Cold-shower time

The only thing worse that a cheap appliance breaking is an expensive appliance breaking:

Right now I am trying to figure out what to do about my stupid water heater. The water heater that came with house lasted for like 25 years before it sprung a leak and had to be replaced. I did it my self, it’s not terribly difficult. Once you drain the water out they are like an empty beer can. There are three pipes (hot water, cold water and the gas line) and the exhaust flue to connect and you are ready to go. Problems started showing up shortly thereafter and intermittently ever since. The old water heater was totally mechanical. The new one has a thin film of electronics applied over the mechanics and this is where the problem arises. Every once in a while, the tiny electronic brain would decide that one of the sensors was not operating properly and it would shut off the gas, the water would go cold and I when I discovered this betrayal I would fly into a rage. Turn the dial on the control box to Off and then wait a few minutes for the thermocouple to cool down and stop producing energetic electrons. When everything has died down, you can relight the pilot and you are back in business. So what’s wrong with the sensor? Who knows? The thing will run for another year or so before it flames out again.

Making appliances last for 25 years is clearly not in the best interest of the shareholders of appliance manufacturers. And much of the “thin film of electronics” is designed to save you about $10 worth of gas in a year, while costing you $600 when it breaks.


  1. McGehee »

    28 July 2019 · 12:57 pm

    An advantage to living in an all-electric house is that the water heater doesn’t have a pilot light. As long as the little proto-stungun in the guts still works, everything’s hunky-dory.

    Two water heaters have failed me/us, that I remember, in the last 40 years. Both were here in Georgia. One was gas-fed but I think it had electro-spark too. Both failures were of the tank and not the heating system.

    I have had to relight gas pilots in various things and it sucks. I’ll never willingly use a pilot-lit appliance ever again.

  2. Mike »

    28 July 2019 · 4:02 pm

    My water heater was 30+ years old, came with the house, and was starting to rust through in several places.Had it replaced with one of those new fangled tankless jobs, this summer when the AC died. So far so good, and it freed up about 4 sq ft of garage space, too!

  3. CGHill »

    28 July 2019 · 4:54 pm

    A definite advantage, that.

    The one that came with the house had been here 13 years already, and the rust held it together until the precise moment when it didn’t, nine years later.

  4. Fred Z »

    28 July 2019 · 6:06 pm

    Not sure you can blame the manufacturers or their shareholders. Maybe look a little harder at congresscritters passing insane “energy saving” laws which force the manufacturers to build crap.

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