# Posted: 4 Apr 2016 13:13 - Edited by: SE Ohio
2 days into a recent cabin visit, the pitcher pump on my rain barrel stopped sucking, which really sucked. One can get spoiled pretty easily, and I was used to having ample water. It was a Saturday, and in my neck of the woods not much is open on Sundays, so I had to act quick.
Added water, primed and primed, but the only water that would come out of the pump was what we had just added for the prime. Unbolted pump top, and looked down. The pump seal or upper leather looked fine. The flapper leather (check valve to prevent water from returning to barrel) had broken off. We are pretty much weekenders, so I guess there is lots of opportunity for the leather to dry and crack, and finally break.
Local hardware store is still closed from a recent fire. Off to the next county! Down the aisle. Pitcher pump leather cup hanging up, but no flapper leather. Sigh. They did direct me to Tractor Supply, which I knew sold pitcher pumps! Drive a little further.
Tractor supply had whole pitcher pumps, but no "innards". Sigh. They direct me to another hardware store, even further away. Lots of lefts and rights in these directions, but we found it. And they had one left on the rack! Got it and ran (but paid first).
After dinner, we installed the new leather. Was amazed that flapper weight bolt came off easily despite rust. Dipped screw in veggie oil before reassembling. All assembled. Ta da! Primed pump and... nothing. Bolts tight, maybe it needs to soak first? Soak. Still nothing. Kids not impressed.
Took pump apart again. Finally notice something odd. No dip tube! The PVC dip tube had fallen off PVC connector into rain barrel. This had been caulked in place. I vaguely remember not having solvent handy and an internet suggestion that caulk worked just fine in this application. Well, it didn't for me! Found solvent, reconnected tube, and ta da! Sometimes more than one thing fails at a time. At least we had washwater before Monday.
Old flapper and new
Dip tube before clean and attach