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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Gutter talk

Late last night a tiny spit of rain fell on my house. I almost didn't hear it on the roof tiles, and when I checked the weather radar there was nothing more than a few white dots scattered over the map. Even so, I went outside with a torch to see if there was anything noticeable happening with the tanks.

Checked the southern end first. No leaks from the new downpipe and a surprisingly steady stream of water burbling into the tank. Was thrilled at first, until I noticed that the water was actually going all the way into the tank instead of filling up the diverter which keeps that first run of dirty water out of the main tank. Check out the image on that linked page. See the hose that runs from the bottom of the diverter out to the outside wall of the tank? I'd forgotten to re-attach that after working inside the tank yesterday fitting the taps. Bummer.

The tank at the northern end was also being filled, but to my surprise it was doing so much more slowly than the southern one. That didn't seem right because the northern tank gets fed from both sides of the house instead of just one. But at least the diverter was filling up in that one.

This morning there was no trace of rain on the ground but at the northern end water was still trickling in from the gutters. Oh yeah... I really need to clean them out. All the crap in them had acted as a kind of sponge, absorbing the water and then releasing it slowly. More on that in a bit.

The diverter in that tank was completely full, and the water pressure demonstrated that I needed to seal the release valve better: it was dripping lightly and excavating a little trench in the crusher dust. The kids and I emptied the diverter into a bucket used the 20-odd litres of somewhat dirty water on our gardens.

Then I set to work removing the diverter from the southern tank, re-attaching its hose, assembling it all again, and using some plumber's tape to seal up the diverter release valves. So far so good. Now to the gutters.

Our stupid gutters. The roof tiles come right out to within a couple of centimetres of the outer edge of the gutters. There's not enough room for me to get my hand in there. I went to the hardware store this afternoon and bought a cleverly-designed gutter cleaning scoop, but there's not even enough room to get that in there. The gutters at the northern end of the house, especially on the eastern side where we have a shade tree, have better-looking compost in them than what's in the black bin at the end of my yard and I can't clean them out.

Very frustrated. Going to have to craft some kind of L-shaped scraping tool to try and clear some of the crap away before the "thundery rain" the Bureau is forecasting for later in the week. Like I have time for that $#!%.

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