Monday, July 26, 2010

A Lesson in Physics and Chemistry

Many years ago I installed two freeze-proof hydrants in our back yard. One hydrant is located by the vegetable garden, and the other is located near the other end of the yard. Any location in the yard can be reached conveniently.
I drilled through the foundation three feet below ground level, running a copper pipe through the hole. I also installed a valve in the basement to shut off the circuit.

A couple of years ago we started hearing the sound of running water even when the hydrants were turned off. We had a leak somewhere.

We started to turn off the circuit from the basement when we were not using it and trying without success to find the leak.

Recently the leak got worse. We stopped using these hydrants completely and we setup a temporary arrangement with hoses running across the yard. We also found the general area of the leak. It was next to the house. Last Saturday I dug down three feet, making a pit big enough to do plumbing repair. We found the leak inside the foundation. I researched and found two thing can cause a copper pipe to rupture inside the foundation; thermal expansion scraping the pipe and chemical reaction eating it. I also learned that I should have sleeved the pipe to prevent either of these from happening.

Sunday I fixed the plumbing. As soon as Dianne had water restored she thanked me and gave me a kiss. Unfortunately I was too tired for either the physics or the chemistry.