This weekend I celebrated the one-year anniversary of having closed on my home. I “celebrated” by standing in my basement, hands on face (at 3 and 9) and uttered completely rhetorical nonsensery as “Why is this happening?” “What are you doing?” and “What do I do?” Perhaps you would have had cake and ice cream, but I like to be different.
Fortunately, I’m a problem solver, and after about 30 seconds of staring at water spitting out of my hot water heater, I figured it was time to actually do something about it. And doing something meant calling somebody who knows anything more about hot water heaters than I do (i.e., anyone).
My friend Ben explained to me that due to having been gone for several days prior (that’s right, it’s too late to loot my house, sucka), it’s possible the temperature inside had gotten too high and that by reducing said temperature and depleting some water, I might be good. He also said that might not work, and that it’s possible I would need “the valve” replaced. Since I didn’t know what “the valve” was, and option number one cost me zero dollars and meant a long, guilt-free hot shower, I decided to try that. For good measure, I also ran some dishes in the dishwasher. The dripping ceased, I toweled up the mess, and crossed my fingers that I had completely solved the problem with minimal effort on my part and nicely smooth, shaved legs and exfoliated skin.
Why WOULDN'T it work???
My minimalist approach constantly backfires, but like every first date, I trudge ahead with hope and a glimmer in my eye expecting that something will come out of the experience. And, as with pretty much every first date, I’m just so completely dead-fucking wrong. I woke up the next morning to discover more water on my floor.
At this point, I decide to do just a little bit more. That’s right – if doin’ nuthin’ wasn’t going to work, then perhaps just a little bit more might. I actually EXAMINED the hot water heater and found the temperature dial. There were three settings: HOT, WARM and VACATION. I didn’t realize “vacation” was a temperature, but you work with what you have. The current setting read HOT, which seemed correct to my know-nothing mind. If one wants hot water, one should set hot water heater to HOT. Yep, no problems with that, nuh-unh.
But, if temperature was the problem, I decided to see what would happen using the VACATION setting. True, I was now back from vacation and consequently about a week late here, but even my water-heating-newbie brain figured this would cool the whole tank down and hopefully I’d be able to turn it back to HOT after a day or two. I then went upstairs and ran some more hot water to help the process along. “Let’s see how that works!” said I, and then I probably went to take a nap or surf the Internet or eat a brownie (which would be pretty impressive, since I have no brownies in the house) or did some other completely pointless task that didn’t involve me calling a plumber.
But, as do vacations, I was lulled into a false sense of security. The water had ceased to a mere dribble, then stopped altogether, and after another 12 hours passed, I turned the temperature back to HOT last night so that I could enjoy a hot shower before leaving for work this morning. *Cue songbirds*
So when I woke up to the gusher and sufficient puddle on my floor this morning, I finally called Mr. Rooter. Craig, the “Mr. Rooter” who serviced my area, came an hour after I phoned in my plea, and told me my tmp valve was bad. I can only assume this is the aforementioned “the valve” as referenced by my friend Ben. Apparently, the valve went bad because I had my hot water heater set to “HOT.” Shenanigans! It turns out, singles like me who don’t use a lot of hot water really don’t need to have our water heaters set to “HOT.” He replaced the valve, suggested I try the “WARM” setting, and then gradually raise the temperature if it isn’t hot enough – to a maximum of 120 degrees. Not only would I extend the life of the hot water heater, I’d not completely roach my new tmp valve this time around, and I’d realize savings on my energy bill.
Happy Anniversary, house! Please enjoy this $277 tmp valve! What's my present? Oh, um, shelter? Gee, thanks...I guess...
So now I have a new “the valve,” hot water that isn’t too hot, a few more years extension on my water heater, and a few more dollars in my pocket. My first significant expense wasn’t so bad, it turns out (yay, savings!) and I learned something new. I definitely wish I’d educated myself more about hot water heaters, though. I think it’s time for me to take Furnaces 101, Basic Home Maintenance or When Siding Goes Bad or some such. Now where is that adult-education catalog?
Oh. It’s way over there. Across the room.
Meh, I’ll just transfer another $100 to savings…