Saturday, March 5, 2005

Mending sump

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing scarier than The Exorcist is the crawlspace under my house.

First, there's the fact that, whenever I go there, I'm reminded that building codes were non-existent when my house got put together. There's some structural work under there that would make a building inspector feel faint. (When they say, "they don't build 'em like they used to," that's not always a bad thing.)

On top of that, there's an accumulated tangle of wiring, rewiring, plumbing, and replumbing, some of which dates back to Teddy Roosevelt's candidacy on the Bull Moose ticket.

But nastiest of all is the sump, as you can see. On Wednesday our 10-year-old pedestal model broke, and it was my Saturday task to replace it. Aaack.

I went for a submersible model this time, which turned out to require a new stop valve in addition. Of course, when I got it home, I realized that the valve needed a PCV adapter, which required the purchase of a length of PVC pipe, too, and of course a can of PVC cement.

Two more trips to McKnight's Hardware later, all I had to do was dredge the old sump pit out by hand (double aaaaack), and she's sucking water like Charybdis.

If I'm lucky, I won't have to go down there for another three months, when it'll be time to change the furnace filter.


(For the poetry lovers among you, here's a link to Kenneth Koch's Mending Sump, a delicious parody of Robert Frost's Mending Wall and Death of the Hired Man.)


sam's notes said...

David- I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with a basement scarier than the Exorcist. These comments are serving as procrastication for a very similar task- digging out the sump hole and dredging by hand, not to mention throwing away everything that's been water-damaged. Aaaack.

Lex said...

David: We had a sump pump in our house in Lake Daniel. Most of the time it worked fine. Two times it did not were 1) when the line out froze during a particularly cold winter ('93 or '94) and I had to strap electrical lights to the line to keep it thawed; and 2) during Hurricane Fran, when power was out for most of a day and the water got mid-thigh-deep at the sump (about an inch below the base of the furnace) before power was restored.

Now we've got a crawl space. With a big honkin' storm drain in the middle of it.