Thirsting For The Water Of Life — Part 1

The verse in the Bible that has impacted me the most is Isaiah 55:1-3:

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

Lately, these verses have taken on new meaning for our family. Why? Because it has been 18 days since we have had water at our house!

Why has it been so many days? It’s a long story, but I can summarize it. Starting the Monday before Thanksgiving, our water pressure started dropping. By Thanksgiving morning, the water had failed completely! Ever try hosting Thanksgiving without water?! (BTW—Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday for you international readers).

Anyway, we had no water upstairs at all! All we had was enough coming in the pressure tank in the basement to fill bottles. Within a week of that, even that trickle failed and we were left to what we had left in the pressure tank, the hot water heater, and our water purification tank (less than 10 gallons).

Now, we live in the country in a five year old home. This means that we have a well that is just as new as the house is. Why did it fail? I had the well company come out and pull it up for an extensive amount of money.

It failed because they put the galvanized pipe directly into the brass check-valve without putting a dielectric fitting in between. When you put two different kinds metals together under water, it creates a weak battery and the less noble metal corrodes very quickly. We had a coin sized hole right where the iron threads went into the brass fitting, and this was enough to drop the water pressure to zero.

Now, you may be asking yourself two questions:

  1. Why did you use galvanized steel for the drop pipe? –and–
  2. Why didn’t you have the well people fix it right then and there with PVC?

The answer to both questions is the same, really. When we built our house, we built it using “Healthy House” specifications. (For more info, you can check out the Health House website.) The basic concept is that you want to avoid pollutants in the air and water of the home.

As part of this, PVC is a no-no. Why? Because PVC off-gasses over 30 different chemicals into the air and/or water. Not only that, but PVC contains lead, cadmium, and hormone affecting phthalates. Why do people use it? It’s inexpensive, it’s strong, and it’s lightweight. But it’s poisonous. It’s nasty to make, it’s nasty when installed, and it’s nasty to dispose of—especially in a fire. Take a look at this website for more information.

In fact, if we had installed it, we could have lost resale value in our home. Because we had invested money in making our house healthy, we can market that aspect when we sell it (no plans, though, we love where we live). But if we had installed a 270′ PVC drop pipe, we could no longer market it as a healthy house and it would have lost the value-added.

Because of all of these concerns, I started researching putting stainless steel in. Expensive? Yes. In fact, so expensive, that we could only afford to replace half of the drop pipe in our well. But, on researching more about dielectric corrosion, I realized that I would have been increasing my problems, not decreasing them. If I had replaced half of the galvanized with stainless, I would then have THREE metals in the well instead of two. Not only that, but stainless can rust as well in conditions like that.

What I didn’t want was to have to pull the well again in five years. Now all of this took time to research, and meanwhile, we are all getting by rationing the saved water in the basement. But it slowly ran out.

How are we getting by? Only by the graciousness of neighbors and family!

We finally decided to purchase EndoPure Pipe from Endot Industries.

EndoPure Pipe

This is made from HDPE plastic (High Density Poly-Ethylene), which is not perfect, but is MUCH better than the PVC. It’s even recommended (along with PEX) by a book I used when designing our house called Prescriptions For a Healthy House, by Paula Baker-Laporte, Erica Elliot, and John Banta.

Prescriptions For a Healthy House

Another advantage of the HDPE pipe is that I can install it myself. Instead of paying the well company buckets of money each time my well needs maintenance, I can do it myself. How do I know this? Go to Paul Thurst’s incredible blog about fixing up his home in the Catskill mountains, and you can see how he installed his own well. Paul personally and quickly answered emailed questions I had about how he did it and which products he used, so I am here publicly thanking him for his help. Go and visit his blog, because he has a LOT of good information.

So why haven’t I installed it yet? Because the guy ordering it ordered the wrong product. And then when I thought I had found someone else who had it in stock he gave me “Copper Tube Size” EndoPure instead of “Iron Pipe Size” and so that set me back as well. As it is, the new pipe is supposed to come in tomorrow, Monday, December 10th. We’ll see! I’m not looking forward to installing the new pipe in the St. Louis area freezing rain, but the prospect of having water again in the home is tantalizing enough that I just might do it.

Anyway, in this season of Advent while we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, let’s just say that our family has a new appreciation for patiently waiting for the Water of Life!

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