Mar 15

House Update

It has been a long time (more than a year, I think) since I last posted about the house. That’s because there hasn’t been much to say. More than 18 months since we moved in, we’re still enjoying everything about it: the neighbourhood, our renovations, the large tatami room, the modern bath, etc. Most of all, we’re enjoying having a place that is ours.


Of course, the downside to that is that when shit happens, there’s no landlord to call to fix things.


I was working on the Yokohama Theatre Group website yesterday when the doorbell rang. I answered it, and the woman from the water company was there. She showed me my bill, which was insanely high (think 4 times the usual) and asked me if any water was running in the house, as the meter was spinning around. After a quick check to confirm that there was no water running, she explained to me that I probably had a leak somewhere.


Ichikawa-san, my neighbour, overheard our conversation, and we quickly discovered the leak. A wet area in front of the front door that I had dismissed as runoff from the recent rain we’ve been getting was the giveaway. A closer inspection revealed a crack in the concrete pad and water trickling out.


This is bad for several reasons:


    1. I have to turn off the water until we can get it fixed, turning it on only for short periods so that we can wash dishes, shower, flush the toilet, etc.
    2. The house is built on the side of a hill, and there’s no telling if the extra water we’ve injected into the ground over the last few weeks has done anything to weaken the land the house is built on. (My wife is more worried about this then me; I don’t see how this would be much worse than rain.)
    3. The leaking pipe is embedded in concrete which runs from the meter, under the front door, to the northwest corner of the house. The cost of chopping through concrete alone is approximately 50,000 Yen ($500) per meter.




<—In this photo, you can see the water leak as we discovered it.























<—You can see the leak on the right, just above the white stones. The pipe runs from the top middle right of this photo (the meter) under the tree, under the concrete pad at the front door, and another meter or two off the bottom left of the frame. The repair work means that we will probably lose the marble stone.










<—This is the water meter that I have to turn on and off every few hours so that we can get on with our lives.





















So, with any luck, this will be repaired on Saturday. (The leak, that is. Rebuilding the concrete might take longer.)


Someone on twitter (@martintokyo) suggested that the water company would help pay for the repairs or at least the amount of the bill consumed by the leak. However, the info paper given to me by the water company shows that they changed their policy five years ago, and that even if the leak had been between their tank and the meter, I wouldn’t get a red yen from them.


On the other hand, the meter-reader who came to the door was super nice, and even dropped by the house today on her way somewhere else (not in uniform)  to make sure I’d got things sorted out and had a plumber coming.


So there’s that.


The other happy thing is that the leak hasn’t managed to get any water on the inside of the foundations, which I was slightly worried about.

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