Sunday, April 01, 2018

No hot water

Yup. I had kept saying to myself, "I don't exactly hear the gas jet on the hot water heater kicking on" and for a few days I told myself that it happened when I wasn't listening. But last night, taking a shower (and washing my hair), the water cooled faster than what I would have hoped.

And now today, I could get at-best lukewarm water out of the taps.

So the thing is dead. Womp womp.

So. I decided I wanted to wash my hair again (it's a Girl Thing - am having scalp issues at the moment and I think I didn't get all the shampoo out right last night) and so I decided to see if I could put my unused 12 quart stockpot to use.

I don't use it a lot because I don't make mass quantities of food, and also, when I DID use it to make mass quantities (trying to make lasagna from scratch to feed a crowd), I discovered that cheap aluminum stockpots tend to scorch on the bottom if you overload them with starch noodles.

But I could still heat water in it, and the cheap thin bottom is actually an advantage here because it heats faster. (I used my instant-read thermometer to make sure the water didn't get TOO hot. About 105 F is comfortable, much above that is really kind of too hot).

I washed my hair in the sink. I ferried water back and forth from the stove in the Kumamon pitcher I got a few months ago in the Doki Doki crate. It worked okay, but a bigger vessel would have been better. (I had a larger fused-glass hobnail pitcher, but I thought running back and forth across the kitchen, with the floor slightly slick from spilled water, was probably not a time for using a breakable vessel).

So, I guess tomorrow I call the plumber and have him come out and do an estimate and tell me if I need any further code updates (I have all but decided to go with the tankless heater, mainly because they are supposed to last longer AND it sounds like it will require less code updating, if the plumber is right). And I am condemned to bathe with lukewarm water or "stove water" until I can get the guy out to do what it takes. (Probably next week at this point unless they still offer the "Saturday work days count like a weekday work day" like they once did - Friday is the Science Fair and that would be the only day I could mostly have someone in to work on stuff, and I am presuming this will take a bunch of time*)

(*And oh, if I still had my good TA from last year. I could just ask him: "Hey, can you handle Thursday afternoon lab" and I would know he can, but my current TA....I am not confident in them)

I did think about "I wonder if I could heat enough water to near-boiling on the stove, run it into the bathroom, and dump it in a partially-filled bathtub and have water acceptably warm enough to bathe in" and then I thought, "You ought to be able to calculate that" and first I posted it as a question on Twitter but then my stubborn side kicked in and I thought I should be able to figure it out so I looked it up: this tutorial website talks about how to do it.

I did a literal back-of-the-envelope calculation. (Literal: I wrote it out on an old envelope and yes you'd think there'd be some site you could just plug numbers in to and I suppose if I logged into Mathematica it might do that but)

Photographic proof:

I had to finish them on the back of an old bank statement, but yes, that is a back of the envelope calculation.

First I had to convert gallons to grams (which isn't perfect but given the density of water is close enough) and then figure it out. And I figure, the stockpot is 12 quarts so that's four gallons. What will four-gallons of boiling (or as darn near as I can get it and be safe) do to say, 25 gallons of 72 F water (which is about what the "cool" water out of the tap would be, I'm predicting). And doing all the other conversions (F to C, for example), I get a grand total of.....

21 degrees C.

WOMP WOMP. (That's not even worth it.)

So I tried again: Okay, 20 gallons of tub water and 6 gallons (my 12 quart stockpot PLUS my biggest saucepan) of boiling water.

25 F. Still too cold for comfort. Ugh.

I'd consider buying a stock-tank heater (my mom uses one to keep a tank of water designed to insulate the drain for the sump pump unfrozen in the winter) but there is no near-enough outlet to the tub (and I assume those things are NO BUENO to use with an extension cord). Or a solar shower, but it's supposed to be overcast/rainy all week here, and anyway, I don't want to spend $25 to have maybe three warmish showers before I get a new hot water heater (please God let it not take very long).

But yeah. (I can't shower over at school; the pool is permanently closed and so are its locker rooms, and I don't feel like braving the gang showers at the gym). And I don't have anyone nearby that I feel loves me enough to welcome me coming into their house and using the shower, so.....I guess again I grit my teeth and do the extra effort and I feel just slightly sad about the whole thing. (And OF COURSE it's supposed to be chilly and rainy this week, so I can't just make do with lukewarm showers like I do in the heat of summer when it's 110 F out)

At least my hair is clean for now. It's not TOO hard to wash in the sink (sadly, there'd be an easier solution to "no way to wash my hair" - go to one of the salons and pay for a shampoo and blow out. Though I suspect that costs more than one of those camp-shower baggie set ups (the solar shower).

(Then again: maybe I can heat up a stockpot full of water, carry it into the bathroom, jump in the tub and dump pitchers of it over me to wash. That's not ideal, but maybe if I crank the heat in the house up at least I can stay clean. I don't know how much water an average shower takes but I can take quick showers, especially if I'm not washing my hair or shaving my legs (I can do those separately) so maybe it will be OK)

But yeah. This was a very uncool April Fool's Day joke for my hot water heater to play on me.

Edited to add: I think part of my horror ("The horror! The Horror!" moan the Flower Sisters) with this is my memory of the agony of last time, of waiting on the Lowe's dude, of getting conflicting information and dealing with layers of bureaucracy AND THEN having several code updates that kept me without hot water for a time. I'm hoping this go-round will be different, and if there are any code updates, they are minimal, and I can trust these guys to complete the install once it's started.

And at any rate: heating water on the stove really isn't SO bad; it's not nearly as bad as the time some seven or so years ago when the old cast-iron pipe into the house fractured and I had NO water, and had to carry water in 5 gallon buckets from the church in order to be able to even flush.

But yeah. The logistics of things always bother me a lot, the waiting, the worrying, and on top of that the unsettledness of my house. I don't like that.

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