Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

When it rains…

Written By: Bob - May• 20•13
A water heater, or a water hater?

A water heater, or a water hater?

At a certain point, you simply have to laugh. Sunday morning I stepped through the kitchen door into the garage, into a puddle of water. Our 7 year-old water heater decided to die, but thankfully, the corrosion came from near the top of the tank (where the copper tubing interfaces in the photo above), so less than a gallon of water was on the floor.

That’s far better than when the water heater in my wife’s apartment in college ruptured at the base in the middle of the night,  soaked through our floor, and dumped in excess of 20 gallons of water into our downstairs neighbor’s apartment. She had a lot of stuff ruined.

We lost a bag of kitty litter, a few warm showers, and the ability to use our dishwasher for a few days.

We have a service contract through the local utility company, and so they sent a guy out this morning to take a look at it. He noted that the corrosion is evident on the internal water tank itself (he pulled off the insulation you see hanging on the copper pipe and looked inside the unit), and that the entire unit would have to be replaced.

Unfortunately, we have a direct vent natural gas water heater that they no longer stock, and it could be tomorrow or Wednesday before they get one in and can install it, so it will be sandwiches and takeout and cold showers until then. The service contract picks up about half the cost of the replacement unit, so I’m thankful for the $5 a month we pay for that. We had some issues with the gas unit itself back in the fall, so the $5 a month has been a real blessing that has more than paid for itself.

On the upside: I do have a couple of good employment prospects I’m working thanks to ideas from a couple of you, so now that the wife and dog are healthy, 1 out of 2 vehicles is running, and the water heater is going to be repaired soon, things are looking up!

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  1. Thomas says:

    Sorry to hear of your trouble. May I offer a suggestion?

    Unless the service contract covers a lot of other equipment, consider taking that $5 and putting it in a jar or a separate bank account where you won’t touch it. Water heaters can last from 5-20 years. If your next one makes it 10 years, you will have $600. That will pay about half the cost of a tankless water heater, which will be cheaper to operate, and provide unlimited Hot water – you can run white clothes in the washer while you take a shower, or run two bath’s or showers at the same time.

    Good luck, and prayers to you and your family.

  2. Casey says:

    Wowsers. At least the bad luck wasn’t too bad this time.

    There seems to be quite a bit of this going on. Just from people I know; a car accident, a bike accident, a divorce, sick kids…

    Tough times. :( My prayers as well.

    • Right_2_Bear says:

      Right. That is why one must use dielectric unions when transitioning from steel to copper on a WH.

      Also I was talking with a fellow who once worked making water heaters and he said the only difference between a “premium” water heater and an “economy grade” unit was the size of the sacrificial anode installed in the tank. FWIW..

  3. Survival Skvez says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your troubles but the loss of a water heater shouldn’t reduce you to sandwiches and take-out.
    When the economic collapse you preach is imminent occurs, what are you going to do? You can’t expect take-out when no-one trusts paper money and you can’t live on sandwiches very long as you’ll run out of bread (and it doesn’t sound like you can bake any more)?

  4. Jaynie59 says:

    When I did a major renovation on a house I bought I was forced to keep the rented hot water heater. That wasn’t my plan but I ran out of money and had no choice. So I had the hot water heater company come out and install a new one because the old one that was ancient It cost me $38 every two months. In the end it turned out to be worth every penny.

    The water heater you get from a rental is much higher quality than anything you can get at Home Depot. They have an incentive to not have to replace it so you get the best. And if is does break? It gets replaced for free. I sold my house 5 years later so it cost me $350 to buy out the contract, but it was worth the peace of mind because I had lived through water heater disasters before. If you’re planning to stay in your current home I would look to rent a new one. It really did turn out to a good deal for me.