Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Repair or replace...?

In view of the experience I had today replacing a water heater (rather than repairing it), I thought this old post, lost in draft limbo from 2 years ago, offered a countervailing perspective.

from July 2011:
The kitchen range in the cottage is getting it's age on. I'm not sure how old it is, but the best cook in the house told me there will be no more baking done in that oven until it's either repaired or replaced. No idea why it was me being told that, but I got motivated. Seems the door hinges were so old and rusty

 that we couldn't get the oven door opened to insert cakes, cookies, pies, etc. and once it was opened and the cakes cookies and pies were inserted, the door didn't close properly to allow for proper cooking temperature inside. A real energy waster. And the handle was about to fall off from it being so hard to open.
So we started shopping for ovens. Not fun. After several weeks and several trips to appliance outlets we had nearly settled on a replacement. But then we stumbled upon the website of the manufacturer of the existing range, and they supply parts. So a quick phone call resulted in the ordering of new hinges at about 1% the cost of a new range.
I hate throwing things like ranges into the scrap bin. So much technology and development, so much mileage left on most of the product, if I can simply replace a part or two and get another several years of productive use, I think this is a good thing.
Update 5-15-2013: The oven is still going strong, and a whole lotta bakin' been goin' on.

Replacing the 17 year old water heater...

The note penned on the side of the water heater said "installed 4-25-96".

When we arrived in 2006 it was already 10 years old, a decent life expectancy for a water heater having had minimal maintenance, heating hard, mineral-laden water and sitting within seasalt-spray of the Pacific Ocean.
But it was still working, so, after draining it and refilling and replacing the feed & supply connectors, I wrapped it in an additional insulating jacket and let it do its thing, for 7 more years.
In 2009, when my apprentice had both ears and hearing.
Until this morning.
The floor being wet, I investigated and found the TOP of the tank leaking, the insulation & cavity between the inner tank & outer tank cover saturated.
With guests arriving tomorrow, the prospect of the possibility of a catastrophic tank failure loomed in my anticipation of the coming weekend.
I called my plumber, Peninsula Hydronics Inc., just to get on their radar for a replacement when they could squeeze it in maybe next week.
After getting the gist of my plight, Lisa, who works the phones & calendars for PHI, said she'd call me back. Ten minutes later she did, and offered to send out 2 plumbers with a replacement water heater after they finished their lunch.

I hooked up a hose, turned off the gas and started draining the old WH.
The boiler room where the WH sits is the furthest possible distance from the driveway, and it took 3 men to navigate the 80 gallon unit down rocky paths and several stone stairways and through a door 1/4" wider than the heater.
4 hours later, we have a gleaming new water heater,
and the floor is starting to dry out.

Thanks, Peninsula Hydronics!