Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Really Monday?

Yeah, yeah, I know it isn't Monday. And that's for the best.

My Monday started out innocently enough. Alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., I stayed in bed too long, took a last minute shower, and got ready to head out the door at 7 a.m. Pretty simple morning routine, right?

Now, we've had a minor problem with our water heater for a while, and it's had a pretty steady drip for a while. It was never an issue until yesterday when that single occasional drip turned into three drips in quick succession. That got my attention!

Since I was the only person home, and hot water is kind of a necessity, I called the water heater service listed on the heater. They were out of business, but the number directed to a new service who said they could be out around noon. They advised I turn it off and drain the water heater so it could be serviced.

And that's where the real adventure begins and a lesson in the joys of home ownership.

Some time back when the regular drip began, we bought a cap to cover the drain valve to stop/slow the drip, and that seemed to solve the problem. Until yesterday. I turned the pilot light off, closed the water valve, and tried to remove that very cap from the drain valve. Wouldn't come off by hand. So I went looking for tools to use as a solution. Instead of pulling the cap off, it pulled the ENTIRE drain valve off. And what was just a series of drips turned into a rivulet of water. It was now 7:15 a.m.


After a moment's hysteria, I flew to the linen closet, grabbed as many towels as I could carry and placed them under that steady stream of water. Still panicking, I called my in laws, got the number for the nearby plumber, and called them barely containing the distress in my voice.

God bless the lady that answered my call. She was efficient, calming, and assured me that she'd get the problem taken care of.

By 8 a.m., the plumbers were there, and I was piling more towels around the water-y mess happening in my laundry room. They tried to fix the water heater, but it was a lost cause. Turns out there was so much sediment built up in the bottom and around where the drain valve hooked into the water heater, that they couldn't install a new valve. All they could do was let the water stream out. The plumbers wound up moving our new washer and dryer out of the way, and as more water poured out, we started sweeping it out the door and vacuuming it up as best we could with the Shop Vac.

Around 9:45 a.m., my in-laws showed up to assist with any clean-up, and I'm so incredibly grateful to them. They managed to keep me from having a full on panic attack, and - funnily enough - we had a pretty good time together, cleaning and making sure everything was in working condition. Yeah, I know it's a little crazy, but I get some kind of zen enjoyment from cleaning. On the plus side, I was able to really clean under where the washer and dryer normally sit as the appliance installation guys wouldn't give me a few minutes when they were installed last month.

Long story short, five hours and a whole lot of money later, we had a new water heater, and I had a water logged mess of towels to clean up. And a shop vac full of water.

On a more positive note, we now know why that water heater made so many annoying noises all the time including in the middle of the night waking me up for no good reason. Yeah, apparently all the sediment that built in the bottom was responsible for that. And the moral of the story? Make sure to drain your water heater once a year so that doesn't happen. And new water heaters don't have annoying plastic drain valves like our old one did.

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