So, yesterday morning, I sent hubby off with a kiss. When I came back inside, I noticed a very small drop of something liquid on the floor. I thought that I might have dripped with emptying the coffee grounds, so I just wiped it up and went about my morning routine. Ten minutes later, there was more liquid, in the same spot. So, I moved the garbage can, opened the door to the hot water heater closet and there it was … water all over the floor. I threw down some towels, quickly checked the hoses, then went to You Tube. This was the first video I saw:
So, since I checked the hoses already (and the pressure relief pipe was sticking through a hole in the floor) I cut out a piece of cabinet wall and searched around to see if I could find where it was leaking from. I did … the water was coming through the control panel area. So, we needed a new water heater. O.k. What do I do now? First, I wanted to double check, so I called the former owner of the house. He couldn’t remember when he put it in but while we were chatting, he mentioned “we had one heck of a time getting it in there 20 years ago”. So, with that confirmed, back to You Tube. First, I found this one:
Then this one (figured I should immediately NOT make any mistakes so I better learn what they are):
And finally this one:
So, since we don’t have cell phones and I figured it would take a while to drain the hot water heater, I waited and priced some. I decided to go with a Rheem that was 10 gallons larger than the one we were replacing. I measured, and it was about the same height. So, I measured the pipes (for those who don’t know, the width of the pipe itself is NOT the width of the threads. My pipes are just over an inch in diameter but are technically 3/4 in pipe), made the list of things we’d need, wrote down the Model number, and went to let hubby know (I REALLY didn’t want him to show up from work, thinking he was going to relax, and be hit with this).
We went down to Home Depot, bought everything thanks to OPCC (Other People’s Credit Card … we had the cash but that is for property taxes), came home, and began. Well, I may have taken into account the height of the water heater but did not take into account the width (or weight). I ended up having to cut out more of the cabinet and ALMOST had to make a run to Ace Hardware for gas piping (it was in the way but we managed to make it work) all due to the increased width. Another thing about the width is: when I removed the old one, I just gave it a bear hug and walked it out the back door. The new one? My fingers wouldn’t even touch. AND it was heavier. So, once again, our old, free-from-a-neighbor dolly saved our bacon (and backs). I can’t tell you how many times that dolly has come in handy over the years. If anything happened to it, I would immediately go out and buy another one.
It took us 5 hours from purchase to hot water (plus a few hours today to tear out the rest of the cabinet). I still don’t know if I’m going to put a door up in front of the hot water heater (the framing would bring it out about 4 inches from the rest of the cabinets) or just spackle, paint, and call it good. So, what are the lessons I took away from this experience?
- Always have at least $1,000 in cash or available on a credit card for emergencies such as this.
- Measure everything (especially if this is a replacement) and even if you don’t think you will need a part, buy it.
- Unless you always have a group of big strong men (or women) around you at all times, have a dolly.