December 10, 2009

Household Emergency Plumbing.

I got a hurried call just before lunch. Trevor, who has finished finals, was distressed by the accumulation of water on the floor of the kitchen. This prompted me to sally forth with all due haste.

In our kitchen is a water heater. It sits politely in the corner, happily heating the water for the household. My best guesstimate says it has been doing this since the early 1970's. Today a hole manifested allowing a stream of hot water to spray. My pop supervised my installation of a cut off valve after the meter on our homes water main. The weather has been freezing cold. So the handy cover would not come free without persuasion. Trevor was busy as a beaver creating a barrier of rags against the tide. I grabbed some tools, opened the cover and shut off the water.

Next was mopping up and moving appliances. Then the fun part, removing the water heater and restoring water flow. As far as hot water goes, there was not an issue. This heater is the old heater. Under the house is a gas water heater. I was just to lazy to deal with the old heater and the aftermath involved.

I puzzle boxed the front cover and lid and found a relief valve. I had Trevor grab a garden hose, then the other hose that was not frozen solid. I started draining the tank and removed the connections. Sometime around this point I hit a patch of ice in the patio and went down hard. I fall pretty well and was back up and cursing in no time at all.

It was taking forever to drain and I was having a tough time figuring out why. I walked the line looking for kinks only to find there was a rotating sprinkler still attached to the other end. Trevor remove the sprinkler at my gentle suggestion that most of the neighborhood heard.

All of my life I have had access to pipes and plumbing knowledge. My Pop is the plumber having a knowledge set that is second to none. So I know my way around the craft. With the tank empty it was time to brute force the heater outside. A quick clean-up and then under the house to remove the wiring and to bypass the heater so I can turn on the water.

The holes in the floor indicated this Water Heater was the second one installed. The panel showed 1972 as the date of manufacture. When it was installed the plumber did it the easy way. bendable copper that was Tee'd and nippled into the existing lines. He did put in a cut off valve. So half the job was easy. Turn the valve and remove that pipe. Upstairs Trevor cut the copper and we removed that pipe. I secured the electrical and went to work on the second pipe. It was really stuck on there and through an impressive display of contortion and upper body strength I got the pipe free. Using the end of the pipe as a guide, I drove to the hardware store for the appropriate plug.

The plug went into place and I cinched it down good and snug. Trevor turned on the house water as I watched. The valve was fine, the plug leaked! As I carefully looked for the source of the dripping water. It became apparent that the first of three tee's was the culprit. It resisted my attempts to tighten.

The drips continued and I contemplated how bad could it possibly be if I left it like this. From the back of my mind my Pops voice told me to do it right. With a sigh I removed the plug then the various tee's finally back it off to the final. The plug went in and it tested out fine!

Back in the kitchen we finished cleaning and I slid one of the more modular cabinets to fill the void. It fit okay. Not sure about the over all look. Maybe the kitchen re-do is going to be sooner then later.

1 comment:

Tina said...

The truth comes out. I married you because of your fantastic wit, superb intelligence & your plumbing prowess.

Well, there are actually a lot more reasons, but the plumbing one sure came in handy today!