Tuesday, January 22, 2008


When the Water Heater Goes....

Dateline: Casa Ché, Yesterday -- Was just getting up, getting ready to prepare a post on MLK and the Progressive Ideal when, ay carumba, heard this strange hissing noise coming out of the laundry room. Paid little attention at first, made some coffee, was thinking about toast and jam, and a little tapping in the back of my mind kept saying, hmm, something's not right, and I went to check the hissing again and discovered a growing flood of hot water on the floor of the laundry room. Uh oh. Better turn off the water to the water heater. OK. Sure. Fine. The valve is stuck. Casa Ché is not one of your newer suburban residences, oh no, we're talking Late Depression American Home, mostly in original condition. No remodeling over the years. Even vague Moderne touches here and there.

So. What do you do? Hot water is spreading and getting deeper, the flood growing. Can't budge the valve. Start sweeping it out the door is what I did, and when it seemed like most was gone but more was still coming out, I ran around looking for the main valve, found it finally, and turned the water off to the house. Spent the next several hours mopping up the flood, which had spread to the kitchen and a little bit into the hall. Plus taking everything out of the laundry room and finding someplace to store it while repairs are made. WD-40'd the water heater valve, see if it would work. Finally got it closed (with the help of leverage provided by a 16" screwdriver). So could turn the water to the house back on. Then the whole arrangements to get a new water heater in. Not so easy. Codes have changed since 1940, and gas water heaters have to be on stands, which means all the piping currently there is in the wrong place, many intricate extensions and whatnot, a whole new chimney assembly, endless bits and pieces, takes up the rest of the day, and even then, there's something wrong with the hot water line, nothing is coming out of the faucets on a test run except rust. Uh oh. Maybe have to have new hot water pipes? Oh great.

So, that's today's project. We'll have to get back to our Topic anon, but for the moment, Casa Ché is without hot water -- except what we boil on the stove -- and except for short breaks now and then, your interlocutor will not have much opportunity to post anything.

Such is Life.

Hope the stockmarket meltdown isn't ruining your day!

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