More stuff about water

New Image
The shiny, new pump above, and the old faded one below.


A FEW DAYS ago, I wrote about where water comes from, and the annual cleaning of the underground cistern, a chore we handle ourselves, the two of us. Coincidentally, during that same week, the nearby pump that delivers water from the cistern to the tank on the roof made funny noises for the second time in recent weeks, so I decided to replace it. It was 17 years old, installed during the Hacienda construction.

It is not a pump you want to fail. Without it, there’s no water anywhere in the house.

I don’t know the useful life of such a pump, but 17 years seems a long time, and the pump looked quite ratty, as you can see from the photo. The new pump is big and beautiful.

Like Muhammad Ali.

Coincidentally again, and also water-related, the Honda got a new water pump last week, another precautionary measure. That pump too was the original, and the car has 210,000 kilometers. As I write this, the Honda sits in the shop having its A-C radiator replaced. The A-C decided to commit suicide during our hottest month of the year.

Yes, the Honda has a streak of malevolence.

But enough about the Honda. Let’s return to the house. The tank on the roof sports some sort of electronic gizmo — with mercury inside, I think. It dangles inside like a snake — that senses when water falls below half full. At that point, it signals the pump below, the one that was replaced, to ignite and send water from the cistern up to the roof.

Following this?

Just after the pump started acting goofy, the electronic gizmo up top failed its mission, and the roof tank’s water level fell considerably below half. I knew this because I went to the roof, put a ladder against the tank, popped the top, looked in, saw the situation, and gave the electronic snake a shake. It turned on the pump below, and water started to come up.

But obviously, there was a problem. So today, Jorge the Plumber came with the new pump, plus a new electronic snake for the roof tank. Jorge is also an electrician.

So now I have a new pump down below and a new electronic snake up top. With luck, this pump will top the 17 years of the previous one, and the snake will last as long as possible. And the Honda’s A-C will keep me cool for a long time to come, especially in May.

The entire cost — the labor and materials — ran the peso equivalent of $160 U.S. The cost of the work on the Honda has yet to be determined.

Let’s go have a coffee now. I’m bushed.

31 thoughts on “More stuff about water

  1. I bought a new Evans pump on Monday, March 17, which was a holiday, but Antonio the Septugenarian plomero came anyway to replace the old pump, which was installed back in the first year of Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s sexenio. Today, Antonio the Younger plomero who is also an electrician was supposed to arrive, having articulated his intention to do so on both Saturday and Sunday of the weekend immediately last past, his five chores awaiting him, along with the necessary parts and money. Yes, the sensor in my tinaco awaits replacement. I went to the beauty shop so I could stay out of his way, but he neither showed up nor called. He’ll show up when he shows up, which I imagine will be sometime later this week.

    It may be time to replace your Honda with a new one like mine, which has had no problems.


    1. Ms. Shoes: Jeez, your pump was over 30 years old! Sounds like your young plumber lacks some elements of professional responsibility. My Jorge invariably shows up on time. I have another plumber too who is reliable far more often than not. I usually have luck with workmen. I have superlative construction guys. Showing up when they show up is not a satisfactory work ethic for me. Those sorts get replaced.

      As for the Honda, I occasionally toy with the idea of trading it in, but the moment passes. When some major expense appears, I’ll likely get the new Kia Seltos, but not now. It would be changing purely for the sake of change. Not financially smart.


  2. You mentioned your Honda and the mileage. I was wondering if you have replaced the timing belt yet …. if not, it’s due.


      1. I’m pretty sure your CR-V has a timing chain, not a belt. Those don’t get routinely replaced. I have an older CR-V , no plans to replace it either. My next car will be electric, and drive itself.


        1. Creigh: Chain, belt, whatever. It was checked and declared satisfactory. The fact that it’s still chugging along after 210,000 kilometers tells me that it’s a chain. Honda makes good cars. So you’ll be getting a self-driving, electric vehicle? Well, the electric part is one thing, but I wouldn’t have much faith in the self-driving aspect. Too many news stories about them crashing into things. Doesn’t seem ready for prime time. In the future maybe, Flash Gordon!


          1. From the internet: From 2013-2017, the 4-cylinder models still have a timing chain and the V6 models have a timing belt. Starting with the 2018 model year, all the available engines come with a timing belt. … Does the 2019 Honda CR-V 1.5 Turbo have a belt or chain?
            Honda. All Honda cars from 1984 through 1996 have interference engines. The engine codes include ES2, ES3, A18A1, A20A1 and A20A3 in the 1984 through 1989 Accord and Prelude. The engine could be a 1.8- or 2.0-liter engine.
            In my opinion, a timing belt is a problem waiting to happen.


            1. Señor Gill: My car is 2009 and has four cylinders. I just investigated online, and get conflicting answers. I prefer the one, however, that says it has a chain, not a belt, so I’m sticking with that. Craig says it has a chain too, and he’s never known to be mistaken.


  3. That is a very good price on the pump and labour. Plumbers who are also electricians. My brother is one but not the other, and he charges way more. I would change the timing belt. It’s not a job for the side of the road, and it’s past its due date. Your Honda has many more miles good to go before it rests.


