Minnesota Farmer


Water heaters and other pre trip oddities

So, here you are, planning a trip out of town and you have a problem with the water heater.  If the house was to be empty, no problem, turn it off and deal with it later.  Nope, I’m going alone,wife would prefer to have hot water while I’m gone.

Now nothing in our house is simple.  It comes from not liking to pay fuel bills.  When I hooked up our wood burning boiler to heat the house, I also used that hot water to heat our household water.  There are extra things hooked to our heater and I would like to be here to explain when the new water heater is installed.  I may not have the chance.  I’m already in a time crunch and I have to plan on a water heater being replaced while I’m gone, wonderful.

So here’s the old heater.  Notice the dark stain of wet cement on the floor?  That’s what gave me the first hint of trouble.  The heater is 20 years old so it has had its life.  We are on load management with the electric company so they and I can save some electricity in times of high need, we both save money.  Because of that I get a big water heater while paying less for a top of the line electric water heater.  The electric company can shut the heater off periodically to save during times of peak demand, never long enough to notice if you have a larger, well insulated, tank.

Notice also the white lines on the heater?  Those are signs of previous leakage.  Not good things to find.

See that yellow tag, it’s wet.  It hangs from the electric junction box on the water heater.  When I removed the cover from that box I discovered that water was coming out of the heater from around the electric cables.  This means I have to replace the heater.  I make the plans to replace everything, and hope it all holds together so the plan will never go into effect.  If things go wrong, one phone call and my wife gets her hot water back.

Luckily everything held together while I was gone, now I can get things done my way.

While I was gone the new a water heater was delivered.  Today I wrestled it into the house and got it out of the box.  The next step is going to be interesting.  The tank is 30.25 inches wide and the top of my basement stair well 30.25 inches.  Yep, tight squeeze.  But hey, I’m home and the job will get done.  It’s much easier for me and a load off of my wife.

It happens so often, you are headed off on, or just back from a trip, and something goes wrong.  So far no problem, so far.

Michael

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