When Grandpa Hubbard had this house built in 1917, he saved $300 by doing the plumbing himself. (Three floors, plus an attic, and the roof sprinklers.) He put a hose bib in a closet on each floor, with a hose ready in case of fire. And the roof sprinklers. This is the California foothills, and fire is always possible, as we can see now. And originally the house had a shake roof, as well as sides.
This is gravity-flow water, coming down from the mountains, so it should still be available near a fire.
It has been my custom to test them each year on the first really hot day of summer. The best time is when the very last sun is on the roof, for the maximum evaporative cooling, but so the sun will be gone when I turn them off again. It has the advantage then of starting to cool the house off for the night - acting like a giant swamp cooler.
On the usual hot day, this is lovely: it smells like rain, it sounds like rain, it looks like rain, it cools things off. I open all the windows that won't splash in, and after walking around to get a view of all the sprinkler heads, I sit on the porch for a few minutes enjoying it, before turning the water off again.
But Mom called to say that the sprinklers should be tested right away, after all there are fires all over - and I had to agree with her. But it is all smoky and muggy today, and I couldn't open most of the windows. And since it is so muggy, probably the sprinklers didn't cool the house off much.
But it still smelled like rain (and smoke), and sounded like rain, and looked like rain. And I sat out on the porch and enjoyed it.
PS You can see that some sprinkler heads need replacing.
PPS The sky is not blown-out in this photo; that's the color the sky has mostly been for weeks - greyish brownish white.
Labels: 2008, fire, living here, old house