Spewing scalding water in all directions, the aptly named Fly Geyser sits about 16 kilometers from the site of Burning Man, the annual counterculture art festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. This geological curiosity was formed accidentally in 1916, when ranch owners drilled a well in the area. They hit water – it’s just too bad that it measured a piping 93 degrees Celsius! The drilling crew plugged the well, but the geothermal water seeped through, leaving behind calcium carbonate deposits that continue to accumulate, forming a 3.6 meter high bulbous mound resembling a scoop of rainbow sherbet.
In 1964, a crew drilled a second hole near the first, and once again found hot water, which this time erupted from multiple spots. The tie-dye stains dripping down Fly Geyer’s surface are actually thermophilic algae, which thrive in hot, moist environments.
Fly Geyser is unfortunately off-limits to the public, but at least there’s nothing stopping us from marveling at photos of it this unusual natural wonder.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_Geyser
During Sunday’s relaxed family braai day hosted by us, Chantelle had asked Robert to go up in the roof to adjust the Geyser’s temperature down slightly, as the water temperature had been a bit erratic for the last little while. He wasn’t up there for more than a minute or two, before jumping down and breaking the bad news that by the look of things, our geyser was leaking. Not badly, but definitely leaking – and certainly a possible culprit collaborator behind our increasingly large monthly electricity bills. He scribbled down Kwikot’s contact number as well as the serial number of our geyser, and early Tuesday morning Chantelle called up their call centre in order to get some direction as to where to go from here.
As it turns out, our 150 litre geyser is still pretty new, only about two years into its five year guarantee, meaning they immediately sent out someone to come over and look, though that said, worryingly the geyser is only two years old – surely it shouldn’t be packing up already! In any event, we still needed to hope that it was the geyser itself and not the thermostat – the latter isn’t covered by the warranty!
Anyway, late Tuesday afternoon a friendly two-man team arrived at our door (after first getting lost at Country Places), and after a brief look around in the roof, it was concluded that the geyser was definitely leaking and so out it came (looking rather rusted and used, leading me to wonder as to just how long this slow leak may already have persisted for…) and in went a shiny brand new one, one of Kwikot’s newer “bullet” designs, which are said to feature a lot stronger welds at the seam than some of their previous models.
I was pretty amazed at how efficiently the two chaps did their work, marvelling at how they managed to get such a big object out and then back in through a rather tiny square hole – and just how easy they were making it look in the process!
So far so good, and the new geyser appears to be working correctly, set at its new geyser temperature of 60 degrees celcius to make sure any nasty bacteria don’t decide to lurk around the deliciously hot water…
Right, so we all know electricity has become rather expensive as of late. True, as a prepaid customer we’re in a better position than the post-paid guys, mainly because we are more aware of our usage because we’re forced to watch the meter the whole time just to make sure we don’t come home to a dark house and no kettle for coffee.
For some or other reason our electricity usage recently spiked, and unaware as to what the culprit might be, Chantelle and I embarked on a week long investigation and science experiment, whereby we tinkered with various items in terms of periods on and off, recorded meter readings during the day and in general just became very stingy towards our overall electricity usage.
As it turns out, there isn’t very much we can do to save electricity, as what we expected was pretty ratified during this process.
Washing machine, stove, tumble dryer, those all eat a lot of power and in winter, you tend to use those items even more than normal (well, the tumble dryer in any case). I’ve implemented scheduled tasks to automatically shut down all my PCs overnight, and in general the standby mode of the television and blu-ray players doesn’t utilize much at all. Heck, even the little photo frame now gets unplugged at night.
And funnily enough, our lights don’t actually chow all that much.
Also, the geyser isn’t as big a culprit as one might think, and the savings to be had by turning it off and on when needed is pretty negligible when you’re dealing with as small a household as ours.
As for our energy consuming problem child, yup you guessed it, Jessica’s newly installed panel heater was to blame. Even though it is touted as one of the more cost effective heating solutions, cost effective doesn’t mean cheap and it chows through quite a lot of units overnight, meaning we have now had to rethink our strategy and will only use if for those winter nights when the mercury is dipping particularly low. (In other words, thank goodness for living in the mild Cape as opposed to those horrible inland places!)
