Annoying to Good

Today I noticed one of the lawn sprinklers had a puddle around it and decided that the most likely problem was caused by the rubber diaphragm in the valve was needing to be replaced.

Normally it’s easy to get the part and kind of annoying to replace the part.

I need to turn a manual water valve to off, remove the electric solenoid, remove 8 screws and lift the top from the rest of the valve. This requires I lay on the ground, reach into the valve box and have enough light to see what I’m doing. Then I have to put it all back together and, for some reason, the valve nearly always leaks when it’s all back together…which requires I take it apart to correct my error.

This time, the two nearby hardware stores did not have the part, nor did the two closest large home improvement stores. The third place I tried indicated, on their website, that there were 29 of the parts in stock. So, I go there. The web site was wrong. I finally found someone to check on the store’s internal web site and they called to get someone to go see if the parts were actually in stock.

The part was in stock and it was set aside for me., so, I drove the 20 miles/30km, each way, to get the part.

By this time I was somewhere between annoyed and amazed.

I got home, replaced the part….AND IT WORKED THE FIRST TIME!!! No leaks. So, I guess I’m “even” in how things turned out.

Yes, it’s still warm enough in the USA desert southwest to be able to work on the lawn sprinkler system…it was 79F/26C. Don’t worry, you can laugh at me in the summer when it’s 120F/49C

Lawn Sprinklers and Canning

Today was one of those days that I couldn’t decide if it was good or annoying.

I noticed a leak in the piping for the lawn sprinkler system. Today’s leak was at the sprinkler head at the edge of the driveway. This spot is very vulnerable to being run over by car tires, and I think that is what caused this leak.

I dug down and found the sprinkler pipes *UNDER* the cement driveway. It looks like the lawn sprinkler installers placed the water pipes, realized that the cement driveway was going to cover the sprinkler piping and instead of moving the pipes, they just installed extensions to reach the sprinkler heads.

So, I had to dig a large hole in the lawn so I could dig a foot (30cm) under the cement to fix the break in the pipe.

It took me about 2 hours to fix this leak, including going to the hardware store to get the needed PVC pipe fittings.

While testing the repair, I noticed another leak at the other end of the driveway.

After digging another big hole in the lawn so I could (again) dig under the driveway, I found the leak. A pipe joint had not been glued and after 20 years, the joint separated enough to leak. Since the pipe is buried, I can’t move the pipe around to pull the joint apart to properly glue it.

Fortunately there is a part called a PVC slip coupling. It is two sections of PVC pipe that slide in and out of each other, and uses O-ring seals make the sliding section watertight. To use this, one pushes the coupling to its minimum length and cuts out a section of the pipe to be repaired that is slightly longer than the pushed together coupling. The coupling is then glued onto the ends of the pipe and since the coupling can “grow” as well as twist, the repair is easy to make. I hope whoever invented it made a lot of money on the invention!

Tomorrow I’ll go to get the slip coupling.

That was the annoying stuff today.

Now for the good stuff.

While I was getting the PVC pipe parts at the local hardware store, I noticed canning jars, snap lids and pressure canners sitting on the shelves. I did not need another pressure canner (I have two of them), but I did get a dozen regular mouth quart canning jars with the lids and two dozen wide mouth lids.

After personally seeing the lack of canning supplies here in the USA desert southwest, and reading about similar issues in northern Idaho and central Canada, I smiled. Maybe, just maybe, the canning supply shortages are starting to ease. In case anyone is wondering, I was in an Ace Hardware store.

When I stopped by the post office today, I had two packages waiting for me. One was the box of Tattler brand reusable canning lids and sealing rings I had ordered last week and the other package contained the parts needed to add a “jiggler weight” pressure regulator to my Presto canner.

The “jiggler weight” does not need to be checked each year, so it’s a welcome addition to the canner. Normally this canner has only the gauge that, each year, should be checked for accuracy. This gauge check is normally an easy process–take it to the local USDA (US Department of Agriculture) Extension Service office and have it done while I waited. This year their offices are closed and no gauge checks are being performed.

Tomorrow, when the lawn stuff is finished, I will can some water so I can try the Tattler lids/rings.