The Zen of Zip Ties

This morning, I turn on the water in the bathroom (AKA head) to brush my teeth and no water comes out of the faucet. We started working on replacing the bathroom fixtures yesterday so I assume Steve turned off the water or something. No big deal. Brushing your teeth in the kitchen (AKA galley) sink for a couple of days is a small price to pay for new bathroom fixtures.

Hmmm…no water in the kitchen either. That doesn’t make sense. We have two water tanks. I know one’s empty because we just switched over to the second one yesterday but there’s NO way the second tank can be empty. I also know I use a lot of water but I haven’t used THAT much. Side note…I don’t have to worry about how much water I use right now because we’re at the dock. We have an unlimited supply.

Steve’s still sleeping. I am not going to wake him up to tell him we don’t have any water. One, that’s not a nice thing to wake up to and two, I don’t want to hear AGAIN how much water I use. So, I fix a cup of coffee and start reading email and do some online banking.

Steve gets up and heads into the bathroom. “Wow. We’re out of water.” WHEW! He’s surprised. I knew I hadn’t used that much water.

I figure we’ll fill the tanks after we drink our coffee but no, Steve says he’ll drink his coffee while he fills the tanks. He’s thinking we have a leak and wants to get to the bottom of it. I pull the cushions off the settee to see if there’s water where there isn’t supposed to be water. (I should have taken a picture to show you where this tank is located, but I am still in a pre-coffee state.) Nope, all dry and the tank is definitely empty. I hear the water trickling into the tank and sit down to watch it fill up. Steve doesn’t like to overfill the tanks so I let him know when they are full. Next thing I know, he’s pulling the hose out of that tank and starts filling the other tank. I stick my head out the companionway. “That first tank is nowhere near full.” Steve has a pretty good idea what the problem is. The vent line is clogged. He unhooks the vent line from the water tank and blows into it. Yep. It’s clogged. He grabs a little screwdriver, heads back outside and then yells at me to blow into the vent line. All right. I’ll give it a whirl.

S: Still clogged?

M: How can I tell?

S: Blow.

M: I did.

Here comes Steve. He blows into the vent line. Yes, it’s still clogged. (I still don’t know how he can tell.) I can see him thinking.

M: Will canned air work?

S: No, not enough pressure.

M: How about picture hanging wire? I have some in my tool box.

S: Not rigid enough. I need something thin and rigid.

I decide to go take a shower while he ponders on what he can use as a snake to unclog the line. He thinks it’s a dirt dobber’s nest. On my way out to the shower, I ask if a zip tie will work. I can see him thinking.

Steve is sitting on the settee drinking his second cup of coffee when I return from my shower. Vent line is unclogged.

Ahhh, the zen of zip ties.

I know. No pictures today. I will do better, I promise. Actually, I AM doing better. I have been taking lots of pictures of our bathroom project, and if all goes well, we’ll be posting those in the next day or two.

2 thoughts on “The Zen of Zip Ties”

  1. The captain says…when liquid enters a tank, it pushes air out the vent tube. If the vent tube is blocked and liquid continues to enter, pressure builds up because the air is compressed due to not being able to escape. When the pressure of the air equals the pressure of the water trying to enter, the water stops entering.

    There is a reverse to this concept. Liquid will not flow out of the bottom of a reservoir if air can not enter the top. You will be shown this principle when we change the oil in the lower unit of the outboard motor.

    The first mate says…HUH??


  2. Great blog post title! Keep ‘me coming. Question for the captain (no offense first mate but this might be beyond your knowledge)…how does the vent line prevent the tank from filling? Vent usually means letting something out.


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