The sound of distant thunder

I know it has been a while since my last post here. It has, indeed, been a busy summer but I want to write a post this morning to highlight an article that a friend of mine turned me onto this morning.

The article lays out an argument for a coming economic storm that, some say, threatens our way of life. While there seems to be little that the experts agree on, there is one common theme that they all seem to resound upon. That is the fact that we CANNOT continue to go the way we are going now. Regardless of the severity of the storm, most of those who are in the know agree that there is a storm approaching. I don’t have the time right now to go into my ideas for what to do to be ready, and honestly I am not sure I know how best to prepare, but I do have a few ideas I may take the time to highlight in the coming days. In the mean time, here is a link to the article. I will warn you, it is a little scary to hear the way these guys talk about this not in terms of “if” but in terms of “when”.

Civilization May Not Endure ‘Death Spiral’
Not a cheery way to kick off the weekend, but I don’t think there is ever a “good” time to hear reports like this. At the same time, though, sticking our heads deep into the sand of our every day lives does not make the problem go away.
More to come on this subject…

Summer is here!

Well as is evidenced by the infrequency with which I have been making new posts these last few weeks, Summer has arrived (actually it arrives later this evening at 7:09 pm EDT). We are busy with the yard, the garden, several automotive projects, and camping too. Forgive the hiatus. I will be back when time allows me to once again put the ideas and projects down for all to see.

Alternatives to pump diesel

One of the many things that I like about diesel engines is that they can be run on a number of different fuels. I know that gasoline engines can too (namely alcohol) but diesels can be run on a pretty wide variety of fuels with little or no modifications. In fact when Rudolf Diesel designed and tested his engine design he designed it to run first on coal dust, then on peanut oil, and it wasn’t until later on in the development process that he considered petroleum distillates as potential fuel sources for his design. That being said, some modern designs of diesel engines are better suited for operation on alternative fuels than others, but pretty much all diesel engines can be run on fuel types other than pump diesel with varying degrees of success.

First of all, lets talk about the commercially available kits for WMO/WVO use. These systems are generally two tank systems (a separate tank for the WMO or WVO) that introduce a very important ingredient to the equation — HEAT. Waste vegetable oil has probably gotten the most attention for use in automotive applications and at temperatures below 50 degrees or so many types of wast veggie oil congeal and turn to a semi solid mass of gelatinous goo. To use this stuff as fuel, you have to keep it liquid, and to achieve a good atomization you have to have it pretty hot (typically around 140-170 degrees Fahrenheit). This works great for every day use, but in the event of an emergency, unless you have all the parts on hand to assemble your own conversion kit, you need to use what you have. That is what I want to discuss. Also, for the purposes of this discussion, I do not plan to cover the use of Biodiesel, as I don’t feel it is an especially practical fuel for emergency use due to the need for processing equipment, a substantial supply of waste vegetable oil, and special chemicals necessary for the process.

Aside from commercially available kits to convert your diesel engine for running alternative fuels like waste vegetable oil (WVO), Waste Motor Oil (WMO), Waste Automatic Transmission Fluid (WATF) for everyday use, and the Biodiesel mentioned above let’s take a moment and consider the options available as alternative fuels in the case of an emergency situation as well as some of the downfalls of each.

Waste Motor Oil (WMO) – This is the black gold that you typically drain from the crankcase of your car every 3,000 miles or so (you do change your own oil right?). Methods for using WMO vary from running it in a heated tank like you would WVO, to running it straight in warmer months. One method that is gaining popularity in some circles is the process known as blending. This involves adding a set percentage of a solvent of some sort (typically pump diesel, unleaded gasoline, or even paint thinners can be used) and then allowing the mixture to settle in a tank to let the impurities settle to the bottom of the tank. This type of fuel is known by the generic name W85 in many instances because it is 85% (approximately) waste oil. The “cleaned” fuel is then pumped, siphoned, or drained off the top of the tank and used in the vehicle. I have done a fair amount of “tinkering” with different mixtures and concentrations as well as different solvents and I have burned a decent amount of this type of fuel in my truck with varying degrees of success. Chronicling these experiments is probably reserved for another blog post, but be aware that waste motor and hydraulic oil, as well as automatic transmission fluid can be used as fuel with some filtering and the use of a solvent.

Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) – WVO can obviously be used as a motor fuel, but as stated above in cooler weather the fuel gels at a relatively warm temperature. In warmer months, however WVO can be used as a motor fuel in warmer months as long as you keep a couple things in mind. First of all, it must be cleaned sufficiently. Most WVO has lots of grit in it; think french fry fragments, chicken breading, and worst of all water. Removing these contaminants takes some filtering and work, but it is doable. Second, starting the engine on another fuel is best. If you can start the engine of pump diesel and warm it up on that before switching to WVO it will considerably reduce coking (which is a process of the ash created by burning the fuel building up inside your engine. One major downfall of using WVO is that WVO and mineral oil (WMO or the oil in your engine) create a black sticky, polymerized goo when they are combined. Even mixing some of them together in a container and allowing it to sit for a while will reveal the results of this process. Having this happen inside your engine is a disaster that can ruin the engine. So much for running on alternative fuels, huh? Be careful with WVO. Its best use in my opinion is for being processed into biodiesel, which as I have said is not the best alternative fuel for emergency use because of the relatively complex process required to produce it.

Home heating oil (HHO) – Fuel oil is very Very close in its composition to diesel fuel and they can be used almost interchangeably. Kerosene is similar in composition as well, although it has been further refined to remove additional impurities to improve the cleanliness of the burn. Both HHO and Kerosene can be used as a motor fuel. Diesel fuel, can by the same token be used for home heating purposes, but it does not burn as clean and produces a bit more smoke, so care should be taken when using it as a home heating fuel. I would not recommend either one for use in a ventless design Kerosene heater as the diesel fuel almost certainly produces more carbon monoxide than relatively clean burning kerosene would. This is one reason why diesel engines are a preference for me as we typically have at least a hundred gallons of fuel oil on hand for home heating purposes. Having this safety net in case of a medium term emergency is a nice reassurance against running out of fuel for the generator and or truck especially since we can heat our home entirely off wood should we so desire.

As I stated above there are a number of different ways to approach the use of alternative fuel in the case of an emergency, but almost all the alt fuels will require some sort of filtering. Commercially available filter vessels and filters are, of course, available for this purpose, but regular residential water filter housings can be used in conjunction with filter media of varying compositions to filter the oil down to a size of about 5 microns. This is a process that I have been using under gravity pressure with pretty good success. Allowing the oil to pass through the filter at no more than gravity pressure prevents the oil from passing through the filter too rapidly to filter properly.  It isn’t a quick process, but I am in no hurry anyway (at least when it comes to this process).

At some point in the future I may go into more detail about the specifics of these processes but for now, a brief overview of the alternatives is what I was hoping to achieve.

Just another reason why the diesel is a viable and some may argue, superior motor fuel.

‘Til we meet again,

–DIY

You are what you — Drive!?

Alright I confess, I am a people watcher. I enjoy watching people in public places and inferring into their lives my imagined lifestyle for them based upon what I see. One of my favorite games is one that I play while waiting in the car outside the store. (Aren’t I a dedicated husband to drive my wife and kids to and from the store, and then to wait ever so patiently as they fend off the mobs of bargain crazed lunatics inside?!) It goes something like this. After scanning the parking lot for a while and acclimating myself with the cars in the surrounding area, I will turn my attention to the store’s exits. As the unassuming patrons make their egress, I pick them out by their defining characteristics and try to match them to their cars before they get there. This little game of connect the dots can silently amuse me for hours on end (okay, at least for a half an hour).

So how is it that we as American have become so preoccupied with the statement that our mode of transport makes about us? Why is it that driving a diesel pickup truck somehow makes you a hick? How is it that you’re expected to listen to Aerosmith if you drive a Camaro? Why is your sexual preference assumed if you are a guy and drive a VW Beetle? It’s a curious thing, but these stereotypes tend to be somewhat accurate. Why is that?

