Meet Water Heater, Our New Frenemy

Oh, readers–dear, dear readers…have you ever had water heater problems?  If you have, you know what a serious pain in the butt they can be…

Let me tell you a little story about the water heater at Lot 26.  We’ll call it Water Heater from here on out…or maybe just WH (which looks a lot like an abbreviation for “What the H _ _L?”but I digress…).  Water Heater worked pretty well when CF and I first moved in.  It did its job, heating the water so we could do things like wash our hands, wash the dishes, wash a load of towels and sheets, and, once the shower was installed, wash ourselves.  For these reasons, WH was our friend, much like Furnace.  In fact, as far as we knew, WH only had one flaw: it was set on a timer.

What?  A timer, you ask?  Yes, that’s right.  A freakin’ timer.  When he lived here, CF’s stepdad, RF, decided he didn’t want one of his roommates to take long showers anymore, so he installed a timer on WH to keep said roommate from using all the hot water (is this, but that was his reasoning).  Why is this a bad idea?  Well…it’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that WH is already self-regulated (by thermostat and pressure gauge), so to give it another form of regulation, a freakin’ timer, is overkill and possibly dangerous.

But we could overlook the timer, CF and I, because we discovered a temporary solution!  After a particularly chilly shower for CF one fine morning, he found that you could flip the switch on the timer for WH manually, hence overriding the timed component.  Yay!  From then on, whenever we noticed that we were out of hot water, we could simply wriggle our way to the back of our bedroom closet (where WH so conveniently lives) and flip the switch!  Of course, we intend to remove the whole timer thing in the future.

Skip ahead to this last weekend.  WH was working fine.  We had been happily flipping the timer switch whenever necessary.  But Sunday morning, I awoke to the sounds of trickling and dripping water.  I thought, in my just-awake haze, that it was raining again outside, so I rolled over and closed my eyes.  Then my brain said, “Hey idiot!  That water sound is coming from the closet!  Not outdoors!” I then sat bolt upright and said, “What’s that dripping sound?!”

CF, in an amazing show of quick action and fearlessness, hopped immediately out of bed (where he had still been sleeping) and moved directly to WH.  Yes, in a matter of seconds, CF had gone from peaceful sleep to crisis mode.  After some cursing, he ran to the other room to grab towels to begin soaking up the water coming from WH’s relief valve.

But, isn’t that relief valve there for a reason, you ask? Why do we need to clean up water?  Shouldn’t WH have a drain nearby to take care of that?   Because– and you’ll never believe this readers, you will never f-ing believe this–whoever installed WH didn’t bother to install a hose or anything to allow the relief valve to drain through a hole in the floor and to the ground.  Nope, that long copper tube was positioned to drain to the floor of our closet.  Unbelievable, right?  Well, I’ll do you one better.  There is a hole for drainage literally eight inches away.  EIGHT INCHES.  WTF? Right?  Am I right?

WH, our friend, was officially WH our frenemeny.  Part friend (“I’ll heat your water!”), part ENEMY (“I WILL DESTROY YOUR FLOOR AND ALL OF YOUR BELONGINGS!”).

[To be fair, perhaps our real enemy is the idiot that installed WH in such a stupid stupid manner.]

So, after cleaning up the disaster and flipping the switch on the timer to “OFF” to avert more water disaster, we made some phone calls to CF’s biological dad (can I call him “biodad”?) and his half-bro, who is an engineer and has built his own house. They gave us some advice and said it was going to be ok.  Biodad (previously known as “Handyman himself”) said he’d come by the next day to help us 1) reset the temperature on WH, which may have been the cause of the almost-explosion and 2) attach a tube to connect the copper valve to the drain in the floor, so if WH decided to relieve itself again, it wouldn’t cause a serious mess.

Seems, alright, yes? No.  Because later, we discovered that we were out of hot water again and had to flip the switch to “ON”.  DISASTER.  So much water everywhere, readers…EVERYWHERE.  At least it didn’t reach to my side of the closet where my purses were sitting.  (No one would want to deal with me if that had happened.)

We turned WH back off and tried not to use anymore hot water for the rest of the day in hopes that there would be some for a shower in the morning before I had to go to work.

This morning, I got up to take a shower, and the water was hot…then warm…then luke warm…then “ok it’s time to get out now.”  Just as I went in to report this to the still-sleeping CF, our dear WH’s timer switched back “ON” and WH proceeded to release more water–luckily, we had the foresight to place a pan beneath the valve this time, and CF got up to turn WH back “OFF.”

I went to work worried.  Worried, but hopeful that things would get fixed while I was gone.  Worried, but crossing my fingers.  And later at work, I received a voicemail from CF saying that he would be gone for the whole night to record at his friend’s studio, but that he had FIXED EVERYTHING before he left.  He unscrewed the metal panel and dug through the insulation to change the temperature gauge AND he went out and bought a tube to connect the valve to the drain and installed that.  In other words, even if WH goes nuts again (which it shouldn’t because CF changed the temperature), it will do no harm because the water now drains where it is supposed to go!

Here's CF handiwork. What a beautiful tube that is!

And readers, let me tell you, we’ve been together for a long time now, but CF just got a lot sexier.  When we first started dating he would make these elaborate meals for me, which was super sexy.  As we continued to be a couple I would go to a lot of his gigs and see what a crazy talented drummer he is–also quite sexy.  More recently, he finished installing our shower, all by himself–more sexy points.

But seriously, fixing something that is a crisis situation?  Totally, out-of-this-world sexy.  Am I right?  Show me a group of people who don’t want a partner who can fix major problems while they’re at work, and I’ll show you a group of people that belong in an insane asylum.  CF, you ROCK (and not just on the drums).

Unfortunately, with all the craziness with WH, we didn’t get a chance to put in the tile we finally bought for the bathroom!  I guess that will have to wait for next weekend and for another post.

Here's a sneak peak at the bathroom tile we chose...

Until then, may all your homes be happy, and may all your water heaters be kind!


About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
This entry was posted in Renovations. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Meet Water Heater, Our New Frenemy

  1. brothersf says:

    Ha when I read –” so if WH decided to relieve itself again, it wouldn’t cause a serious mess”– I almost relieved myself and made a serious mess. :0

  2. Pingback: A Series of Failures: an Apology and Explanation | The Stigma of Lot 26

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