Saturday, April 28, 2012

For The Ladies Who Want to Know What Us Guys Go Through With Maintaining Houses

The old water heater started leaking from its tank somewhere.

Got the old sucka out, new one in.  New one going in was much easier than old one out. Story follows.

As the project began, I put a hose on the bottom spigot of the old one to drain it.

Opened the valve, nothing but a trickle. Seems the tank had a few inches of sediment in it!  Like trying to drain water through a rock-like structure.  Probably take a million years.

(The old one needs to come out Today because this weekend is 'big trash day' for our township and tomorrow being the last day.  My wife picked up on this and lovingly informed me of such detail that might go, probably would go missed by a neanderthal like myself, that it would be awfully nice to get the old water heater out and off to the large trash collection so it wouldn't sit around on the front porch with the damp sofa we got out there that has a great view of the 2 cars up on blocks in the front yard.... (kidding eh))

After pondering the fact that draining it like this would probably take about a Month, and we also don't want to be without hot water for a month, I come up with the idea of putting some tubing down the top inlet or outlet, which are now open since I've cut the plumbing connections and siphon the water out of the top.  What a delayed genius I am.

So, I go to Home Depot and buy a 20 foot length of clear 5/16's inside diameter tubing.  Bring it home, put one end into the top of the water heater outlet fitting, Extremely Happy that it is just small enough to fit, (as if I wanted to return this tubing for some thinner tubing..) and suck on it to begin the siphon process.  It's a pretty large inside diameter, not like fish tank air hose tubing, and to draw the water up out of the unit, I've got to expel all of my air and make a Huge Sucking event, (large but not quite as large as how much oblabber sucks).  The water siphons up and out, and I get enough water that its weight is enough to maintain the siphoning action !  Yahoo !  My wife will be Impressed !  Well, not really.

I watch the water flow up and out of the tank down the tubing and into an outside drain pipe conveniently designed and installed into the basement floor and not too damn far from the water heater.
The water is flowing! Oh yes.  I now know that the tank will surrender all the water it possibly can now in about an hour or two.


So, now I begin unpacking the New water heater I picked up at Lowes, loading it by myself onto a flat car because no one is around.  (Lowes has Whirlpool and Home Depot, who have people that almost seem to follow you around asking constantly if you need help, has GE. and I don't like GE. Yea, it's almost Zen how there never seems to be someone in the aisles at Lowes to be of assistance, least Not the one you're in,  Once you get to the register, things are much better.  The happy friendly checkout girl even surmised I might need help loading this sucker in my van and called for a coupla young studs to come take care a that for me.  Which they did and didn't accept a tip either. Not allowed.)

Anyway, because I couldn't easily find the Sharkbite hoses to attach the new water to the inlet and outlet plumbing at Lowes, I packed up and headed to Home Depot for the rest of the bits and bobs I needed because I'd had enough of self serve at Lowes.  At Home Depot, I asked a guy who insisted on helping me, if he had a junction box and about 4 feet of numba 10 wire to attach a new water heater I just bought, that I suspect came with not enough wire to connect to the 240 volt junction box on the wall.  He said Dude, you don't need a junction box, you only need the wire.  Just connect the new wire at whatever length you need in place of the girlyman short piece of wire the water heater came with and forget the junction box, that's just one more link in the chain that can break that you won't have to worry about (guy talk).  I said, Dude, that's a righteous idea. Thank you and bought a 10 feet coil of Numba 10 guage three wire insulated wire.

I arrive at home, and with a wife who is able to assist me and does, unload the new 132 lb water heater from my van and haul it downstairs to the basement.

I start unpacking the new water heater while the old one is now draining at a rate faster than how old the universe is, and I see these - what appear to be - awfully thin electrical wires that power the new sucker.  Hmmmmmmm.  I open the installation manual and I immediately see it is talking about installation of 110 volt or alternately 240 volt Installation-depending on which model you bought (I need 240).   I think. Good God! I've bought a 110 volt version and now after I've mutilated the box the sucker came in, I may have to load it back in the van (with wife's help and disappointing looks), haul it back to Lowes and get the 240 volt version !  Without Any Help From the Lowes People Doing God Knows What Milling Around In The Store. !!!

