For about a year we have been in contact with ACTEW about a water surge that occurs from time to time in the pipes of our freestanding suburban home, apparently originating from the ACTEW system outside our property (we are not using water at the time), but registering three or four units on our water meter and sounding like a flush of several seconds ended by a water hammer-like sound of a tap turning off.
After a surge commences there is usually a similar event at regular intervals – usually anywhere between ten and thirty minutes for say two to three hours at any time of the day, but every 3 or 4 minutes one night the week before last between the hours of about 2300 and 0300 – sheer torture.
We have not had abnormal water use and sometimes may go for weeks without being troubled, so it is unlikely there is a leak within our property that is being ‘topped up’ by the pressure of the system – and three or four units on the meter appears to be bugger all (compared with over 60 for a load of washing, but of course it all adds up). We do share a line with the house next door to the main water pipe across the road, but next door activity has been ruled out – why would anyone turn a tap on and off at regular intervals for hours during the middle of the night and why in any case should it register on our meter? However, we do recall that some years back during summer nights we would sometimes hear in our water pipes what appeared to be sprinklers operating.
ACTEW claims to be bamboozled by ‘our’ problem, but has suggested it might have something to do with say, sprinklers at a nearby school (but there are a few hundred metres and many houses between), our evaporative cooler (would think highly unlikely as it is only operated during the peak of summer heatwaves) and does not think it worthwhile replacing our meter (one of the new type installed just a couple of years ago). The initial suggestion by an ACTEW crew who fitted our water meter with a household type ‘water hammer valve’ (made no difference) that we should replace all our washers was scotched by their technical people who called by (when we were out as it happened) and checked out our hot water heater, noted the evaporative cooler on the roof and talked with the people next door, but have had nothing further to add apart from asking us to keep a log of events.
OK, this is not in the same league as half the world not having fresh water, but it is bloody annoying at best, torture during the middle of the night, and we probably shouldn’t have to put up with it in suburban Canberra in 2010.
Any ideas or similar experiences?
(From asking around it appears that in newer suburbs all homes have their own line to the main water pipe in their street. Obviously ACTEW would not be too keen having to retro instal a dedicated line to even a small number of properties. It has also been claimed that some of the recent batches of water meters have had to be replaced.)