Monday, October 15, 2007

delving deeper?

This is an albatross.......

and right now, this feels like one!

For the second (and THIRD!) time in a month, I went into the laundry room to find water all over the floor.

On Saturday afternoon, I went down to get a jar of tomatoes and found that the brand new water heater was running water out of the little pipe on its side.

This is definately NOT right.

A phone call was made, the repair man returned (on a Saturday you get the guy that OWNS the repair company), and discovered that a thing called a "pressure reducing valve" had gone out.

What, you might ask, is a pressure reducing valve? Well I certainly did. You see when we lived in California, water from the utility company to our house was all gravity fed, there was no need of pressure or reducing valves.

Not so here in our new area. The water company FORCES the water through the system so that they can get it to all the places (including all those new "build it and people will come" houses WAY out East of town). What that means is that the water from the system is at about 150 pounds of pressure, and most household appliances (washers, dishwashers, water heaters) are only built to handle about 75 pounds. Water heaters have a built in pressure release so that when the pressure gets too high, they begin to release water instead of blowing up.

Ok, so far so good -- the water heater was doing its job. The repair man replaced the valve, I cleaned up the mess, ran a load of washing (things got wet!), and felt we had things back in control.

Leave us not smirk like this guy. Things were not all as in control as thought.

On Sunday morning I went into the laundry room to pull the load of laundry from Saturday's escapade out of the dryer only to find, once again, water running out of that release valve on the water heater.

WHAT THE ?????

Back to the phone we go, only this time, I'm even more annoyed. I do not want to spend my play day Sunday dealing with plumbers and water and cleaning up!


This time the issue is related, but different. You see, water heaters are not what they used to be.

Notice that in the old "unsafe" water heaters, there was a place inside the tank for the water to expand and contract as it heated and cooled -- remember that science lesson -- water expands as it heats until it forms steam

Notice too that the new "safe" water heaters do not have that little extra space. This is part of what makes them more energy efficient (ok, I'm alright with that), but it does mean that an extra little "safety tank" sometimes needs to be installed on them in areas that have that whole forced water pressure issue.

And so it was....

The repair man was here for a couple of hours, draining, cutting, soldering.... Seems all of this weekend's issues should have been found when the original work was done back in September if the system had been properly tested by the guy that did the work. I'm thinking that he's going to be getting a ear full from the boss man today. And the guy did try to do right by the situation, gave us the regular during the week price, not the weekend premium and no extra for the service calls (I should think NOT!!).

So, in the end, the problem really does now seem to be fixed, but I still feel like echoing this guy ---- ready? SSSSCCCCCCRRRRREEEEEEAAAAAAMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

Note: the origin of the term "albatross around one's neck" is derived from the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. An albatross is an enormous sea bird (about a 92 inch wing span!!), and they are friendly, so shooting one was punished by making the sailor that did so wear its carcass around his neck .... thus the morphing in our culture of the albatross seen as an unwarrented burden.

1 comment:

Nancy G said...

Wow, lessons in hydraulic science AND etymology, all in the same post; I'm impressed! But I'm sure you haven't been...