So I went to wash some dishes last night, turned on the tap in the kitchen sink, and no water came out.
I went to the bathroom and turned on the water in the tub. A little water came out, but it slowed to a trickle after a few seconds. The pipes made some funny noises. I decided it was too late to try to worry about it then, so assuming it didn't magically go away, I'd worry about it in the morning.
In the morning, the water seemed a little slow, but kind of working. I got into the shower, and just as I got wet, the water stopped.
When I flushed the toilet, the tank refilled eventually, but it took a long time.
Now, I have my own house in the country, but I've never learned some of the things I really should know about it. I moved in, there was water when I turned on the tap, I ignored it. My pressure tank and stuff are in this underground bunker thingy in front of my house, with a square sheet metal cover and a ladder. I'm not too comfortable with ladders, so I never went down into the bunker. This morning, I realized that the wooden stepladder that was in the bunker looked like it was probably rotten. I had visions of the ladder crumbling under my weight, leaving me stranded eight feet underground. I declined to climb down and look at the stuff, and I wouldn't know what to do with it anyway.
So, who do you call when something is wrong with the water? I realized I didn't know. I thought I would call the plumber who'd done the plumbing work when I'd had my breezeway converted into two small rooms. I spent 15 minutes trying to find the file about that project, that would have had his name and phone number, and couldn't.
So I called my neighbor Bob Foil, and asked him who I should call. He recommended a guy named David Harper, who'd fixed his well when he'd had a problem recently, and gave me a phone number. I called the number, and got a woman (his wife? she didn't say) who said he was busy drilling a well today, but took my number and said he would get back to me.
He hadn't called by the time I left work, so when I got home, I called again. (Bob had said I should be persistent.) His wife said he still hadn't gotten back, but he would call me when he did. An hour later, he called, and when I told him where I was, he said it was basically on his way, so he could stop by yet this evening and look at it.
He arrived. He got into the bunker. The ladder was rotten, but he managed to get down without it breaking. He told me that there was a water softener which was trying to run, and it was pulling water out of the well and running it down the drain. He switched the valves to cut the softener out of the loop, and said that after that, the pump seemed to be filling the tank up again. After a few minutes, I checked the water pressure in the house, and it seemed to be fine -- better than it had been before I noticed any problem, actually. He managed to climb back out of the bunker (in spite of the ladder falling apart even more). He told me that the well pump was probably old and might not be running at peak efficiency, but it was silly to replace it until it failed. Other than the water softener, things seemed to be OK.
And he only charged me $30, because he was already in the area. Considering that he made a service call to my house the same day as I called him, outside of normal working hours, I thought that was very reasonable. I wasn't paying attention to the clock, but he was on site for over half an hour, maybe a whole hour.
It looks like I got off easy on this one.