Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

Recently, we discovered that our 15 year old dishwasher is beginning to leak. We put a towel under it, continue to run it once a day, and purchased a new dishwasher that is sitting in the dining room in the box waiting to be installed. Why is it waiting to be installed? Because the shut-off valve to the dishwasher hasn't been used in 15 years and is frozen shut and needs to be replaced first. Of course, Steve wants to do this himself -- it's not that hard a job and a plumber will charge a fortune. He needs a new tool for the job, though....

In the meantime... I was out to dinner with some friends a couple of weeks ago and mentioned how we were thinking about a new type of water heater because ours is 15 years old and it's rated for about 10 years. I was promptly chastised by my friends for living with the old water heater on borrowed time. This is a disaster waiting to happen! Well, a couple of days before Christmas we discovered that there's a small leak in our water heater. So now Steve is scrambling to figure out what new water heater we will and can get before this one completely blows. (We'd like to get a super-efficient one -- even if the cost doesn't justify the payback, we feel that someone needs to start creating demand for environmentally friendly products or they'll never become commonplace!) But getting plumbers to call back, give quotes, and find non-standard water heaters during the holidays is frustrating, to say the least.

So, every night before we go to bed and any time we go out of the house for an extended period of time, we shut off the water supply to the water heater. (If it does fail, the most that would get on the floor is what's in the tank.) Oh, and we used to run the dishwasher every night when we went to bed because the old one is so noisy. But I don't want to run it without hot water... so I'm constantly looking for a time when I can run it and it's thrown off our dish usage habits!

I sure hope that the water heater doesn't fail next week when Steve's away! There's a plumber coming Monday, just to see if it's possible to install a direct-vent water heater. Then it could be 3 more weeks before we could get our hands on one of these models. Cross your fingers, everyone!


Susan Z said...

I've heard good things about tankless hot water heaters. They need venting but the people I know who have them have their mounted outside. It is supposed to heat water only when you need it instead of having to keep a whole tank hot.

Ann in NJ said...

I don't know if you'd be able to have it outside in your climate, but I think a tankless is worth a little research, at least. And if your current water heater is vented, I wouldn't think that a vent would be a problem.

Make sure you get one big enough for your future needs - ours just barely holds enough to fill up my big tub.

Jill in MA said...

We were originally looking at a tankless, but now Steve's looking at tanked heaters, just more efficient ones. We were worried about the tankless keeping up with demand, especially after the mineral deposits start to form from our water here. He did some conservative calculations figuring teenagers, long showers, all in the morning and we're planning on a BIG tank.

Hopefully we'll get what we want!

ooolia said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. We have two hot water heater tanks that are installed inline. I think it's primarily because of space considerations, but the first is set as a preheater for the second tank.