Water, Water, Everywhere…

A look back at a year of renovations pt. 1

Water, water everywhere…but not a drop in my sink!  When we purchased our house we knew there were some major plumbing/gutter/leaky basement/well issues.  After a hard rainfall the basement was a mini Missouri river.  But, ironically, with all the water the house retained, you couldn’t get the well to pump water into the house for more than a minute without shutting off. After all, what else could you expect from a home that was 50% larger than our house in town and was on 10 acres, but cost substantially less?  We knew that before we could sell our in-town house and move to the farm that we would need to fix several things.  Water issues seemed a good place to start.

The first fixes were virtually free.  We had too many bushes too close to the house that were way overgrown and drawing water into the basement.  So a hack, saw, and a whack later, they were chopped down.  We killed the plants but left the root system intact so that the dirt around the house would remain compact.  Digging them up probably would’ve drawn more water into the basement.  Then we repaired the mortar on the outer rock cellar.  It didn’t come out as pretty as I would’ve liked, but I’ll just use the excuse that I was twenty-something weeks pregnant and it was hard to crouch and really get down at cellar-level….

The house a few days after purchase.  All those bushes were compounding our water issues in the basement and were promptly removed.

Then we had to start putting some money in.  We hung a new gutter system along the “leaky” side of the house.  This helped.  We cleaned up the basement, treated for mold, and purchased a good dehumidifier to help it stay dry.  In the future, we will probably have a trench system dug out in the basement as a last piece to solving the issue.  But for now, the problem is manageable.

Then there was the well and house plumbing.  There were several problems.  The biggest being that you couldn’t keep the water on for more than a toilet flush!  Put too much of a demand on the pump and the breakers would flip and I’d have to go to the basement and turn them back on.  Ok. Ok. I’ll be honest…I’d send my brave husband to our creepy, turn of the century dungeon of a basement to fix it for me.  I don’t go down there unless I really, REALLY have to.

Nope.  I’ll just wait upstairs….

Luckily…my super brave and smart husband figured out that the well was actually just fine (hallelujah!) and that we just needed new breakers for the electrical box.  And now we have running water!

We figured it probably wasn’t safe to drink, however.  So we sent samples off for testing. The tests run by the state confirmed the presence of coliform bacteria (but not E. coli, thankfully).  Since the well had been off for at least a year before we had purchased the property, plus months more while we renovated the plumbing and bathroom, this wasn’t surprising.  But it was a bit disappointing.  Buying gallons of drinking water isn’t exactly a money saving technique.  And boiling water for cooking isn’t in my list of “things I have time for when taking care of three kids under four”.  So we chlorine shocked the well according to state regulations.  And now we wait and will do a series of retests over the next 6 months to see if the bacteria grows back.  In the near future, we hope to purchase a UV filter system to take the worry out of the water  and all the re-testing.  Just need to save up some pennies!

Stay tuned next week to get a peek at our bathroom renovations!  If you think that our basement sounded scary, just wait until you see the original bathroom…