Have mercy.

I begin scanning the carton for information about the water heater I actually purchased, brought home, unloaded, transported down to the basement, opened, and now am stressing a tiny bit, and on the label of this unit, which has its model number, serial, etc, it also says that it is a 240 volt unit.  Thank You !  Thank You!   Geeezix.  One down who knows how many to go.

Now that I know I have the correct voltage water heater, I start scoping out connections, wiring, installation guides, the whole shooting match. I find I can move the wiring from the old heater to the new one.  Which I do fairly uneventfully.  Cool.  Now I attach the copper tubes with fittings from the old water heater to the top of the new heater using Teflon tape but of course Monsieur or Mademoiselle. Oh yes, things are progressing 'normally' now.

As I toil with getting as much of the connection stuff on the new heater ready, I notice the old heater has now finished draining using the siphon method.  I rock it back and forth and note that the sucka is still Very heavy,  probably 250 lbs.. Geez.  Somehow I - We need to haul this thing out of the basement and get it into my little trailer so I can haul it to the big trash event that you go to rather than them coming to you...

I get the new heater in place, connected to the water, connected to the electrical, but with the circuit breaker still Off because you don't want electricity going to a heater that doesn't have water in it yet, lest you burn out the heating elements, I turn the valve to allow water to flow into the new heater.  Yes, it's not leaking as yet anyway.  I go upstairs and turn on the hot side of a faucet so air can escape and allow water to take its place in the tank and the plumbing lines, and I hear the air escaping.  Gonna take a while to replace 50 gallons of air with water.  I hop on the computer and visit some of my favorite blogs.

After several minutes, I hear air being pushed out of the faucet being replaced by water flowing.  The installation guide says don't get all juiced up when you first hear the water, wait 3 minutes to be sure ALL the air is out.  Ok.  3 minutes passes.  I turn off the water, go downstairs and jostle the new heater.  Yep, feel like it's got 50 gal of water in it.  Head back upstairs and flip the circuit breaker to On.

Go back downstairs and make sure sparks aren't flying out of the wall or the new heater. Nope. Cool.

A'ight, new one seemingly working, old one downstairs begging to be taken to some final resting place in landfill-land.

Problem is, this sucker is Heavy.  Almost all the water is out but I'm guessing several inches of the bottom of the tank are filled with sand like particles called 'Sediment'. 125 lbs or so of it, making the thing weigh, again, about 250 lbs.  Well, I was about done for the day but wife says, You know it's gonna rain tomorrow, why don't we get this old one out and into the trailer for the last day of trash day.  Yea, that's a Great Idea!  Actually it is.  So, we got two ways to go.  15 steps on a dolly up into and through the kitchen and out the back door, or out the 'out door' of the basement, then through 300 feet of back yard to get to the trailer.  The UP part of this is the most daunting so we opt for the 4 steps out of the basement than the 15 and out the back door.  Good thing.  With wife pulling on the dolly handle and me pushing the bottom of the water heater,we manage to get it up ONE STEP before encountering a water heater on dolly can't go any more steps without superman showing up to help dilemma.  We change places.  I see that she is actually able to move the heater, while I can't move the dolly. It's a physics thing.
So, I decide, we will just both get below the heater and push that sucker right up the dolly and out of the basement out door opening.  We do that. Dang.

We put the bastard water heater, now laying in the back yard back on the dolly and begin the 300 foot trek around the fenced swimming pool area to the asphalted parking area where the trailer is.  We stop several times and breathe.  We finally get the sucker to the area where the trailer is and wife says, why don't you hook up the trailer to the van, because it's gonna be raining tomorrow and you're not gonna want to hook it up in the rain.  Another stellar Idea. Seriously.  So, the trailer is backed up to the pool fence, and I gotta move it so I can pop the bastard heater into the trailer.  The trailer is chained to the fence.  I normally keep the key in the cup holder in my center console because if I need to lock or unlock the trailer chain, it's because I'm moving it or dropping it and the van is Always going to be part of that process. I go into the garage to get the key and no key.  Good Lord... I look all the other places where it might be, and no luck.  I bring flashlight out to van and start looking in all the areas around the console where the key might have escaped to.  Wife is looking through the console, where the CD's and stuff are and where I KNOW the key can't possibly be and Finds the key.  Good wife!  Good wife.

