Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Successful Saga Of The Water Heater!

Have you ever started something that was supposed to be simple and it turned out to be oh~so~much~more~complicated????
That would be how our life was this last week.
We were losing our hot water and fast. For two weeks we had been taking very short showers and doing our dishes in small loads. Everything else like washing hands and faces etc...was done with COLD water. I had continued doing laundry but had piled up the white load to very high and wasn't sure if we would need to use a laundry mat for it.
Monday we decided to attack the problem head on. We first had to take the water heater out of the house to drain it as we could not get the drain at the bottom to work using a hose. (Apparently sediment can build up down there and clog the drain; which is what happened.) And before we could take the water heater out of the house we had to remove a cabinet above the washer and dryer because it was hung too low to just be able to slide it under. If the water heater had been empty, we could have tilted it but we couldn't empty it with the hose because of the sediment build~up. After we got it out of the house, Jeff ended up pouring the water out from the element opening and tons of sediment came spilling out as well. This took at least an hour before we just decided to go and buy the new element. The guy told us that if one was bad the other one was probably the same or worse. We bought two elements and a big wrench thingy to screw and unscrew them!
When we got home, we checked the other element and it looked about the same as the first element, we replaced both and brought the water heater back inside and filled it up with water again. After some time, we tried the water and it was still cold. Jeff headed out to ACE again (it was almost closing time by now) to buy a new thermostat and hoped that would fix it.
Not so. Monday night I showered at my parents house because I had a chiropractic appointment on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday morning after my appointment we decided to buy a new water heater. We returned the elements and thermostat to ACE and picked up the exact same water heater (which only time will tell if that was a smart move or not) and headed home to start again.
In the mean time, I decided that since everything was already moved out of the laundry area and wouldn't be put back real soon, I should go ahead and repaint the space a new color since I was having difficulty accepting the red we had put up last year! Of course, Jeff thought I was crazy and wanted me to focus on the problem at hand, but I persisted and got to buy my paint at Home Depot.
I painted quickly and had the fans drying it while Jeff planned out the entire installation of the new water heater. When it came time to install the new one, we had some help and it went pretty well. Just one more trip to ACE to get a new tube that was long enough. We screwed everything in and hooked everything up and turned everything on and waited.
Nothing. We still had cold water coming out of the faucets.
Okay so now we were thinking it had to be an electrical problem which we know nothing about (although we also know nothing about plumbing and have managed thus far). We were getting concerned about the cost involving hiring an electrician.
I posted on Facebook about being discouraged and not knowing what the heck was going on etc...and we got some replies back from people who are knowledgeable in the area. I chatted with an old college friend who does home improvement stuff. While Jeff got on the phone with one of my old high school friends who now owns a Mr. Rooter business in Washington state. CRAZY! I still can't believe how inspired I must have been to post that complaint and receive the exact help we needed. And people say Facebook is a waste of time! Ha
Realize that this is going on a 10:00 at night and we are just hoping that any information will bring us closer to an answer tomorrow.
It was determined by Jeff and Shay on the phone that the breaker for the water heater must be busted.
Wednesday morning, Jeff woke up and went to Home Depot. He bought a voltage meter which told us that the breaker was not giving enough power to the water heater in the first place. This meant that we could have probably gotten away with replacing the breaker before anything else and that would have solved the whole problem. Jeff bought a new breaker, installed it and the water heater kicked on immediately. We decided to keep the new water heater (and not take everything out for the third time just to save a few hundred bucks that might buy us another year at best with the old one). You understand, right?
After a little while we had hot water again. Yay! For the first time in a few weeks, we could take a 10 minutes shower if we wanted.
In the mean time I learned that: its not the temperature of the water that gets things clean, its the friction; dishes can be washed in mildly warm water (I microwaved water in bowls to wash the dishes); and that kids get dirty much faster when there is less chance of a bath!
I am also THANKFUL to say the least for the help we received from Shaylin King over the phone and also from my Uncle Jon who has had a lot of experience in replacing water heaters. And from Dad who came over to help (and also Mom who let me use her shower several times). We lived in Colorado for many years without family real close by. Tuesday night as we sat eating our dinner with my parents and Uncle Jon (still not knowing what the problem might be with the new water heater not working) I kept thinking how happy I was to live near family and to be able to call on them when we need them for help. In fact, through this whole ordeal (since it started a few weeks ago) I never felt helpless; as I might have in Colorado if this had happened there.
As it turns out the Visiting Teaching Message for this month happens to be about being self reliant. I feel very good about what we were able to accomplish and that we were following a simple principle of the gospel to boot!


meghannamarie said...

Wow that is quite the ordeal! As for your first question...I do remember the "simple" job of redoing the kitchen countertops being a 2 day job!

Korryn said...

holy novel!!! man, this huge post makes me think that maybe you like to talk a lot. heee heee! but i love you anyway!

mahonica (you ugly) said...

I know but I didn't want to put another disclaimer about it being long seems like that's all I do now! haha I actually just wanted to document the whole experience so we wouldn't forget what happened.

Frasure Family said...

wow! doesn't sound very fun. It makes me very grateful to take warm shower and do dishes whenever. Thank goodness for handy men and connections.