Add to that the fact that it seems each decade has its iconic “ride”. The 80’s had the pony cars (Mustangs, Camaros and Firebirds). The status symbol of the 90’s was, oddly enough, the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The new millennium saw the rise of the Honda Civic, and it seems that the most recent decade will be remembered as the age of the Prius. It’s a curious thing, but somehow we as Americans have matched out personalities to a certain type of automobile and the relationship has been thriving ever since.

Think about it, you can make these associations too. I will name a car and you and I can both likely imagine the same stereotype as a driver. Let’s try it.

  • Mazda Miata – (alright who is seeing Chris Kattan singing at the top of his lungs in Corky Ramano?) That pretty well defines the stereotype, I think.
  • VW Bus – Hippie love anyone?

Think these examples are a bit too extreme? How about these?

  • Full size van – (Okay, not the molester van, just a regular conversion van.)
  • How about a dually pickup? (Why does everyone assume you have to be grossly overweight to drive a dually?)
  • Buick Park Avenue (Yeah my grandparents have one of these too! Wow, what a coincidence. I didn’t even have to utter the words “Olds ’98” or “Chrysler New Yorker”).
  • Driving a Chevy typically means that you also might be wearing a NASCAR jacket. (Sorry guys, it’s true you know it is).

It’s strange but true. Whether by the making of Hollywood or by personal experience, the stereotypes have been set.

Does our choice of transportation define us as a person?

My daily mode of transport is a Crew Cab, 4×4, diesel powered, 16 year old pickup. But I also drive a minivan. What does that make me? Add to that the fact that I used to own an ’80’s ponycar and I must be one confusing and conflicted personality!

Is it a truth or just a stereotype that we have accepted? Am I, in reality, that much a hodgepodge of seemingly conflicting interests? Yes, I grew up deer hunting, but I also have taken up Blogging (obviously). I do heat my house with wood and live across the road from a corn field, but I also have an office job at a local food service company. Yes, my truck can frequently be seen parked in the lot in front of a big box store, but it is just as likely to be parked in front of my church. Hmm, maybe there is more truth to that stereotype than I thought.

I wonder what I must look like leaving my white(ish) collar job wearing my dress slacks, oxford shirt, Poindexter glasses, carrying a messenger bag and leaving the lot in a Crew Cab, 4×4, 16 year old diesel truck? Mixed signals? You bet! If they were looking very closely, a studious gamer would have noticed my singular giveaway. That would be the work boots under my dress slacks. Yeah, they’re Dr. Martens but that probably reinforces another era’s stereotype.Still, you would have gotten that one right if you had been paying attention.

Here is some reading from Forbes Magazine if you need some help reinforcing your automotive narcissism for next time.

Forbes Magazine

‘Til next time.

–DIY

This is a post from a blog that I ave been following recently. I thought I would pass it along to my readers. Heidi is an American who is living abroad in Greece and is married to a Greek man who works in a public sector job. Her posts often carry a unique perspective on the Greek financial crisis as she has a first hand look at what is happening in the Greek economy through the eyes of an American living through the results of the Greek austerity measures. It is a sobering look at what can happen when the economy of a country gets out of control.

In this post she talks about the media bias and seeming misrepresentation of the crisis in Greece. This is a good reminder that we should never accept any one perspective on a situation as fact without reinforcing it by doing our own research. Every source has an agenda or a “take” on a situation. It is important for us to realize this so that we can either select a source that has priorities and ideals aligned with our own, or to seek opposing viewpoints to see both sides of the story (or at least opposing “takes”). We have got to do our homework!

For more of her take on the Greek economic crisis check out the posts filed under “Financial Ruin” on Heidi’s blog homeingreece.It seems to me that there is much for us as Americans to learn from this situation in Greece. You can read Heidi’s entire post by clicking on the heading of this portion of the post that I reblogged here.

