Archive for December 19th, 2011

In hot water

Isn’t it pretty?
I realize now that I should have taken a before picture. But on Saturday morning, when I crawled out of bed at 0715, I went to fill my dog’s water bowl. Behind the closet door, I could hear running water. Even in my sleepy state, I knew it was not right.

But I really had to pee first. And put on some clothes. I couldn’t think in my pajamas. I just couldn’t think. What do I do? How do I make the water heater stop leaking water from the side? Turn off the incoming water and then ask the internets for help. And Contractor.

First, I turned off the circuit breaker. And because the heater is above the water heater, I turned its circuit breaker off too for good measure.

I tried turning off the incoming water. The knob turned maybe an inch. I tried a little harder, but decided it would be worse if I broke it off.

The water was at the top of the pan. I was afraid it was going to spill over and flood the unit below. I know how these things happen. I see it all the time in HOA meetings. The HOA! Who do we call when these things happen? Call The Plumbers!

I got the pager system. In the meantime, I attempted to alleviate the situation by connecting my garden hose to the drain spout. This almost made things worse. The garden hose leaked like a sieve from the connection. I surrounded it with towels. Oh no. I put those towels in the washer and left them. Tomorrow.

The Plumbers called back. I said things were precarious. They probably weren’t as bad as I thought since the drain pan was actually working, but I didn’t know and didn’t want the liability. The dispatcher asked if I knew about the after-hour rates. Yes, I do. I sign all the checks that go to them after we call for emergency services. It isn’t cheap.

The Plumber came. He turned off the water from outside. He drained the tank. He removed the tank. He put new closing valves on the pipes and removed the corroded one I couldn’t close. He cleaned up and put everything into a stable state. He left. My water was useable, but there would be no hot water for a while.

Contractor called. I told him I wanted to put in tankless. I don’t want to worry about a flooded tank again. I did all the research. For a condo my size, for just me, it seemed completely feasible. Except for one little detail. I would have I have an entirely new circuit breaker box because I don’t have room to put in the circuit breakers required for an electric tankless water heater. The cost would have been ridiculous and the money I’d save in electrical bills probably wouldn’t save me anything in the end.

I had to go with a standard water heater. Well, sort of standard. The other reason I wanted a tankless water heater is because my water heater lives below my furnace. They share a closet. So it has to be a 30″ tall 28 gallon tank. I only have one option: a 6-year-warrantee Whirlpool. It was the only one I found at local stores.

Contractor had time today, so off to Lowes we went to pick one up. I was useless when it came to installing it, so he sent me out to find a 3/4″ compression nipple. Or even better, a SharkBite. I was clueless trying to ask for one. The guy helping thought I needed it for something else and thought we were doing it wrong. I don’t think he ever understood what I wanted it for. So I went to another store. I knew I was in to something good when I was in the section where security camera were blinking and watching me.

I finally found the part. In the meantime, Contractor had my kitchen faucet apart, performing surgery to remove kidney stones from the line. It had a lot and was slowing the water flow to a trickle. I don’t understand where it gets them from. Maybe the new water heater will help.

It all took a while, but now I have a water heater and running water in the kitchen. While I was at it, I also replaced the air filter for the furnace above. On Saturday, it had received some holes from a blow torch. Oops. Probably for the best since it needed replacing with a properly fitted one.

I’m excited to be able to take a hot shower tomorrow!