Sunday, November 01, 2009

Waylaid Again

Best laid plans just don't seem to work out lately. Today I intended to change out the top element of my hot water heater because it keeps tripping the breaker. I changed the bottom one recently, so my dad figured the top one would be the problem. A couple people said that since I was only changing the top one, I wouldn't have to wait for the whole hot water tank to drain; just drain it past the top one. So I said, okay, that will save some time...although I really didn't know how one would tell WHEN the water level is past the top element. So I started draining the water a while ago. I watched the hose and water was coming out. Let it go for a while, figured it was probably good, but for good measure I'd let it drain a bit longer. Okay, NOW it must be at least past the top element, right?

Wrong. I struggled a bit to get the old element loose, using a special tool and a screwdriver. I should have taken the hint then to wait a little longer. But no, I push forward, finally got it loose and a rush of water comes pouring out all over the floor and just keeps on coming.

I'm hollering for Garrison to bring me some towels and he just dumps a few dirty clothes down there for me. No, I want ALL the towels, clean ones dirty ones, it doesn't matter, just bring me some towels. But mom, we just got these folded and put away....Just bring them!

Finally I have enough towels to mop up all the water, that now has quit gushing out the hole where the top element should have stayed for at least 10 more minutes. All the insulation is wet, plus the insulation for the bottom element. So now I will have to get a blowdryer and dry all the contacts in there, and wait for the insulation to dry before I can get it all put back together and turned on. Hot water will be a good bit farther down the road today.

There are a couple lessons here for us homesteading gals on our own. First, this element can be reused. See the picture up there? Daddy said its the rust that is causing it to short out right there at the base. If I clean the rust off, I can use it again. So I'm putting that element away to use later in a pinch. The other lesson is just drain the whole darn tank. It's more time consuming to clean the mess and wait for insulation to dry than it is to wait for the water to finish draining all the way down.

1 comment:

NitWit1 said...

We just went through the draining a hot water tank to find a problem. We hated to pay for tra 40gallons, but we've had more than one leaky hot water tank.

It turned out a retired plumber friend said both thermostats needed replacing

We learn from everything, don't we?