Enjoy the reading.

homeingreece

I haven’t seen my father in over two years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about him all the time.  He’s a very brilliant and accomplished man, but also the type to overwhelm you with his expectations, which are almost impossible to meet.  So I spent my childhood (and let’s be honest, my adulthood too) kind of in awe of him.

Newspapers, radio news programs, and television news always wanted to interview him about various things:  as the expert in his field, getting an interview with him was valuable to them.  But he always turned them down.

“Never talk to the media,” he told me, when I was about twelve, in his way of giving us advice decades before we could possibly have any reason to use it.

He had been interviewed once, I think in the ’70s, and his words were quoted in such a way that they…

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A beep in the night — Part 2

When last we saw our Stainless Steel, groundwater pumping hero he was resting quietly in his own storage tub. Let’s see what adventure awaits our hero in this installment of “A beep in the night”.

I don’t remember the events of the afternoon, as I am sure they paled in comparison to the mechanical symphony of creativity and forethought that was unfurled during nap time, but as all Saturdays do, this one came quickly to an end. Kids in bed, and off to dreamland I went as well, resting assured in the new found comfort of knowing that I was a rich man in terms of sump pump possession.

My slumber was rudely interrupted about 0200 hours when I awoke to hear a peculiar beeping sound emanating from somewhere within the premises. It wasn’t loud enough to be my alarm clock, and it had better not be going off at this hour anyway. It kept beeping so it wasn’t the coffee maker turning itself off after someone absentmindedly left it on. What was that sound? So I rolled out bed with a grumpiness that only 2 am and an empty bed affords, donned the house shoes (what!? All guys wear house shoes right!?), grabbed the trusty flashlight that resides on my dresser and headed down the stairs. It wasn’t coming from the main level. It sounded decidedly lower in elevation that that, so down to the finished portion of the lower level I went. Family room, nope, quiet. Utility room, getting warmer, but still not there. Aha! Crawl space it is. I opened the doors to the crawl space and to my surprise was greeted by about 2″ of water all over the entire crawl space floor. What the….!! So kicking off my house shoes, removing my socks, and rolling up the pant legs of my pajamas…. I fetched the tote with the sump pump in it, grabbed the end of the hose from the top of the plastic tote, dragged it to the nearest window, tossed it outside, pulled the pump from the tote, dropped it into the basin, plugged in the pump and once again, ‘VOILA! Pumping was able to commence within minutes of the need arising. The pump ran for close to 40 minutes before I was content that the crawl space was going to dry out alright and went back to bed. Luckily, earlier that winter we had the forethought to put everything up on used pallets in the crawl space so all that got wet was one or two boxes that were destined for a yard sale or thrift store near you.

The pump stayed in that basin for another 2 days until it was dry enough and the water was flowing slowly enough into the basin that I could investigate the cause of the issues with the permanently installed sump pumps in the crawl space. Apparently the beeping sound I had heard was the low battery alarm on the battery backup sump pump sounding because the gel cell battery in the unit’s battery box was shot and the pump was tying to run, but could not. The secondary sump pump was ruined, a hole rusted in the side of the case (I guess they should have bought a stainless steel model, huh!?). The primary pump a massive 1 HP model was, for some reason running, but not pumping anything. After removing the non-working battery backup and secondary pump, I was able to remove the primary pump and discovered a plastic square about 3″ by 3″ sitting directly below its inlet. As soon as the pump switched on, the hydraulic pressure would suck the peculiar square of plastic up against the bottom of the pump, effectively sealing the inlet and preventing the pump from, well, pumping anything. Add to that the fact that there seemed to be a strange fibrous material in the pump,  floating around the sump basin and on the floor around the crawl space and I slowly began to piece together my theory of what had happened.

The following day, I removed the cover from my in ground sump pump testing facility in the shop and discovered that it was EMPTY. Completely empty. Don’t get me wrong, it was still wet. Water could be seen weeping in through the block walls, but it was running across the floor and draining into, yup, you guessed it, the 4″ drainage tile.

