Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Woes", part 2

   Thanks for the kind thoughts Fuji. All is good, and getting better. Went by my folks house last night to get my mom's winter clothes down out of the attic for her. My dad, though not out of the woods per say, is looking a lot more chipper.

   Back to last Thursday, the trip to the post office out of the way, my shirt exchanged, and making sure my parents didn't need anything at the hospital. I head home to relax, maybe put this day behind me, call my sisters and update them on dad, and feed my girls dinner.

   I manage to pull in my driveway about 15 minutes ahead of my wife. Check the mailbox, cool, a bright spot, or should I say brown, as in bubbler!!

   Yay, my group break stuff has arrived from Ryan's 2nd attempt. But wait, what's that? up by the front door? a little brown box?

   Now what has my wife ordered? No, it's addressed to me?! What the hell did I order? Nope, it hits me, that's the first package I'm expecting from the Party Animals company! You know, the makers of the Lil' Teammates sports figures. Too cool, a nice surprise for a semi-dreary afternoon!

   Pop into the house, let the girls out, fix their bowls, get them fed and good to go right before the wife get's home. She walks in, and heads for the back of the house to change. Wow, she must have had a rough day as well? Then I hear, "What the ...!!, Why is the bathroom floor wet?" Yep, water heater is busted and half flooded the laundry room and bathroom!!

   Okey dokey, brief moment of panic before my mechanical mind kicks into gear... Shut the inlet valve off... no more water going in... quick trip outside to the utility shed, cut the breaker off... water heater still has power??!! fricking previous homeowner moron labeled all the breakers, WRONG! OK, no problem, big ticket items in the house have dual breakers, first set wasn't it, second set... dryer's out now!! 3rd set?? there we go, that's the ticket! Apparently, they re-did some of the breakers when they built the stand alone garage out back, breaker 3, labeled "water" now needs to be labeled, "garage"!

   OK, things are safe, water has stopped leaking from the heater. Couple quick measurements  assessment of the piping to the heater and we are off to home depot to buy a new water heater. Buy the heater with the same dimensions as the old, buy a pan to put under it, buy the fittings I think I'm going to have to replace to get the new heater in, and we are headed back home.

   At home, pop a hose on the drain, then get the torch going, pop three joints loose, unscrew the inlet, outlet, and relief fittings and have the old water heater laying out by the curb inside of 20 minutes for the trash morning scavengers to come get. And that, promptly, is where the easy shit ended!

    We are now about 15 minutes past closing time for the home improvement stores, and my dumb ass should have bought more fittings then I needed, cause even though the old heater and new heater are the same dimensions, the pipes are off just far enough that nothing will go back in the way it came out! I spent another 3+ hours fighting with it before giving up for the night in utter frustration!

   Get out the laptop, send an email to the boss, I'm not coming in tomorrow, I'm "Joe the Plumber" for the day!

   Head to bed, up bright and early Friday morning, HD opens a 6, we are there at 6:30. Buy more than enough elbows, couplings, tubing, and other fittings that I should be able to get this thing done. stop by Starbucks, then head home for more battle! get things sized up, few more measurements, cut out a bit more pipe, get the new run sized up, fluxed, and ready for soldering. Ten minutes later, everything is soldered, ready for the leak test, go to open the valve, and the stem just keeps turning with little or no tension at all!! GREAT, should have bought a new valve while I was at it!! All right, the wife packs up everything we didn't use while I cut off the main water to the house so I can cut the old valve out, and we are off, headed back to HD for a new valve. She returns the stuff we didn't need while I go find the valve. Back home, 10 minutes later, new valve in, cut the water back on, open the valve, water immediately starts leaking out of the bonnet on the valve, no problem, quick turn with a wrench and water stops leaking from the bonnet, and starts leaking from the stem!! Another quick turn tightens the stem packing. By this time, the new heater is full and now leaking at both the inlet and outlet pipes!

   Crap, drain the tank down enough to empty the inlet/outlet pipes, un-solder the elbow joints so I can tighten the fittings. My wife convinces me they are tight and is afraid I might break them, so I re-solder the elbows, cut the water on. Cool inlet side, no leaks, outlet side, still leaking!! No problem, un-solder the elbow, and proceed to crank that puppy down until I can't physically turn it any more. Re-solder the elbow, cut the water on, and watch water begin spraying from the other side of the elbow joint!! REALLY??

   No problem, let's just replace that elbow and all will be good. Right? WRONG!! we took all the elbows back when we got the valve!! OK, ask the wife to run to the local hardware store (in my neighborhood), get me one elbow and I'll have this ready when you get back...

   Butter that one up, quick solder it in place, and... YAY!!! no leaks. Wire it up, cut the breaker on and... why am I hungry? why do I feel as though I haven't eaten in days? It's 3:30!! no wonder! Let's go eat and we should have hot water when we get back home.

next, the conlusion...
thanks for reading.
Have a GReat day!


Fuji said...

Wow... I sure hope there's a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of this story.

Nice job on replacing the water heater. I have zero "man skills" and probably would have cried if I came home and saw my house flooded.

Jeff Wilk said...

I have helped replace a couple of those, but I am glad a know a plumber cuz I can't sweat a pipe.

Ryan H said...

I've had several of these homeowner nightmares before. I think we spend more time going back and forth to HD or Lowes to get the things we need instead of actually working on the problems! At least if I have a plumbing problem, I know of a guy who's within driving distance (hint, hint..). I'm waiting for the gripping conclusion of Dawgbones vs the world.