One of my all-time favorite episodes of Mythbusters involves proving (or disproving depending on your optimism meter that day) the myth of explosive, even dare I say, orbit-seeking rocket-like hot water heaters. Mostly I love this episode (click here to see an excerpt) because of the fantastic slow motion footage (aka high speed photography) in stunning HD (at least when I saw it ‘live’ the first time back in November 2007 on my plasma … the excerpt obviously isn’t available in HD via the web).
Having experienced the detrimental effects of water heaters gone bad, albeit vicariously through Adam and Jamie, I did not wish to be confronted with a similar circumstance erupting from our basement. Never fear, as proven by the Mythbusters, it takes quite a bit of reverse engineering and removal of multiple safety features to convert your average water heater into a Titan want-to be. Still, our old (twelve or thirteen years old as far as we can recall) water heater sprung a leak under the burner a few weeks ago, and this week began pooling water on top of the tank. Terry and I decided it had to go and called in an order for a bigger and better unit.
The plumbing contractor for Home Depot must have been strapped for work, because they wanted to install the new water heater the very next day (Tuesday the 14th, which also happened to be Valentine’s Day). Terry asked them to hold off a day, because we needed to tidy up the basement and deal with some minor electrical wiring projects we’d been putting off for months. I asked my father, my favorite electrician, if he could spare a couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon to help Terry complete those projects. He agreed readily. By the time I got home Tuesday evening, they were finished in the basement. Dad stayed for a steak dinner (with a side of freshly sauteed asparagus).
Terry called me the next day before noon to let me know the new water heater, expansion tank (required by city ordinance) and a pressure regulator had been installed and everything looked and worked great. When I got home that night, I had less water pressure (previously, I had over 100 psi, but with the new pressure regulator, it throttled back the pressure inside the house to less than 80 psi) but more hot water. I grabbed my camera (something I forgot to do when Dad was on site on Tuesday) and took the requisite ‘after’ photos of the newly installed equipment. I had to dig way back in my photo albums to find a ‘before’ photo of the old water heater, taken in December 2010, when we installed the new furnace and air conditioning units.
Terry and I hope this is the last (and really there’s nothing left to replace) large appliance or utility expense we make in this house. Especially since we opted to buy a water heater with a twelve year warranty. We are both looking forward to years of worry-free non-explosive hot water.