Saturday, December 02, 2006

Time to bring in the specialists

Part of growing older and wiser is knowing when to call in the professionals. I came home yesterday at 2:39 after the usual round of medical appointments and errands that make up my "day off".

There was a trickle of water moving across the garage floor. It was coming from the drip pan of the hot water heater. I called Mark right away and left voicemail telling him about the water and that he needed to call the plumber right away. I proceeded to bring in the shopping and hang up the laundry that was still in the washer when I left that morning.

Mark called back to say he was coming right home to investigate. Turn off the water main on the side of the house and wait for him. I did not think this was a problem that he could fix. I had discovered cracked water heaters before and the inevitable response from landlords were that they were coming over to investigate. I did a little investigation of my own and decided my first instinct was right.

It was then 3 pm on a Friday afternoon. Something had to be done quickly if I wanted to have hot water this weekend.

I walked 2 blocks to the plumbing supply store. The owner was out but J, a senior plumber was there. I told him about the puddle, the slow trickle coming out the bottom of the water heater, and that the top of the tank and top fittings were all dry. I told him it was most likely a cracked water heater because it was at least a decade old. He said that it could be the water heater or the fittings.

J looked across the store at a junior plumber, C, and asked if he was done for the day. C said it was ok, grabbed several different kinds of fittings, and walked out the back door. (C and J had both been to our house on other plumbing matters in the past year.) J wrote out a work order and told me to walk home. C would probably be waiting for me there. I beat C back to my house by a minute. Mark had already arrived home and was inspecting the water heater. C took off the water heater jacket and, voila, we saw the crack in the side of the water heater.

C called his partner to go pick us up a 50 gallon hot water heater. He asked us for a garden house and proceeded to flush and drain the old water heater. We went inside . C's partner delivered the new tank. The two of them lifted out the old tank and put the new one in. C's partner hauled our old heater away while C finished fitting it and cleaned up that corner of our garage floor. Luckily, the mops and brooms are stored in that corner.

By 6pm, we had a new heater, hot water and C had a nice big check.

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