Wet but not hot

When I feel like pretending I’m a Mad Scientist, I tell people I have a closet totally devoted to the distribution of hot, maybe even scalding dihydrogen monoxide. Of course, if they pop open the door and see this perfectly ordinary water heater, they’re going to be disappointed, but such is life.

I got my own disappointment over the weekend, when “hot” was displaced by “tepid, if you’re lucky.” I am not lucky, at least in this regard. There are several cheap parts that go into one of these devices, and all of them were intact. However, the gas valve itself, which costs about half as much as the entire tank array, was kaput, and was replaced in a surprisingly brief session this afternoon, accompanied by the sound of money disappearing in the distance.

Upside, such as it is: while the standard “These things don’t last as long as they used to” disclaimer was issued, no indication was given that this particular thing was on its last legs. And frankly, next time around, I’m considering buying smaller, on the basis that a device of this sort ought to fit into its space, and this one, installed some time last decade, was put in sideways, with the control gizmos facing the side wall. Had I screaming kids lined up to bathe, of course, I might see things differently. Downside, apart from the expense: the unwritten law says that you set the thermostat to 120°F for Safety Reasons. I strongly suspect that no two thermostats agree on where exactly 120°F should be.

Update, next morning: The fix didn’t take, or something. I am currently in the mode best described as “You will fix this, and you will fix this now, or I will kill you and tell God you died.” Okay, maybe not quite that harsh.


  1. ms7168 »

    3 February 2016 · 8:09 am

    I hate to discourage you even more but . . my Aunt just had to get a new one a year or two ago and so she called Lowe’s and they sent someone out with one and he changed them out. It didn’t work! So he red facedly went back to Lowe’s to get another one and came back and put it in and voila! But two weeks later no hot water. Someone was dispatched and they opted to replace the entire unit rather than repair it and so far at least the third time was the charm. So steer clear of the home improvement stores at least for that necessity. My Plumber brings a tank that according to him we as mere mortals can’t even buy . . one must have a plumbers license. At least I have had good luck with them.

  2. fillyjonk »

    3 February 2016 · 8:29 am

    Hopefully the plumber will make it right? This kind of house stuff can be maddening.

  3. McGehee »

    3 February 2016 · 9:37 am

    The gas water heater at my previous residence was replaced by a Home Depot contractor, and it had no trouble whatsoever from then until we fobbed the house off on some sucker sold the place.

    Last month we had to replace the electric one in our current abode, got one 25% bigger than the bad one (because apparently a 50-gal is cheaper these days, or easier to get, than a 40, which wasn’t up to capacity for our complement of bathrooms), but this time we had our regular plumber get it and install it. So far so good, and more accountable, I think, if anything goes wrong.

  4. fillyjonk »

    3 February 2016 · 12:08 pm

    yeah, next time my hot water heater goes, I am DEFINITELY going with my regular plumber even though I will probably pay more. The last time I did it – through Lowe’s – it was a giant headache that took twice as long as it should have, because they had one guy doing it and he was overextended because he was also having to work “new construction.”

    (Apparently plumbers/electricians/etc. vastly prefer to work “new construction,” many times I’ve been told, “Sorry, can’t come out for a month, working on a new housing development” by potential workmen, which is maddening, because an empty house having no working toilet is less a problem than in a house that is occupied.)

  5. McGehee »

    3 February 2016 · 4:25 pm

    Unfortunately, working in an empty house is a lot simpler…

  6. fillyjonk »

    4 February 2016 · 7:50 am

    Yeah, I know it is. But it still was irksome to think of an empty house having everything all perfect while I was still taking cold showers (and I was getting over an upper respiratory virus at the time, too)

  7. McGehee »

    4 February 2016 · 8:21 am

    I’m pretty sure the plumber we use is such a small operation it wouldn’t be able to take on a new-construction contract. Alternatively a nationally known brand in my area ought to be big enough to support contract and unscheduled work.

    I guess in less populated parts of the country that might not be the case.

  8. McGehee »

    4 February 2016 · 8:22 am

    …I’d still rather live in a less-populated part of the country, though…

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