A whole series of "if it can go wrong it will" incidents seemed to be
the theme for the latter half of 2015 (e.g. torrential rain in August
that flooded the house (see earlier post), a sewage system so badly done
it required daily manual flushes of outdoor pipework, venting windows
that still leaked after refitting and resealing (see later post), some
internal plumbing that was supposedly "no problem" proving to be only
solved by what can only be described as a series of "mash-ups" which, in
one instance is still not fit for purpose etc etc.
On top of
these it was particularly disheartening to discover that an earlier
leak, that had already, supposedly been rectified, had returned in
exactly the same place. i.e. penetrating both the study area and
Fundamental to an earth sheltered design is
the fact that the waterproof membrane covering the roof and the walls
must at all times be waterproof.
Since the last attempt to seal
these leaks the PV and solar hot water systems and a header tank for the
hot water boiler in the cook stove had been installed on the roof on
top of the earth sheltering. The first task, therefore, was to dig out
the earth around the problem areas in order to gain access to the
The slowness of the water penetration itself
suggested that any puncture of the membrane would be minor. The roof
drainage system was designed as a series of shallow contained areas
between the various concrete beams that form an integral part of the
roof and have a 10cm of gravel on top of the membrane for drainage and
pipework to direct the water into the around the house drainage system.
The suspicion was that the leak was from the small volume of static
water that lies just below the level of the feeds to the drainage pipes.
Identifying the leak was therefore a bit like "looking for a proverbial
needle in a haystack". Couple this with the fact that over the suspect
area was at least a metre of earth sheltering and you get a feel for the
task. Motto get it right first time!!
After digging a series of
holes through the earth sheltering the problem was located beneath the
recently installed header tank. Unfortunately in this exploratory work
the piping to the header tank was damaged and therefore had to be
repaired!! And so it goes on. You just could not make it up!!
Finally all was repaired and time will tell if it was successful.
|Leaks in the ceiling of the study area that ajoins the lightwell.|
|Digging through the earthsheltering to find the leak.|
|Using rags to soak up the static water.|
|Resealing/repairing the waterproof membrane.|