Of Cobwebs and Pop-off Valves

It started out as a small drip under the back deck. The water was coming from a small spigot that released water from somewhere under the house. I wasn’t sure, but I suspected it was the air conditioner as it has been quite hot and humid. We were of course wrong. Over the next week the drip started to get more pronounced, finally the beginnings of a marsh was forming. We decided to investigate the source of the fast dripping water.

That’s the problem with being a homeowner. Despite doing what we can to be good caretakers of our property, sometimes, things go awry, and repairs or replacements are in order. In this case, investigation of our marsh/wasp watering hole was finding the source. We deduced the cause was one of two things, the A/C or the hot water heater. That required one of us trying to determine which. That also meant one of us had to venture into spider central, the crawl space under the house.

I hate spiders only slightly more than their webs. The crawl space is spider web nirvana. Armed with a brook I opened the door, took a broom, and whisked away as many webs as I could reach, then held the door open with a paint can. Only then did I dare poke my head inside. The water heater was close enough to the water outlet to deduce it as the cause.

So trip #1 to the things you buy to fix your house store, we went. There we priced new water heaters, along with estimates for someone to come and investigate the actual cause of our leak, and replacement of the heater. The price was ridiculous, but we arranged for a plumber to come over.

The next morning, after church and some online research we decided to take a closer look. Gary and I make a decent working pair on projects, but we both have back issues and bad knees. In fact I’d had knee surgery a couple of months prior. We knew it was going to be uncomfortable for the both of us, but under the house we went, looking for the simple problem we were hoping for, flashlight, tools and my tablet in hand. The tablet was our troubleshooter, how to guide, as neither of us had a clue as to what we were doing.

I warn people all the time not to get older. Its not for wimps. Doing something like helping your husband, (my helping is my holding the flashlight and handing tools) in a crawl space that has no more than 4 feet of headroom, will certainly remind you of the fact that youth has left you behind. Its also laughing at your older self.

It took two more trips to the home improvement store to fix the water heater, and cure the leak. Those trips meant crawling in and out of the crawl space each time, with more dirt and cobwebs clinging to us. Each trip back under was met with increasing dread, as our bodies kept trying to remind us of our ages and physiques. Thankfully, we were successful in our repair, accomplishing the task while saving us hundreds of dollars in repairs. It took us three days to recover.


2 Replies to “Of Cobwebs and Pop-off Valves”

  1. I had to do the exact same thing for my husband a few years ago when he went in the nasty, damp crawl space! Thankfully we are in a different house with a nice, dry crawl space. However, now we are dealing with an issue on the complete opposite end…the roof. Our skylight shattered and A LOT of broken glass is all over our den floor. Wish me luck in figuring out how to get every last little piece of that cleaned up!


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