Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Tale of the Water Heater

The water heater and furnace replacement did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. In fact it wouldn't be an exaggeration at all to say they're still here.

I started trying to drain the tank around 8 P.M. Sunday night. But the water wasn't running out the hose. I opened up the hot water taps around the house to let the air in but that didn't help. I put a bucket under the pressure release valve and got water out of there but not terribly fast. I used a snake on the hose but that wasn't the source of the problem at all.

I continued taking water from the pressure release valve and messing with the spigot for an hour or so. The water just wasn't coming from the spigot at more than a dribble. I continued dumping bucket after bucket from the pressure release until 4:30 in the morning when it finally stopped. I'd say I drained at least 35 of the 50 gallons that way.

Eric showed up at 9:00 just like he said. He saw my issue with the spigot, unscrewed the knob from the spigot (I didn't have the guts for that), jammed a screwdriver up there, and wiggled it around. Calcium buildup and water started coming out so he put the knob back on. Water came out of the hose but not fast. We let that sit while the furnace guy messed around out front. After an couple of hours they came up to tell me that the wrong adapter was sent. They can get one but they'll have to hit several places, none of which close, and there's no way they'd get the work done today.

Eric refilled the water tank, cleared the air from the pipes, and flushed out that crud that always appears when you do this stuff. He also tried to clear more of the calcium so that the tank would drain easier in the future. When he came upstairs it looked like he'd been spackled. Calcium bits had been blown clear across the first floor. Eric did clean that up. I didn't see the stuff on the TV screen until later. Mom says I'll still be finding that stuff when I move out.

So we'll reschedule this and try again soon. The more paychecks I have in the bank when I have to pay up the happier I am.


Malaise Inc said...

LMAO. I think you must be my East Coast doppelganger. When we did that foundation repair last year, we had to take the hot water heater and furnace out because they sat in a utility closet between the original stem wall and where the new stem wall was being put in. Since we are on a well, the water heater was pretty much full of minerals and had to be replaced. The furnace was mostly shot too. So, we got a new HVAC system at the same time.

What made the experience special (besides a $5,000 repair turning into a $13,000 outlay) was all this was done during the heat of August. So, not only did we not have air conditioning for a full week but, because of the well, we only had ice cold running water. Luckily, we had put a water heater in the barn earlier in the year, so we at least had the choice of a cold shower inside or a hot shower from a hose behind the barn. Oy!

Hang in there.

Ibid said...

Having worked with the tank so much during the last few weeks I can see how fast it loses heat. It is insulated, but still, three hours without power and the water is room temperature.

I'm replacing the hot water tank with a tankless water heater for this very reason. I'll only heat the water I need instead of having to heat it over and over and over again.

The downside of this is that when the world falls apart I won't have 50 gallons of clean water right there at hand. Plus, I can't install a solar water heater since there'll be no place to store the hot water.

Mike Rhode said...

Doug, you do know that when you lose power with a tankless heater, you lose hot water too, right?

Man, I hate water heaters.

Ibid said...

The same can be said of a hot water tank. Even insulated it's only 3 hours from hot water to room temperature water.