    1. Kirk: Plumbers who are also electricians are fairly common in Mexico, not so much above the border. And they charge WAY more above the border. From what another commenter tells me, and I believe him, my Honda likely has a timing chain instead of a belt. The chain apparently lasts longer. I am ignorant of these things, but my mechanic checked it and declared it good to go.


  4. I’ll bet you could have gotten away with new bearings on your pump and motor, rather than replacement. And the float sensor, well, that one I know less about.

    When I lived in CDMX, the landlord had a pump which made an incredible racket. Frankly, I couldn’t understand how he could tolerate it. I casually suggested one day that he at least should oil it. Much to my surprise, he had the entire thing replaced, and peace was restored to our building.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where plenty of high-pressure water comes in from the street with no muss nor fuss.


    1. Kim: Yep, I could have refurbished it, but I didn’t for two reasons. 1, a new one did not cost all that much. 2, Refurbishing would have taken a day or two or five or, being Mexico, Lord knows, and we need the pump every day.

      Yes, above the Rio Bravo, water just appears like magic. Most people have no clue how it gets to their faucets. It’s like magic.


      1. I love my magic water. I also love that I can drink it. I never owned, only rented it, in Honduras. For the most part, I had very little trouble with water issues. Ironically, the most expensive place that I rented had more water issues than the cheaper homes I rented.


        1. Laurie: I did the five-gallon garafones for many years. What a pain in the kazoo. About two years ago, I installed a nice filtration system under the kitchen sink. Did the same in our downtown casita rental. No more struggling with those huge bottles for me. I was getting too old for it anyway. So now we have magic water too. The only difference being there’s only one faucet it comes out of, but that’s no big deal.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. We live in the desert now so have installed rain barrels to harvest the rain and rain cups to direct the rain into the barrels. Today was odd, hardly anyone was out on the roads, though it is Memorial Day. The stores have giant signs declaring – WE’RE OPEN!! But, no one is in them. Maybe, like me, everyone already has enough toilet paper and soap and groceries to last six months. Many of the restaurants are closed. I read an opinion from a restaurant owner who said that they closed down during the height of the season when they make their money for the year, and now the snow birds and students have all gone home, it is almost not worth the effort to reopen. I have gotten used to my own cooking and suddenly eating out seems like a waste of a lot of money.

    I saw that Cancun has lost $1bn US — this has been a disaster for their tourist industry, But, they also did some of this to themselves by serving tainted alcohol to hotel guests and allowing the cartel to have shootouts in their lobbies. We returned to the U.S. a couple of years ago and traveled for a while and then I took a job teaching — which reminds me. What is the meaning of “pelon?” The boys in my class call each other by this name and then try to beat each other up because it is such an insult. All I can determine is that it means something like ” baldy” — but they seem to get awfully upset over a remark about a haircut they all sport.


    1. Bonnie: The extreme over-reaction to the Kung Flu boggles the mind. I just want it all to end ASAP. I declared it over for myself on May 10. Now I’m out and about, living normally, but I do some common sense and easy things, like not not smooching and hugging and shaking hands nor getting in anyone’s face if not necessary. Aside from that, I’m back to normal. I hope others do the same now, using my common-sense approach. Call me a Swede.

      As for pelon, it means bald. If it has some other meaning, we’ll need to ask someone who’s more hip, or something.


    2. I think it goes to the fact that in some countries the inmates had their heads shaved. Locally, it denotes a half-wild Indian of low class that is mentally slow. There is a whole list of pejorative terms that are best avoided. Work in a prison and you hear them all.


      1. Mr. Gill, where did you work in the prison system. I think your definition may be right, as I also teach a lot of children from the local reservation.


        1. State of Arizona. There is a lot of stuff that goes over the heads of the Anglo staff. Sometimes it is funny, and sometimes it is really sad.

          What reservation kids do you teach?


  6. Even though I pay for city water, the house has never been connected to the city water in the street. As a result, I have no cistern and no roof-top tank. My water is pumped directly from a well into the house’s pressurized water system. Being a wise fellow, yiou see the potential problem. The death of my pump — or the lack of electricity following one of our summer storms — would leave me without water in the house. That is one reason I am considering installing an emergency generator. We will see what comes of that.


    1. Señor Cotton: A friend has an emergency generator. It works great. Your other option is to be like the rest of us. Dig a cistern, buy a pump, and install a tinaco on your roof. Won’t do much for the aesthetics of Casa Cotton, however.


  7. Señor, your blog is a constant source of useful information.

    Pelon with various meanings, some obviously of huge importance to young boys. Timing belts or chains and when to consider replacements. Working in prisons (which I have done by the way). Where water comes from. And plant butchery.

    Carry on, sir!


    1. Ricardo, P.S.: I find it interesting that two of the regular commenters here have worked in prisons, plus I know a third one too. He doesn’t comment here, but I know him. What are the odds?


  8. The turnover rate in prison employment is horrendous. It is not a nice job and people only do it out of dire necessity. You have to deal with the murdering thieves, perverts and total idiots. And then there are the inmates.


    1. Señor Gill: You’re a funny fellow. The former prison employee that I know (or knew because his wife dumped me for voting Republican) was a food-service supervisor. He did that for many years if memory serves. I cannot imagine anyone normal wanting to work in a prison.


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