No matter how much you try to save water there’s a chance you will be in the middle of a shower one day when the water just sputters and stops.
You have run out of water. Ugh.
The first thing to do is turn off the pump.
Make yourself familiar with its location now, so you don’t have to hunt around when the water stops.
You will likely have to unplug it. Leaving it running can cause it to overheat and damage the impellers.
Another good idea is to unplug the water heater — you don’t want it heating when it is not full.
If you are lucky, your tank has two sides and only one side is empty.
The valve for switching tanks is something you need to be familiar with too — so find it now. It may be in the pump room, it may be in the tank.
Once you switch sides of the tank, you can try turning on the pump.
With any luck it will turn on and start pumping water.
However, if it has ‘lost its prime’ you will need to prime it.
Pumps do not ‘pull’ water, they ‘push it’, and the vacuum created by the ejected water pulls more water up the pipe. So there needs to be something in the line for it to push.
If you are unlucky, both sides of your tank are empty, or you only have a single tank.
Now you need to call a water trucker and have it delivered.
Most water truckers will prime the pump if you ask them, but if not, you can try it yourself.
You will need a bucket and possibly a funnel. On top of your pump there should be a plug or pressure gauge.
Remove that and pour water in until it flows over.
How much water will depend on how far away your tank is.
Now you are asking, ‘Where do I get water if the pump isn’t working?’.
You may be able to get some from the pressure tank. There is a hose bibb (spigot) very close to it — try that.
Otherwise use some rope tied to your bucket and dip it from the tank.
Once there is water in the line and you have replaced the cap or gauge, plug in the pump.
There is lever on the side of the pressure switch (that little box attached to the pump), so just lift the lever. The pump will start.
Give it a few seconds before releasing the lever.
The pump should now run on its own and you will hear your pressure tank filling up and see the pressure on the gauge steadily climbing.
If you are intimidated by all those switches, valves and plugs, I recommend the guys from After Hours Plumbing (504-2105).
They are always reliable and have rescued me many times.
• Sacha Bearden is the owner of Baptiste Ltd, Warwick, which stocks building supplies, home decor and household goods. The store is open from 8am-6pm, Monday to Saturday. Call 236-2095 or go to www.baptiste.bm.