At first I thought that the fibrous stuff I was seeing laying around was the fur of a long decomposed varmint of some variation. You see the previous owners had told us during our closing process that they had seen a rat in the house. This led to the wife and kids abandoning ship and literally moving out of the house to stay with relatives until the unwelcome intruder was euthanized (no joke, here). This, in turn, led to the father doing whatever he could possibly conceive in order to prevent the entry of said pest to the premises. He told me that he suspected that there was a 4″ drainage tile that led from the service pit in the shop and into the sump basin in the crawl space. Stated that he surmised that the rodent was using this as a means of entry to the dwelling, so he had “blocked” the tile. I naively assumed when we moved in that the cinder block that was placed against the opening of the tile in the service pit and carefully braced in place with a piece of lumber was the “block” to which he was referring. The fact that repeated efforts in dryer months to open the drain in the service pit had proven unsuccessful in opening it, also led me to believe that the rodent may have been trapped inside the drain and been sent to an untimely watery grave, thus clogging the pathway for drainage. All assumptions were close to the truth, but none was what I now consider to have been the case.

In my disgust (it IS after all rather disgusting when you suspect that you’re cleaning up the decomposed remains of a rodent from the continually wet sump basin in your crawlspace), prior to returning the permanent sump pump to its place, I had scooped the sand, silt and trash out of the basin and thrown it into a plastic bucket. The strange “fur” was thrown in the same bucket as was the peculiar plastic square that had served so effectively as a flapper valve on the inlet of my sump pump. All these things were taken out of the crawlspace together in the bucket and placed in my shop, still in the bucket. A few days or maybe a week later, after the disgust of the whole ordeal had faded to tolerable levels, I returned to find the bucket had dried out sufficiently to discard of the contents. The plastic square, it occurred to me, looked exactly like the black plastic “glue” traps that I have seen used for rodent removal. And that “fur”, after it dried had taken on a strange pink appearance. At this point I was starting to feel like a forensic investigator from CSI. Trying to piece together the “who done it” of my little flood. Further sifting through the debris in the bucket revealed the presence of some thick paper that was brown on one side, black on the other and had some of that peculiar pink “fur” on it. It was one of those light bulb moments. An epiphany in fact.

Apparently a few of my assumptions had been flawed. Here is what I now surmise to have occurred prior to that fateful day.

The previous paternal occupant of my property, having been continually thwarted by the rodent that had been visiting his dwelling had “blocked” the drainage tile leading from the pit in the shop to the sump basin. I had assumed that this was done with the block that was placed over the tile in the shop, but apparently this assumption had done what many assumptions do and made a, um, donkey’s hind end out of me. The fibrous pink “fur” I was seeing was, I now believe a ball of fiberglass insulation that had been shoved into the drainage tile to deny entrance to the unwanted pest. The plastic pad, was in fact a glue trap, undoubtedly set by the same wily, increasingly annoyed and lonely homeowner in an attempt to catch the intruder. When I had pumped the water out of the pit, I had loosened the clog, but not dislodged it. The emptying and refilling motion of the water being removed from the pit acting like a big plunger on clog in the tile.  As the pit refilled the hydraulic pressure in the drain increased until the clog could no longer hold back the water. The “blockage” was ejected from the tile into the sump basin in my crawl space, and was then followed by somewhere close to 800 gallons of cold and muddy ground water.  The sump pump (even a 1 HP model) never would have kept up with the water rushing in through a 4″ tile, but it was clogged with the Pink Panther’s favorite weather proofing and one exceedingly well placed “humane” rodent trap. Maybe if the pump had been constructed from some corrosion resistant alloy of steel it had, but ….nah, probably not, never mind.

The take away from this mildly dramatic and highly sarcastic story is as follows.

-Know the layout and design of your drainage system. You never know what surprises may await you if you aren’t aware of their design.

-Use the right materials for the job. Fiberglass insulation, as it turn out is a great way to clog a drainage tile, and a stainless steel bodied sump pump will not rust through (at least not as quickly) as will a pump whose body is constructed from mild steel.