All in all, it has been a good exercise as we’ve both become more energy aware in the process, and have also learned that those silly energy efficient lightbulbs really aren’t that much more efficient after all! :P
So our soaked cement floor in the study, courtesy of a leaking copper pipe leading into the geyser, is almost dry at last, meaning that soon we can get the professionals in and get a new carpet laid. But just in case you don’t quite understand by what I mean by wet concrete floor (or don’t believe for that matter), let me share some pictures that Chantelle and I took as proof for the complex management company:
And as you can well imagine, it’s pretty boring waiting for soaked cement to dry during a particularly wet winter season! :)
Whew. So Chantelle had Cliffie, the plumber/maintenance man they use at Gordon’s Beach Lodge come and have a look at the leaking geyser and it turns out that thankfully it wasn’t the geyser at fault at all! Instead, one of the copper pipes feeding into the geyser had corroded enough to from a small hole the size of a pinhead, causing a perpetual spray of water against the geyser at a rate fast enough to fill up a cup withing a minute.
This water then ran down the geyser and soaked into the cement below, basically spreading throughout the study and coming up to soak the underfelt of the carpet, making those big wet spots that had alerted us to the problem in the first place.
So after a bit of a hunt to find the water mains, Cliffie cut out the bit of offending pipe and welded in a replacement, meaning that the water leakage has now been stopped.
However, it isn’t all a field of daisies just yet.
Now because it is a pipe from the structure and not the geyser that caused the damage, responsibility for repairing it now falls to the complex management company, namely Micsam, which means that they are now liable for the costs. Already Chantelle has entertained some people to assess whether or not the carpet can simply be lifted and cleaned, but as the underfelt is already completely soaked and ruined, I’m afraid that the verdict is that the whole thing will have to be lifted up and replaced.
Anyway, so now it falls to us to clear out the study, roll up the wet carpet and then allow the cement to dry out for a couple of days, before the team rolls in and fits in a replacement.
Sigh, and of course it is the perfect timining for drying out wet cement floors of course! :P
(On a side note, Olympus seems to love the exposed underside of the carpet. He runs up and takes a flying leap over the wet cement – refuses to walk on it – lands on the other side and proceeds to sharpen his claws on the underside. Perfect furry fun in other words!)
As we have just discovered at the start of this week, our fairly new geyser of less than three years old has gone and sprung a leak, happily spraying out a fine mist (could be from a valve) that has pooled up, seeped into the concrete and come up under the carpet in the study/future baby room – which has of course already begun to miff.
As luck would have it, the weekend saw me move out all the electronic equipment to the new “Man Spot 2.0” in the dining area, so there isn’t a worry there, but it is a pretty annoying problem to have to deal with now. Of course this shouldn’t set us back financially as we are renting, but at the end of the day it is us that sits with all the hassle of organizing the fixing! :(
Then next up is the hunt for a new bed. Andy needs her bed that we’ve been using in the flat for the last couple of years back (for her upcoming baby’s room in case you are wondering), which of course means we need to buy a replacement one. To be honest, this isn’t such a bad thing because Andy’s bed is pretty much slept through at this stage, but it is quite an expensive venture considering the fact that we’re looking for a queen-sized bed that can hold at least 130kg per side – basically enough to deal with the little elephant that is currently typing up this post! :P
We went bed hunting on Saturday past, visiting three bed stores in Somerset West, and after three great pitches, each pushing a different sleep technology, we now have a decent idea of which bed we’re going to shoot for – though it is going to put us a good R7,500 out of pocket! :(
Next is Chantelle’s car which desparately needs a major service – and it’s the big one unfortunately. Got it booked in by Hyundai for Monday, so that’s going to cost us a bit as well I assume. :(
Finally, this one isn’t going to cost me anything (well shouldn’t), but it will knock me in effort – with all our cavorting around on weekend aways over the past while, I kind of didn’t get around to driving old Jetta Jameson around like I was trying to do on a regular basis, meaning that when I tried to fire her up on Saturday morning, I was met with the rather expected… nothing. Nada. Zip.
That will teach me to not uncouple the battery next time! Sigh, so now I need to find someone to charge it up for me…
It seems like I’ll have to expend some of it over the next while…
Leaking pipes connected to your geyser always causes headaches… and damage! (This happened at Nagua Bay. Thankfully my PC’s which were kept under the desk managed to escape damage!)
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