13 May 2008

So, just to follow up...

On my latest adventure in home repair, there were... not surprisingly... a couple of flies in the ointment.

When I went to remove the lower element from the water heater... it was so badly corroded it simply cracked and butterflied... inside the tank.

This also happened the last time I did this job and I was able to brute-force it out... but this time the element actually broke off as I was reefing on it... and for a second there, I thought it was irretrievably lost inside the tank and I was into a new water heater.

Fortunately, the thin wire heating element was still intact, so I was able to reel in the corroded, splayed remnant to the access hole to grab it. The hole though is only 2 inches in diameter, which doesn't give you a whole lot of tool options.

I ended up having to head to a local retail outlet to pick up a set of needle-nose vise grips (the only robust gripper that had a chance of fitting through the small hole) and after another 40 minutes of tugging, crushing and manipulating... finally extricated the rest of the element.

The moral of the story... I suppose... is never give up.

Kinda like right here.

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8 comments:

Dave Hodson said...

Just get rid of the water heater and save yourself the trouble. If Dion get's his way, you won't be able to afford the taxes on the energy needed to heat the water anyway. You see, having things like hot water are now luxuries that damage our environment!

Neo Conservative said...

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if i throw up an outhouse, i won't need running water... or that pesky septic tank either.

we can just haul buckets of water up from the pond... and heat them on the woodstove.

and hey kiddies, remember... meat is murder.

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J said...

Thanks for the link. BTW, your links give me only slightly less traffic than Ezra Levant...

I learned not giving up from my dad. Once, we were repairing a Ski-doo's carb (remember those?), and I saw, out of the corner of my eye, something drop into the manifold. I wasn't sure, wasn't sure it was THAT important (hey, I was a kid!), but eventually told my dad.

Oh boy.

It took DAYS to find and extract that pin. We had that Ski-doo upside down in the basement (and they weren't exactly light in those days either).

Eventually, using, yep, needle-nosed pliers, out came the offending detritus.

I think the main patience he showed was not strangling me several times during this operation. But I'm grateful anyway for the lesson...

Neo Conservative said...

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"j says... But I'm grateful anyway for the lesson..."

mrs. n told me the same thing about grad school... it's not necessarily about smarts... if you're a little less, uh... gifted... you can pretty much get by on persistence.

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OMMAG said...

The moral of the story should be that once you learn that water heaters are not meant to be repaired and once you've persisted anyway ... next time buy a new one.

BTW - I repair things all the time and know appliances inside and out .... what you did is up the chances that your next failure will include a basement full of water.

Neo Conservative said...

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"OMMAG says... BTW - I repair things all the time and know appliances inside and out"

well... at 35 bucks per element vs. hundreds for a new water heater... at this particular juncture, that's a chance i'm willing to take.

the elements are burning out every couple of years, because the salt in the water softener occasionally bridges and for a period we get very hard water. i try vacumming it out when i change the element but that's a little hit and miss.

it builds up and touches the bottom element and voila.

thanks though for the insight... more data is always a good thing.

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Dave Hodson said...

I like trying to fix things too, but if my water heater goes, I'm not gonna touch it. If it was electric, maybe, but I'm not messing with a natural gas unit. I'd probably blow up the house!

Neo Conservative said...

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"dave says... I'm not messing with a natural gas unit."

yup... agree totally. gas is for the pros.

we have an electric water heater and electric furnace... to back up the woodstove we heat the house with.

toyed somewhat with the idea of getting an outside wood-fired boiler unit... that would heat the house and all our water. it'd be way cleaner... no wood inside the house, and easier... no splitting, takes 4 foot lengths... but you use way more wood.

like everything else in life... a trade-off.

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