Visit to Bent Tree

March 17-18, 2015

We went to Bent Tree on Tuesday afternoon, March 17, arriving about 5:30. This was intended to be just to check over the house and stay the evening, but things quickly got complicated.

After unloading the car, I got the wrench and shovel and headed down the hill to turn on the water. I dug out the meter from the leaves, and scooped the dirt out of the box to clear access to the valve.

When I turned the valve, the top of it popped off, drenching me with a high pressure fountain of water. The valve top came off so forcefully, I was glad it didn't hit me between the eyes like it did one of the natural gas employees when they came to repair a gas line at our house.

With water running full force across the road, I hotfooted it up the driveway to call the water department.

Brandon Stone from the water department showed up promptly, but had to return to get equipment. He dug out the valve and used a crimping device to cut off the water - the pipes are flexible enough that they can just be clamped closed.

He then had to find a valve and replace the broken one, so it was probably about 8:30 when he got it in and pressurized the line to the house.

We had watched the sun go down in the meantime.

I went to the house and closed off all the open faucets from my draining of the system in December and turned the water on. All seemed well until Brenda in the kitchen saw water running out of the light fixture in the kitchen ceiling. So we obviously had a pipe break, so I ran and cut off the valve in the downstairs closet. It is the valve for all the water entering the house, so that cuts off all water - or so we thought. Water was still dripping out of the light, and we could not tell how serious or how many pipe breaks there were. It was several minutes before we noticed the leak from the kitchen ceiling, so we could not tell how much water had leaked out. We got buckets and trash cans to catch the water.

We had to watch helplessly as the sheetrock of the kitchen ceiling continued to sag and finally fell into the kitchen floor. Still the water was dripping down, so I went up and crawled in behind the upstairs bathroom wall and could see water still coming from the pipes there. Brenda noticed that the dripping water was warm, so the break was in a hot water pipe. Finally it got through to me that the main valve must not be cutting it all the way off, even though I had closed it tightly.

With that information that the main valve had failed and that the broken line was a hot water line, I finally closed off the valve which feeds water to the hot water tank, and finally stopped the flow.

I crawled back in the narrow triangle attic space behind the bedroom and bathroom walls and sopped up remaining water. I could run my fingers along the copper pipes and found a single freeze break in a 1/2" copper hot water line.

Now we had to clean up the fallen mess of sheetrock, vacuum up all the water on the floor, vacuum the wet carpet next to it and clean the area as best we could. We fell in bed exhausted about 10:30. Not the kind of relaxing evening at Bent Tree that we had expected.

The next morning we prepared to leave since the next step was an evaluation by the insurance company. We had the leak stopped, so we were just faced with arranging for plumbing and ceiling repairs. We decided to go to the Huddle House on Hwy 53 for breakfast.

We drove by four grazing deer on the way down from the house. This one ran, but it looked like it was more for the fun of it than for fear of us.

Gibbs Gardens

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