipe outside the house, as there were no inspection points provided. Inspection with a camera showed roots in the pipe under the house. We saw our beautiful floor ripped open but luckily the root could be pulled out with a spiral thing called a “snake”. I built a proper manhole over the opened pipe for future inspection. We also infused copper sulphate with regular intervals to kill new roots. It only kills the roots in the pipe and it will not disturb the sewer tank. This worked for several years but last year we had a new block in the pipe from upstairs in the old part of our house. This time I had my own camera. You can find it on Ebay for 30 to 40 euro, which is much less than the 200 euro the earlier camera team charged. I saw a small root coming in and then it was black! I dug up the pipe and it was a crack where the root entered. Unfortunately the rest of the pipe was under a concrete floor on the back of the house. Borrowed an electric hammer from our plumber and got to work. Opened the pipe and put in my own “snake”. Yes I like to have my own tools! Started pulling and out came a tight bundle of roots, 10 centimetre by 3 meter together with a lot of unmentionables. You need a good stomach for this work; luckily mine has been hardened by years of cutting up and stitching together other people’s intestines. There is now an inspection hole on this pipe also.
    Being you own plumber provides you with lots of fun.


    • Ah, water. Can’t live without it but can’t live with it sometimes. The camera sounds an excellent idea and being
      your own plumber must save a fortune. Sounds like you’ve been a ‘plumber’ of sorts for years, as a surgeon! I’m sure
      a strong stomach is required for both types of plumbing . . .

      • You are right and both types of plumbing gives great satisfaction when you succeed!

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