Monday, March 26, 2018

maybe complaining pays?

My cell phone just rang.

The plumber is leaving Cartwright (which is maybe 15 minutes away) and is on his way. He asked what the hot water heater was "doing" and I was like "It's not doing anything - there's no hot water."

I also have not heard it trying to fill so I am hoping that does NOT mean it's all sludged up inside but I kind of fear it might be.

At least he's coming, but I hope it's not too much to hope that it's a simple fix and I will have hot water again by tonight.....(If I DO, I am taking a hot shower to deal with this headache)


Edited to add: it was a combo platter of dust and crud in the underneath vent ("Where the thing breathes" the guy said) and the hot water heater coming to the end of its life. He was able to revive it for now but told me to watch it.

The bad news is I will need a new one sooner rather than later, apparently. And the really bad news is that (a) tanked water heaters have changed (got fatter to house more insulation for a set amount of gallons capacity) and (b) code has changed in the past 10 years. So, yeah, I would have to have all-new venting put in which would get expensive.

The other option is a tankless heater. I am not as familiar with these but the guy told me "If I had gas in my house I'd have a gas tankless heater, but the electric ones are worthless" so I don't know. On the one hand, it's more expensive up front (though only a couple hundred more dollars than what he predicted a tanked heater + the code upgrades would be) but, on the other, there's an annual flushing procedure to prevent scale build up, and they last longer, and his assessment was "If you plan on staying in this house a while, tankless would be a good investment" and also it would avoid the issues of dust getting sucked into the under-vent.

(Though I don't know, now - doing a little research online seems to suggest that the tankless require even MORE heavy duty venting, and I'd think the guy would know his stuff but....I don't know. I just don't want to have to empty out the entrance to my attic to let people in to it to mess with new venting. ARGH. Maybe the tankless ones have changed recently and the venting requirement no longer applies?)

So I don't know. The price tag for either is a little scary given my reduced income these days, but, I don't know - I guess I start cutting back more now (hello beans and rice for dinner) and try to save up the bucks to do it. (Also, I do get a tax refund this year, and it could come out of that, though I was kind of counting on that to fill in income-wise)

But yeah: I plan on staying in this house a while; even if I wound up going for a new career I don't think I'd move at this point because I own the house (outright - it was a fixer-upper I was able to buy with savings and a "gift" from my dad) and the cost of living is low here and I'm kind of ensconced. But yeah, am not looking forward to yet another Big Expensive Thing. (I do have some treasury bonds that matured a while back; I should look into cashing those in maybe). And my dad may be willing to help out a bit; he helps out my brother and sister in law out from time to time. (They have had a LOT of car trouble; apparently their Subaru is not as reliable as the ads make it out to be)

Honestly, the tankless heater has another thing that recommends it to me: minimal disruption in my life, unlike maybe having to have a new hole cut through the ceiling and roof and let people up into the attic and all that mess. 


I was able to wash my hair with good hot water this evening but I guess the real test will be if I have hot water tomorrow when I get up. (I hope I do. I hope it was just a "it shut off because the intake was plugged with dust" thing)

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