To Fix A Problem, Look At It With Fresh Eyes

Fancy a plumbing problem to get the cobwebs out of your head this morning? See how long it takes you to solve this! (feeling pretty proud of myself, because I solved it in 10 minutes in my kitchen. However, I will relay information to you as I received it... guessing you will figure it out too!)


My Mother's well system is aging and a team of guys, including my hubby, changed out the pump lines, valves etc. (all of the pump lines were filled with gunk which resulted in a slow loss of pressure over the last few years to my mom and the neighbors that her well system feeds). Still lots to do - lines into my Mom's house need to be replaced due to corrosion. But nothing critical, so the water was turned on last Thursday with plans to resume work today.

However, over the weekend Mom called saying the pressure gauge in her house is reading too high (70-80psi). But since the gauge at the pump is reading 40-60psi, the water system maintenance team told my mom to ignore her gauge - there is no way that the pressure inside her house could be higher than the pressure at the pump (just so you know, no there is no gravity feed here - it is all on level ground) so they told her the house gauge isn't working.

My Mom kept calling.

Yesterday morning my hubby gets off the phone with her: “Your mom says her gauge is now reading 100psi. How is that possible?!” He was with the water pump experts when they verified that the gauge at the pump is working correctly and there is only 40-60psi. "You can't have more pressure at the house, so one of the gauges isn't working."

My response: What if both ARE working and ARE reading the pressure correctly? And we actually DO have more pressure at the house than at the pump...

Here are my questions to him:

Q: Where is the gauge from the pump located?
A: About 10 feet from the pump, next to the electrical panel and switch that turns on and off the pump.

Q: Is the line that the pump gauge on, the same line as to the houses.
A: No, it is on a line that branches off of the pump just before the branches to all the houses.

I told my hubby to immediately call her and the neighbors and have them TURN OFF ALL OF THE WATER! They are getting 70-100psi inside their homes

We rushed to my Mom's to find out that one of the neighbors had a burst seal on the toilet and a leak spring at the water valve outside his house. My hubby and the water team spent yesterday verifying my theory and are now fixing the problem.

So... what do you think the problem was? (answer next time)

Why I was able to solve this:
1. My maxim: If your theory ignores 1 data point, then your theory needs to be revised!
2. I looked at the problem with fresh eyes - not married to the idea that one of the gauges was malfunctioning