Monday, June 1, 2015

Blooey

Y'all, I really need to get this blog-writing thing back on track.  Seriously.  All my posts so far this year have started out with "last week" or worse, and this one's no different.  Sheesh.
Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago I went down to The Scary Basement for some reason and saw that the dirt floor down there was all muddy.  Not just damp like it gets sometimes when the humidity is 1000%, but actual mud and a couple of puddles.  Uh-oh.
Further investigation revealed that the bottom of the water heater had rusted out.  Or, as my momma put it, "It finally went blooey."
This is not altogether a bad thing.  When I bought the house in 2006 the guy who inspected it told me that the water heater was in really bad shape and I'd be lucky if it lasted five years. I decided then and there to wait to replace the water heater until it actually stopped working.  In the meantime, I've put up with a water heater that takes forever to produce hot water (I can fill up two 5-gallon buckets before the water gets hot enough to take a shower) and then suddenly produces water that's scalding hot.  The water heater has only three settings on it: Low, Medium, and High. That's deceiving.  Low should really be called Scalding; Medium should be called Boil Lobsters In Your Bathtub; and I suspect that High would involve actual flames coming out of the faucet.  So here we are, 8 years and 7 months after I bought the house, and it's finally time to replace the water heater.
I have a friend whose brother-in-law is a plumber and he said if I bought the water heater, he'd put it in for about 200 bucks.  I'm given to understand that this is pretty cheap, as plumbers go.  However, I firmly believe in not paying for labor when you can get it for free, and my friend Steve very kindly offered to install my water heater for free.  Steve is apparently a glutton for punishment, because the last time he offered to help me for free, he was nearly squashed in a construction accident.
Someone wise once told me that old houses are like nesting dolls:  you see the one big issue, but hidden inside is another issue, and inside that issue is another, and so on.  Swip-swapping the old water heater for the new one seems pretty straightforward, but then there's finding time in everyone's schedule to do it, borrowing my son's truck so we can haul the new water heater home (because I'm not paying the big box store to deliver it), and figuring out what to do with the old one.  I haven't been able to get everyone together yet, so for two weeks I've been taking showers and doing laundry at my son's house.  It looks like next Sunday will be The Day.  Hopefully nobody gets squashed.

31 comments:

  1. Well, at least getting rid of it's easy! They're full of copper, so put an ad on craigslist free stuff, set it on the curb, and generally it'll be gone within an hour. That's how it works here at least....

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    1. I'm hoping to get rid of it that way!

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  2. Mayfair is correct. Scrappers love them.

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    Replies
    1. Good to know. I'm planning to set it out in the alley and hope that someone carts it away for me.

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  3. Hmm. I wonder what the copper in that is worth. Maybe it's worth hauling it to a place that buys copper, although I don't know what you would do with the non-copper parts, or getting it apart. Is your tetanus shot up to date? :-)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I take it back. I looked it up on the web and it looks like a life's work to do it yourself.

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    3. As accident-prone as I am, YOU KNOW my tetanus shot is up to date! :)

      Darnit, I was kinda hoping to tear it apart and sell the copper...like I need another project to work on. Back to the original plan of setting it out in the alley.

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    4. Scrap is waaaaaaaaaay down right now. Even my husband who loves free $$$$ has been passing up a lot of stuff lately.

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  4. Scrap it. Copper isn't actually that expensive, I absolutely can't get my head around why people put their lives at risk stealing it! From an honest person's point of view stealing cars sounds considerably more lucrative and less dangerous! Currently you get something like 4 Euros per kg of pure copper in Europe (roughly $3/pound) sou you'd need to have a lot of copper to make a profit. Old wires with the plastic still on are 1.50 Euro/kg BTW... close to nothing but the difference isn't worth the labour for stripping the plastic.

    One word of caution regarding the issues with the old water heater though! That might have had more to do with the plumbing than with the actual heater itself! Having to wait for hours until you get hot water decidedly sounds like miles and miles of un-insulated pipework throughout the house. Those pipes are full of water and in between showers that cools to room temperature or even outside temperature. For the next shower you have to let all that cold water out until you get fresh hot water from the heater.

    We have one bathroom in the house (old apartment building) that's not directly above or below the others but off to one side and fed by a horizontal pipe run of about 30 feet. The stagnant water in that pipe warms up so it's easy to tell when you're getting fresh water. You wouldn't believe how much water you have to drain before you can drink the water! I think two people could wash their hands before the water gets cold. 10 gallons IS way too much though. Assuming 1/2" copper pipe that would be 300' + and I can't believe that. I guess that means the old heater was indeed faulty and didn't get warm all the way so you had to drain cold(er) water first.

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    1. I do have un-insulated pipework, but you're right, not 300'+ of it. I think this water heater has been faulty for some time. I'm really looking forward to getting the new one in.

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  5. Make sure your friend is up to date on plumbing codes. We've had to buy a new water heater in almost every house we've owned. We ran into a problem with more than one with the old plumbing not being ready for the new heater. We've had to replace the plumbing to the new code in order the sell the house.

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    1. Since first my son, then Steve, and now Marion have all told me that installing a new water heater is "pretty simple", I'm certain they've jinxed themselves and the installation will be anything but simple!

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  6. We have had several hot water heaters go out at different houses, all during the week before Christmas and once Christmas eve! Good luck on Sunday!

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    1. Oh no! At least mine didn't go out on a holiday when I had people over.

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  7. My first one failed and leaked the day I was to start a new job.

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  8. The water heater that was in my house when I bought it was 23 years old. It split open one particularly unpleasant day, and I found out the supply valve to it was broken too, so that we had to turn off the water main to the entire house to stop the gusher. Fun times. But considering it's age I couldn't complain. "It didn't owe me anything" is a popular refrain around here.

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  10. So my rent is due on the 15th of every month. Last month I was staying over at my boyfriends that night and completely forgot the rent was due. So I went in the next day (16th) and my Landlord had left for a trip. Leaving no indication of when she would be back. I didn't feel comfortable leaving a check or cash floating around on her desk because she has a lot of people who come in and out and no associates who handle her business for her. Well here she is 3 weeks later leaving me a voicemail about the rent saying she is going to charge me a $25 late fee for the every day she was gone because I couldn't give her the rent exactly on the 15th! I live in Colorado, BTW. Is that fair? Can she really do that? Thanks.
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  11. It is horrible when those water heaters blow. It can create quite a mess, and the expense from the damage that it does, can be financially devastating. Finding a good plumber is tricky as well. My water heater blew last year, but I caught it just as it was about to go. It was expensive to replace, but the money that I saved by catching it at the exact right time, was enormous.

    Stevie Calloway @ Infinity Plumbing Services

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  12. Hi, good luck with your new water heater. We recently had a new one fitted, ours was pretty old and had slowly stared to fail, so we couldn't complain. We contacted our local plumbing company to install it for us, as I wanted to know it was installed correctly. You need to be careful when it comes to water and electrics.

    Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing

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