Late last winter, Mrs. Fetched started noticing mold spots in the ceiling above our shower, shortly followed by water coming through there. The assumption at the time was that the upstairs shower drain was leaking, so we simply told The Boy and Daughter Dearest to take their showers down here until we could get it fixed. The problem went away with the cold weather, and we didn’t give it much thought for a while.
But then it started up again, and Mrs. Fetched called the plumbers. They went up, had a look, and said, "It’s coming out of the furnace, not the shower drain. You need to call an HVAC person.” To be helpful, they cut through the damaged sheetrock to reveal what was underneath. After Mrs. Fetched got tired of the water dripping not always into the shower, and I got tired of hearing her complain about it, I tacked a nail into the joist and hung a bucket up. The bucket would fill up twice a day, and I usually ended up emptying it morning and night.
So… one day last week I was working at home, and DoubleRed came rolling in. “Hey,” she said, “I just remembered something. We had the same problem at a place I worked at up in Blairsville, the furnace condenser was leaking. They told us that it was algae building up and blocking the drain, and to pour a cup of bleach in it. We never had a problem after that.”
I’d never heard of such a thing, and said so, but wasn’t completely incredulous. I tried to get DoubleRed to describe the inlet where the bleach was to go, but couldn’t get much beyond “it’s just an opening.” It took another week and a half, but after Mrs. Fetched got wind of it, she was on me to climb into the attic and have a look. Fortunately, going through Daughter Dearest’s closet, there’s a light switch with a light right above the furnace. I thought it was burned out, but when I flipped the switch there was light, so I pocketed the flashlight and worked my way down there. You can see what I saw: an open water pipe right at the corner of the furnace, brimming over with water (and the blue bucket underneath).
Knowing what I needed to do, I came back down to gather materials. “You find it?” Mrs. Fetched asked.
“Yup. Just need something to siphon the water out and a cup of bleach to pour in.”
“Great! I’ll see if we have any bleach.” Great time to be checking, I thought, but figured we had some and went out to get some line. I knew we had some air lines from back when Mrs. Fetched had a couple aquaria; they were covered themselves with dried algae but I got some soap on the end and scrubbed off enough to get my mouth on it. Meanwhile, Mrs. Fetched located the bleach and put it in a cup for me.
Once more into the breach. I sucked water out of the opening, let it siphon down into the bucket, then poured the bleach in. I got most of it in… then it bobbed up and down a couple times before it went glurk-glurk-glurk and drained away. I poured in the remaining bleach and called it good enough.
So DoubleRed gets the gold star for this one. The proof will be when the bucket is empty tonight… then we’ll have to figure out how to patch up the ceiling. Always something.