Friday, October 05, 2007

Teaser post

Disaster struck!

I heard the sump pump in the basement making it's characteristic thumping sound when it switches off after emptying the sump early this morning. We haven't had a good rain in more than a month so my heart sunk...I knew the hot water heater had probably burst. I could smell the steam as I went downstairs and wondered why the flood alarm I bought several months ago hadn't triggered. The alarm LED light was on and yet it wasn't beeping even though both electrodes were fully immersed. I flipped the sensor with the electrodes until it lay flat in the water and it finally gave an anemic chirp, chirp, chirp sound. Damn, a cricket makes more of a racket than that stupid thing. I think the ad said that the alarm was over a 100 decibels. This one was about 60 and that's being generous. I was ripped off.

Anyway, I spent most of the day moving waterlogged stuff out onto the deck and vacuumed up most of the water before the installer arrived to put in the new water heater (I didn't know they were so expensive!) so that prevented me from (teaser) posting my hot pepper article. The post will be more about hot sauces than hot peppers, but just the number of different sauces we have in the cupboard should astonish you. It amazed me! I have no idea where we got all these sauces but we have many. This quest for culinary heat is quite amazing ...and addictive.

Addendum: Unfortunately I also found out why that north wall in the basement always seemed wet when it rained. I could actually hear drips of water in the French drain. We haven't had significant rain for more than a month so I was surprised when I heard the dripping again when the water heater leaked and the water was drained into the sump pit. The sump pump had to get rid of probably 40+ gallons of heater water. A French drain (perimeter drain) was put in after the house was constructed by the previous owners. When the contractor put in the sump pumps (2) and french drain he must have piped the water only a few feet from the foundation instead of a minimum of 10 or more feet away. Such shoddy work. To make matters worse the drain is right under the chimney which is attached to the side of the house so it will be difficult to dig there if I want to find the drain pipe. I wondered why the soil around the chimney was always wet even when I laboriously routed the rain water from the downspout 30 feet from the house at that location. Now I know why. Bad construction work really sucks.

8 Comments:

Blogger Entangled said...

Bummer. I hope the flooding didn't damage anything too badly.

Looking forward to the post on hot peppers...

6:44 AM  
Anonymous mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Yikes! Sorry about the disaster--made all the worse, in my opinion, because you've obviously planned ahead to avoid this kind of disaster.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Entangled,
Several things got wet but most of the stuff we store in the basement thankfully were on racks so the damage was minimal. I just worry that mold doesn't grow before the dehumidifier drys out the damp areas.

It is surprising just how much hot pepper we consume in various forms. I just remembered the Chinese and Korean hot sauces we use in cooking as well as the Thai green curry which has quite a bit of peppers in it too. I'll have to really look in the cupboards to make sure I don't miss any. I only wish I took pictures of the many different kinds of peppers we grew from years past.

-----------------------------------
Hi MSS,
Indeed! We had a hot water heater tank burst when we lived in a townhouse so I thought it would be smart to buy an alarm. In retrospect it would have been smarter to have made a little dam around the heater and a channel to direct the water to the sump pit. I talked to the installer about placing the heater in a plastic basin with a hose attachment to drain the water into the sump in case of another burst tank. He said it was only done if the heater was placed in the living area such as in an apartment w/o a basement. Huh? So why not for a tank in the basement and save us the trouble to do the clean up? He had no answer for that. Sometimes the stupidity is just astounding.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Too bad about the hot water heater, Ki.

Your teaser reminds me that there's a place in downtown Austin called the Hot Sauce Museum!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

12:51 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oooh... that sucks. I hope it does dry out quickly for you.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
Yeah the heater incident was a bummer and a untimely expense.

Now that's a museum I would like to visit. I once read a long article about how McIlhenny by the greasing of a few palms cornered the hot sauce market and trademarked the tobasco name so no other sauce maker could use tobasco in their advertising or on the list of ingredients. Quite an interesting article which I believe was in the New Yorker magazine several years ago.

Interesting that we don't have a single bottle of Tobasco in our pantry.

----------------------------------

Hi Kim,

Day 3 and I'm still drying out the basement with the dehumidifier. :( Unfortunately I also found out why that north wall in the basement always seemed wet and when it rained, I could hear drips of water in the French drain. We haven't had significant rain for more than a month so I was surprised when I heard the dripping again when the water heater leaked and the water was drained into the sump pit. The sump pump had to get rid of probably 40+ gallons of heater water. A French drain (perimeter drain) was put in after the house was constructed by the previous owners. When the contractor put in the sump pumps and french drains he must have piped the water only a few feet from the foundation instead of a minimum of 10 or more feet away. Such shoddy work. To make matters worse the drain is right under the chimney which is attached to the side of the house so it will be difficult to dig there if I want to find the drain pipe. I always wondered why the soil around the chimney was always wet even when I laboriously routed the rain water from the downspout 30 feet from the house at that location. Now I know why. Bad construction work really sucks.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Oh dear, Murphy's Law struck again. Poor Ki, this was no fun day for you. I hope the damage wasn't too bad!

Yep water heaters are pretty expensive, we bought a new one when we first moved into our new house as the old one had just broken down.

I'm looking forward to your post on hot peppers and sauces.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Yolanda Elizabet,
Unfortunately it happens at the worst possible times. The gas water heater was about twice the cost of an electric one, installed. I asked the installer why that was so and he said it was a more complicated design with the fire box and flue but cheaper to run than an electric one so you would probably recoup the price difference in a few years. The damage wasn't too bad but it's day 4 and I'm still drying out the basement. I can still see wet spots in the concrete floor.

I will post the pepper and hot sauce article in a couple of days. Thanks for stopping by.

6:34 PM  

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