-Check and properly maintain the batteries in your battery backup appliances. Those battery backup sump pumps, garage door openers and UPS systems on your computer are only as good as the batteries in them.

-Test your backup systems regularly. At the time that this occurred I wasn’t aware that there were three pumps in that basin, let alone that two of the three were not functioning.

-Be prepared for the unexpected. Look at your home and assess your biggest weaknesses and do what you can to prepare to meet those needs, should an emergency arise.

-Materials stored in basements or crawl spaces should be elevated above the floor to prevent them from being damaged by moisture and water. Skids (pallets as many call them) are an easy way to accomplish this.

In my case, it was a really good thing that I had prepared for the failure of a sump pump (even if it was only 12 hours before I ended up needing it) and that the materials in my crawl space were elevated above the floor 6″ or so. Since then I have also bought a couple inexpensive “Leak frog” water alarms. These are just one type of battery powered alarms that go off at the presence of water and are enough to alert you to a problem. Had the battery in my backup sump pump not been bad, I would not have discovered my water problem until it had risen to a level high enough to flood the finished part of my lower level.

Looking back now, I can see many places where it is apparent that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was (never mind the previous owner, we’re not going to talk about him right now…). A little bit of my planning payed off and saved me from a situation that was, at least in part, created by my own negligence and lack of understanding of my home’s drainage systems. Going forward I still have some work to do to improve the design and eliminate some of the liability of the current design from my property. One thing is for sure. I’m sure glad that sump pump is stainless steel! SHINY!

A beep in the night – Part 1

My recent post on prepping and my approach to it has gotten me started thinking once more about some things that have happened in the past year or so that have served to reinforce my sense of personal responsibility to be prepared. One such story, I feel is worth sharing. Hopefully you will enjoy it and allow it to motivate you to do what you need to do to be prepared for come what may. I know it still serves as a vivid reminder in my own mind of how important this thought process is.

My family and I moved into our current home in January of 2010. We had purchased the house and property knowing that flooding as a result of storm runoff had been a problem in the past. The previous owner had taken some steps to alleviate this risk and we felt comfortable with the status of the home’s drainage systems. The property is shielded from runoff by an earthen dam of sorts that diverts storm water runoff from the farm fields behind us and into a deep ditch on the road adjacent to our property. The home also has a working set of footer drains that drain into two separate sump basins that house a variety of sump pumps. One in the front (finished) portion of our lower level, and one in the unfinished crawlspace below the middle level of our tri-level home. The pump basin in the rear of the crawlspace portion of the house had not one, not two, but three sump pumps in a rather large basin. Two of the pumps were 120V plug in type units and one was a battery backup 12V unit that was designed to run for a while if the power was out. It didn’t take us long after moving in that we noticed these pumps in both basins could be heard running fairly frequently in the wet springtime months and during extended periods of rain in the summer or fall. It was at the realization of just how frequently these pumps were running that my wife and I began to discuss what an important role these systems made in keeping our home dry. It was as a result of this conversation that led us to the decision that it would probably be prudent of us to have a spare pump on hand in case one of them failed. This conversation happened in the time frame of the fall of 2010.

Things being what they are financially around our house (we are raising a family of 5 on one income) the spare pump never seemed a more pressing need than shoes for the kids, food for the table, or even a brief summertime camping mini-vacation. So, as do so many good intentions,  the spare pump got put on the back burner. Enter the spring of 2011. 2011 would end as the wettest year in Ohio history and it began with a mild wet winter, followed by an early and VERY wet spring. Several of our neighbors had issues with flooding and our yard was as soggy as a Louisiana bayou. There were areas of standing water in the front yard for weeks on end. The automotive service pit in my shop turned into a nice (albeit dirty) candidate for an in ground hot tub. It was, in fact holding about 48″ of water in a pit that is about 36″ wide and 110″ long. Despite the fact that we could clearly see a 4″ drainage tile that was supposed to evacuate the water form this pit, it was holding a LOT of water. Repeated attempts to clear this drain had proven unsuccessful, so the pit became a water feature whenever it rained. The sump pumps, however, just kept on doing their job and the house was nice and dry.

