Self Sufficient Steward

A Hot Shower Is Overrated

For 99.99% of you: “Absolutely nothing to see here; keep moving….for God’s sake keep moving.”

But for the other 0.01%, here we go:

Items found at the scene of the crime are seen above.

Here’s the deal. This blog was originally conceived as a DIY (do it yourself) for the SIY* crowd. (screw it yourself*) – in other words, for folks like me who try to take care of their own home maintenance, but wind up taking twice as long and costing twice as much….) But hey, we try.

So the items above belonged to the Grundfos MQ3-45 pump that for the last couple of years has moved the rainwater-based water supply that we installed and use for everything in our rural piece of the world. At least until a few weeks ago, when the pump began delivering water like an old-fashioned oscillating fan, kicking in….and tapering off…..kicking in….and tapering off. In infuriatingly rhythmic cycles of 12-14 seconds. I consulted with Ed Crawford, co-owner of Rainwater Management Solutions, the source of my rainwater collection equipment and an all-around great resource. ‘Not sure’, Ed said on the phone a few weeks ago. ‘Let me get with Grundfos.’ A few weeks later, after returning from vacation, I have a package of replacement parts for the pump’s flow sensor, apparently the culprit. Ed assures me that, ‘any reasonably competent DIY type can install the package.’

So….add that to your list of phrases that should make the hair on the back of your neck signal: RUN!

In a rare wise moment, I chose not to install them on Monday evening after work, reasoning that: (1) I would be tired, (2) the hardware stores would be closed, (3) Ed would be unavailable for consult, and most importantly, (4) we would need water to get through the evening and off to work in the morning……So, I elected to postpone the assault until after my wife had showered and left for work on Tuesday AM.

(Insert: “THANK YOU JESUS!” here.)

With my wife scrubbed and off to work, and my faithful sidekick Patti lurking a safe distance away, I dissembled the existing pump’s control box. No problem. I found the deceased unit and determined that on the outside it appeared the same as the replacement unit. I removed same and compared the interior. Still seems to match……that’s strange. Now, you should refer to the photo above. (Frankly, at this point, the only poor sod who is STILL reading this, obviously has a Grundfos MQ3-45 pump, which is cycling every 12-14 seconds, and the godforsaken internets have offered him/her NO damn clue as to the problem or the solution. Yeah, as warned, I’m writing for the 0.01% here.)

So, everything matches….(an eerie calm descends)…so just replace the old with the new. Piece of cake.

Not so much. Refer to photo above. Stainless steel shaft supports white washer (the size of a BB) and the impeller in a vertical fashion, fitting into a 1/16″ depression in the pump housing and a matching 1/16″ depression in the top cover (seen in the photo), sealing with an “O” ring. Like….at the same time. As in…simultaneously. Making a clicking sound when you manage to line the two holes and the shaft up at the same nanosecond. Or…not.

I tried four different methods. They included Vaseline, monofilament fishing line, paper shims (v1.0) replaced by plastic shims (v2.0)…and a turkey baster. No shit. A turkey baster. For ninety minutes. No click. I could NOT get the top and the bottom to line up at the same time, accepting the two ends of the vertical shaft. At some point in the process, eyes filled with sweat and fingers cramping, I offered to accept Baal as my personal savior. Still no click.

At that point, I removed all the interior parts (shaft, impeller and washer) to ensure that the top and bottom would actually ‘click’ together without any intervening parts; just to be on the safe side. Err…no dice. They do not neatly slide together, despite the absence of anything that could hold them apart. Except…the “O” ring, all fat and juicy, fresh from the factory. And when I again incurred the name of Baal (and a ball peen hammer) the little bugger snapped together quite nicely. Yep, the now re-introduced shaft/washer/impeller has zero to do with the lack of ‘click’. I simply hadn’t beaten the “O” ring into submission properly.

Fifteen minutes later; I took a nice shower and headed into my day job. (after gargling so that the gin wouldn’t be detected….)