Unlock the trailer.  Attach trailer to van.  Move van and trailer away from fence so bastard heater can be forced into trailer.  Force bastard heater into trailer.  Close windows on van and lock van,  Come inside.  Breathe a sigh of relief that all I have to do tomorrow is drive bastard heater to big trash collection location about a mile away and say "Take this thing please, and don't try to lift it because it's too damn heavy.  Use some equipment". Then back home and on to the next adventure.

Update: Water heater dropped off at trash center.  It's been raining hard all day.  It stopped for about 5 minutes when I got out of the van to untie the heater from the trailer (bungee cords) That was nice.  Otherwise it is cold, very wet and extremely miserable.  If we had waited until today to get the heater loaded up, it probably wouldn't have happened.  I doubt the dolly would be able to go through the yard without having its wheels sink to the axle.  Thank you again Mrs Kid !  :)


  1. Kid,

    Been there, done that and those things are damned heavy. I was not married at the time of my first hot water tank ordeal but thank God for a very good friend in that regard.

    God Bless Mrs. Kid! (And tell her I said so!)

    We share a common trait in women as the one who chose to accept my proposal of marriage sounds very similar in common sense and stick-to-it attitude.

    To me this real event you relay in words was not only about what your title suggests but rather about love between two people.

    A real marriage IMHO is about two becoming one without even trying to as it just happens naturally and your post shows this clearly.

    Being I have worked at the same chore and know it is not easy and often frustrating I would bet, change that, I know you two had plenty of laughs throughout (aside from the justified expletive's).

    1. Christopher, Mrs Kid just read your comment and says Thanks and also that she is the one with the common sense ;-)

      I appreciate your comments and you certainly nailed it.

  2. Hey kid - been there and done that!

    1. DeanO, Makes you appreciate the plumbers, that's for sure. We're sure going to keep this one free of sediment.

  3. Yeah, ya gotta drain them every now and then to get the sediment out. Of course I never do either.
    We're remodeling the kitchen/dining room and the Italian Princess is right there with me. And yeah, oodles of common sense. Likw you, I wouldn't trade her for the world.

    As I get older I notice that I make more mistakes when I'm framing - pisses me off no end. Spent the day scrubbing what used to be exterior porch brick walls so they can be nice interior diningroom brick walls. I hate scrub brushes.

    1. Scrubbing bricks... Sig, I wouldn't trade ya on that job.

      And yep, getting old has been occurring to me also. Like asking myself what the hell I did That for. :)

  4. Thank God for her brains and your strong Back. I also praise you guys for doing it yourself.

    1. In the end Admiral, an accomplishment is an accomplishment and therefore happiness is achieved upon successful completion. I wonder what's next around here. Hopefully a wood working project. I like those.

  5. Loved having you on the page today, Kid. You're welcome anytime to talk some sense into close-minded, ear-holding Liberals on my page. lol

    1. NDH, Those people are seriously nuts if they believe what they're sellin.

      And Thanks.

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you for saying so Dave. :) That's my intention.

  7. Kid:

    My hot water heater started leaking, too, maybe a month ago. My story is a bit different (and much shorter) than yours: I called a guy to deal with it, he showed up and dealt with it. He sent me an invoice. I paid it. And everybody lived happily ever after.

    The end.

    1. Fredd, One of these days, I'm gonna say I'm Too Old For This ! But not quite yet.

  8. Fredd, that's what happens when you don't have Mrs. Kidd! :-)

  9. good on you for giving well deserved appreciation to your good wife-
    she is a true - think ahead - individual-!!!
    glad that you & she still can deal with heavy weights- and installation situations!!

    1. Carol-CS, Credit where credit is due. :) Plus I probably got 15 points which lasted a few seconds or so !

  10. Z: Mrs. Fredd was 100% onboard with giving the 'guy' a call. I'm pretty handy myself, don't get me wrong, but there are times when you should just leave things to the professionals. There's a reason why they get the big bucks.