Remember that post not so long ago on how homes can be ticking time bombs? Well, ours just went off and it came totally out of nowhere. Which always seems to happen w/home ownership, doesn’t it? One minute all is well, and the next you’re freakin’ out cuz $hit has hit the fan and you have no idea what the damage is gonna be by the end of it – I hate it.
And the funny thing is, the heater had been jacked up for quite a while but I didn’t even realize it! The Mrs. went looking for things in our basement last week, and the next thing I know she’s crazy upset about our water heater leaking. And I’m like, “What? No it’s not. That’s just Bob (our decrepit cat) peeing outside his litter box again – it’s fine.” “Ummmm, no. Look at that yellow line of water trickling down, and then covering the entire bottom of the cylinder! You think Bob has SUPER pee??” Haha… okay, well I made that last part up, but it would have been funny if she added that there ;)
Unfortunately though, she was right. As wives usually are. Our heater had been leaking for MONTHS, and this whole time I just chalked it up to poor Bob who took the brunt of my verbal abuse every single time I went to clean up that damn puddle. Though I could have SWORN it smelled like pee!! I guess it was just all those chemicals slowly creeping out of that thing though…. arghhh…
Anyways, we researched online to see what the possible issues were and of course freaked ourselves out even more. “It can explode, watch out!” “Don’t try and fix it yourself cuz you’ll get electrocuted!!” and so on and so on, the stories went. Now, I’m a smart man with a lot of things, but the one area I fail at miserably is being a handy man. I don’t have the natural instincts that come along with it, and I certainly don’t have the patience.
So rather than poking all around trying to find some loose bolt or easy fix that would only temporarily fix the problem (the first thought I literally had was “Just put tape on it!”), we decided to call up a pro and pay the fee to get to the heart of the problem ASAP. To which I credit my lovely wife for doing all by herself while I was blogging away in the other room telling her it was all gonna be fine ;) I like to stay positive even if I’m about to be bent over and stuck with a crazy hefty bill at the end of it. What can you really do, right? Things break!
So, the plumber comes over (btw – you call a plumber for this kinda stuff, I didn’t know that), and takes one look at it and goes, “Oh yeah, you need to replace that bad boy fast. There’s no telling when it’s gonna pop.”
Crap. Now, I know he could have been blowing smoke up my a$$ and I’d never even know it, but everything he said made a lot of sense and the heater WAS 11 years old – 5 over what the warranty even covered. And not only that, but the guy said whoever installed it back then did a piss poor job of it and all that duct tape and exposed wire should NEVER have been used on it to patch things up (see – makes sense, right??). He said the previous owners probably went to Home Depot and either did it themselves, or hired a crap subcontractor to come out and install it himself. Either way, he said it would be taking a risky bet if you continue to just let it be… even though we’d been getting away with it for months without us even realizing (scary!).
He pretty much came up with three options for us:
- Replace the entire thing, equipment and all, through their company for $1,200.
- Replace the entire thing equipment and all, through them again – but with a larger model that does the exact same thing for $1,000.
- Or go out and buy/install it ourselves for probably $500-$600 when all was said and done.
Naturally I nixed #3 right away as there was no way that was happening. And even if I DID try it and take my time, etc, etc, it would AT BEST come off the way it was before with all kinds of duct tape and weird wires hanging all over – so not a safe bet. The #1 option was tempting just cuz it would be an exact replica of the one we already had pretty much, plus some new “bladder” that was needed to help relieve pressure in the future (which ours didn’t have, and could have been the main culprit in our leaking problem), but then saving $200 was also a nice deal with option #2 – which also came with said bladder. The only difference between them was the physical shape of the unit – either short and fat, or tall and thin. And what do I care about that, as long as it fit in its designated area?
So of course we went with option #2 :) $1,000 down the drain, but at least we have a spanking new unit now which should be great for when we sell/rent out in the future! There’s now way I’m gonna be here for another 11 years, that’s for sure, haha… And a damn good thing we had an Emergency Fund set up too! Which is EXACTLY what this thing is there for, even though we hadn’t touched it in years. So we just put it back on the list of goals to fill back up, and we keep on trucking from there…
And that’s the story of our lives over the past week. It hasn’t been fun, but at least it’s over with now! And at the end of the day you can only control so much out there :) So we put it behind us and we look to brighter skies ahead. Hope y’all have been fairing better than we have lately! Feel free to leave any of your troubles below and we can all bitch and moan together ;)
PS: We also looked into tankless water heaters in our search – and asked the plumber guy about it too – but that would have been a good $4,000-$6,000 package in the end, no thanks. We’ll have to wait until we build our home from scratch one day ;) #87 on the “J. Money wish list!”
PPS: If you’re a newbie home owner like me, make sure to DRAIN your water heater once a year too to keep it healthy! We had no idea you had to do that, and it probably added to our eventual leakage. All you do is plug a hose to the spigot and let it drain out for a bit. Nothing too hardcore, but just to release buildups. A good thing to know! :)
(Photo by nffcnnr)