Well with February typically comes the annual process of seeing how much of our hard earned money Uncle Sam has elected to allow us to retain, and we in recent years have been blessed to be on the receiving end of the deal and get a decent tax return. Call it a benefit of living frugally on one income, or call it the blessing of the compound child tax credit (honest kids, we didn’t just have you for the tax write-off, although it is handy….). IN 2011 we were once again the recipients of a pretty decent tax return. This money is typically funneled into larger scale home improvement projects or is applied directly towards debt elimination, but this year there was a little money allotted for a sump pump. As luck would have it, the weather worsened and minor flooding struck a lot of neighboring communities, prompting an full out run on sump pumps at all the local outlets. So it was with our pumps happily spinning away and our tax return dollars in hand that we sat and waited for the local home improvement stores to re-stock with pumps.

One weekend shortly thereafter, my wife was out of town and the kids and I were faced with the prospect of how to spend our Saturday. After breakfast we decided to run some errands and stop by the big, blue home center to see if they had received their shipment of a certain sump pump that I had decided upon. Once again, as my luck would have it, they didn’t have the one I wanted. So with three kids quickly growing increasingly impatient with their father’s unreasonable levels of sump pump preoccupation, I selected one that was a bit bigger than the one I had initially decided upon. It, of course, cost a bit more but was a more durable pump, read: Stainless Steel (have I ever told you what a sucker I am for stainless steel?) . It also carried a lifetime warranty, so I felt comfortable spending the extra capital for my little investment. As I was thinking about the process of putting this pump into service, I made a crucial decision. I decided that in the event that the pump should be needed when I was at work or for some other reason absent from my household, that it would be easier and faster for my wife to put the pump into service if it had a flexible discharge line attached to it (smart, right!! I know! And I though of it all by myself!). So I purchased two sections of hose and the necessary couplings and hardware to put them all together into one section that would be more than long enough to reach either sump basin and stretch out a window into the yard.

Now the kids are getting peeved. “Hose, and fittings too Dad!? C’mon man! It’s almost lunch time now!” Finally we made our exodus and headed home to a gourmet lunch of only the finest peanut butter graced beautifully with strawberry freezer jam so red it makes Matadors angry. Pretzels on the side, only the finest di-hydrogen monoxide beverages, and the feast was served. Oh, yeah! That’s how dad rolls when mom’s not around. After lunch was finished and those non-sump pump appreciating kids were down for a nap (I don’t get why they don’t see them merit. It’s STAINLESS STEEL for Pete’s sake!) I headed to the shop to unfurl my creation. Sump pump, connector and Stainless Steel hose clamp, hose, coupling (Secured by what else? Two stainless steel hose clamps), and another section of hose. It was a beautiful sight. I plugged it in, removed the cover from my in-floor water feature and dropped it into my conveniently placed sump pump testing chamber (know to the untrained eye as a flooded service pit). It worked marvelously! It pumped for about an hour and completely drained the pit –No, I mean — testing chamber. This chamber was the self regenerating type that would quickly refill itself from the groundwater, but the pump worked like a charm.

A pump of this caliber demands a proper storage system, so a suitable round plastic tub was selected from my plevy of surplus storage containers . I placed the pump in the bottom of the tub, neatly coiled the hose and cord on top of the pump, carried it in the house and placed it in the crawl space for safe keeping. “There” I thought “that should really make it easy for my wife to use”. All that would be needed would be to grab the end of the hose from the top of the plastic tote, drag it to the nearest window, toss it outside, pull the pump from the tote, drop it into the basin, plug in the pump and ‘VOILA! Pumping should be able to commence within minutes of the need arising. It was probably about 2:00 in the afternoon.

Tune in again next time for the exciting conclusion of our story “A beep in the night”

To be continued….