Friday, 19 September 2014


What I know about plumbing you can put on the back of a matchbox but I do know this. Pipes are not supposed to leak. Tanks are not supposed to empty. Pumps should not fail and water should not smell. All of course is the same the world around.

In my house however, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Firstly, the tank fills up with green algae as does the hose pipe. The water is not treated that well before it gets to my house will probably explain that one away. The pipes do not leak but the all the fake chrome taps, shower heads etc have long since gone and cheap blue taps are now the order of the day.

I have had in the past the ballcock to the main tank under the house rust up so that no water would come out and therefore we did run out of water and the hole where the pump is once filled with water resulting in a new pump being sorted, so running out of water on the weekend due to the pump not working created a feeling of despair and anger due to the fact the landlady would be more than reluctant to fix.

The taps ran dry. The pump stopped working. Phone calls were made and neighbours consulted. With no news from the absent landlady we resorted to contacting a plumber who happens to be a neighbour of my mother in law. While we waited we tried to get the pump running and checked for things that might have caused it, but then for no apparent reason we had running water, the toilets were full and once the brown mud had cleared through the pipes we had cold clear water. Then it ran out again.

My wife went next door and spoke to the neighbour who has been having huge problems with their water supply and noticed that their water pump was running (the tank cover was open) and so came back and asked whether it was possible the water tank on the roof is being supplied by the neighbours pump and water tank. And so it was.

Then the local plumber arrives, takes a look and declares the pump dead and goes next door, plugs the pump for the neighbours water in and ours springs back to life. This means we do not pay the electricity for the pump, probably. The tank filled and life was better.

What my water meter looks like.

Pump on rock to help prevent it going bang shold that space flood again and yes the wiring totally safe...

The tank on the roof of our house has a pipe which connects to the neighbours tank. There is a gadget of some sort connected that regulates the tanks and so if one pump fails the other will fill the tank or tanks up. The pump for our house also does this as long as there is an electrical current from the neighbours.  We were left OK with this.

Then to help reduce the amount of water, the neighbour may use from use, we unplugged the pump to stop it working through the day and therefore no water will be redirected from our house to theirs. Perfect sense in the making.

Anyway, getting home last night, I discover the wife looking bemused by the fact that the water pump was off, the water holding tank was full but the water meter was showing water being drawn from the mains and going somewhere but not to our house. After some thinking, we finally agreed that there has to be a join in the pipe where the water is sent to both our tank and the neighbours and therefore will fill their tank up as well as ours. And after finding out that the neighbours like to drain their water tank out to clean it monthly, we have resorted to turning off the supply tap to the house and another tap as well so that during the day there is no water being sent to it.

So this means that we share water, electric from the neighbour as they do with us and that both water tanks can be filled from either house, both in the ground and the tank on the roof. The cost of the water therefore is higher for the neighbours house because they are the main user of water for both houses and that to save us money we have to switch everything off during the times we are not there.

I should mention, this not probably true for all houses because all houses are built differently and to different standards but who knows?

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