Wednesday, 28 June 2017

07:52 – It was 50.0F (10C) when I took Colin out at 0620, sunny and calm. Barbara is driving over to West Jefferson this morning to meet two friends from Winston and spend the day walking around town.

Anyone who owns a home knows that if it’s not one thing it’s another. Barbara noticed some water around the base of the water heater. This house is about 10 years old. Water heaters have a service life of 10 to 15 years, and the well water up here is pretty corrosive. So my guess is that we’ll need to replace the water heater. I’ll call Shaw Brothers this morning to see if we can get Herschel out to look at it.

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37 Responses to Wednesday, 28 June 2017

  1. brad says:

    What wears out in a water heater? The heating components are replaceable. The tank is just a chunk of metal, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be made to last basically forever. To answer my own question: I expect it’s intentional on the part of the manufacturers.

    I ask, because I keep expecting our water heater to fail. It was old when we bought the house 17 years ago. Every few years, we have a plumber come to shovel out all the accumulated stuff that come out of our (very hard) water. But it just sits there and chugs along.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I think it’s a question of the inner tank corroding and getting scale build-up. We had to replace our water heater in Winston once. I think it was original with the house, from 1968 or 1969, so it was almost 20 years old when we bought the house. But Winston city water was extraordinarily soft, so water heaters tended to last a long time. We replaced that one with a US-made model, which was made by the last US manufacturer that was still in business. I suspect they probably went out of business 15 years ago or more.

    Our water is mineral-heavy, particularly nickel, and tends to corrode anything.

  3. dkreck says:

    Yet the tanks are glass lined – enameled on the inside. Expansion and contraction probably makes that fail.

  4. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] here’s no reason it shouldn’t be made to last basically forever. [snip]
    It would be entirely possible to make a water heater tank from high quality stainless steel, and it would last forever +/-. However, it would be very expensive, and doing so would eventually reduce the market for new water heaters.

  5. nick flandrey says:

    don’t know about the electrics, but the gas ones get HOT. The heat eventually changes the metal and they corrode, erode, and fail. LOT of mechanical stresses as the stuff heats and cools. Any little crack is gonna grow under those conditions.

    Ours was due for replacement when we bought the house. 9 years later, it’s still working. Hard to decide if we want to go with instant, or another tank, or a combination. I no longer consider a hot water heater as a backup storage. The water gets contaminated before you know there is a problem, most houses here have them in the attic, so they drain if there is a problem, and I’d rather have an intentional act (storing water) than rely on passive…

    n

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Jay Shaw just stopped by to look at it. It’s not the tank leaking, but one of the pipes coming out the top of it. Herschel is stopping out sometime today to fix it.

  7. Harold says:

    Here in the Memphis area it has been an unusually “cool” summer so far. We have not had temps over 90f to date and humidity has been mostly in the comfortable range. Going into July, we expect to see 90f but in the past we have already had 90f+ days by July 1st.
    Worst summer I ever had (in the US) was the summer of 1998 in Oklahoma. We had 30+ days of over 100f. I was commuting 60 miles (each way) in a non air-conditioned car. Air-conditioning at the house froze up several times that summer. I HATE HEAT.
    Then we moved to the UK at the end of 1998, loved the cool, wet, overcast weather compared to Oklahoma. Later transferred to Hong Kong and it’s 10+ months of 88f temps and 88% humidity where I learned to HATE WET HEAT.
    Company went bankrupt so we washed up in New Zealand … BEST CLIMATE EVER. Most homes on the North Island have no heating other than a fireplace if that and no air conditioning because all you need on a “hot” day is a fan.
    Then I lost my mind and returned to the US, ending up in Memphis. Sigh.

  8. Ray Thompson says:

    Then I lost my mind

    You think that makes you special?

    ending up in Memphis

    Never mind, you win.

  9. Greg Norton says:

    Anyone who owns a home knows that if it’s not one thing it’s another. Barbara noticed some water around the base of the water heater. This house is about 10 years old. Water heaters have a service life of 10 to 15 years, and the well water up here is pretty corrosive.

    Hopefully, the water heater is in the garage or unfinished area of the basement. If not, make sure it is in a pan. Talk to the plumber when they are out to make sure you are good in the event of a failure.

    Contrary to popular belief, the water heater rarely blows up, but the tank failure usually manifests as a big leak.

    In Florida, our water heater was in the garage, and, when it failed, the situation was simply inconvenient. The garage floor even sloped in such a way that the leaking water ran out the front of the garage, under the door, in a narrow stream.

  10. Harold says:

    Our Water Heater is in the attic. On a pan 2 inches deep with drainage.
    It was new when we bought the home so it’s around 10 years old now.
    If I were building I’d go for hot-water-on-demand systems like we had in HK & NZ.
    Homes in the London area have “boiler tanks” in the attic as mandated by a regulation put in when they were expecting Napoleon to invade and wanted home water pressure to help fight fires.

  11. CowboySlim says:

    “In Florida, our water heater was in the garage, and, when it failed, the situation was simply inconvenient. The garage floor even sloped in such a way that the leaking water ran out the front of the garage, under the door, in a narrow stream.”

    Same here, in garage….2 failures in 50 years but no calamity….water down driveway to gutter and out to sea.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Ours is in the unfinished area of the basement. I’d rather they’d installed it in the garage, but it’s okay where it is.

  13. Ray Thompson says:

    Our water heater is in the garage. Biggest issue is it takes longer to get hot water in the kitchen sink and the basement bathroom. Not the original water heater as first one leaked, small leak and not a gusher. This heater, from Sears, is going on 20 years old. I expect tank failure any time. I have replaced the upper and lower thermostat along with the high temperature cutout. Water will just run out the garage if the tank does fail. I would like to convert to gas but location is a problem as there is no where to run the exhaust flue. Next unit I may consider an electric on-demand heater.

  14. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    We have a circulator pump so it takes about 15 seconds from turning on the tap to hot water arriving.

  15. Miles_Teg says:

    The electric water heater in my house in Canberra (very soft water) lasted 25 years. In 2002 something broke and it had to be replaced. The gas water heater here in Adelaide is 18 years old and still going. The plumber tells me to scout out an instant system now for when the current system breaks.

  16. lynn says:

    Anyone who owns a home knows that if it’s not one thing it’s another. Barbara noticed some water around the base of the water heater. This house is about 10 years old. Water heaters have a service life of 10 to 15 years, and the well water up here is pretty corrosive. So my guess is that we’ll need to replace the water heater. I’ll call Shaw Brothers this morning to see if we can get Herschel out to look at it.

    Man, we live in such a rich society nowadays. Most people are fat from the cheap food in excess. We cool or heat the air in our homes and businesses to make it comfortable. And we heat the water to make it comfortable. Our automatons are busy for us.

    And, I dislike instant water heaters. I don’t like computers in the attic, too dadgum hot here in Texas.

  17. JimL says:

    I remember running the steam gennie to heat up the water bladder on top of two connex boxes for the showers. Before that it was “solar” showers – water never got warm enough to take off the chill.

    Makes me appreciate the modern conveniences.

  18. Harold says:

    My wife remembers living with her grandparents in rural Atoka Co. OK and her grandmother heating bath water on the wood stove. It went into the big tin tub on the porch and all the kids took turns bathing, oldest first. But first they had to haul the water from the spring.

    The log cabin she lived in is now on display as a “Pioneer Cabin” in the Atoka OK city park, minus the lean-to add on built in the 40’s and used as sleeping quarters for the grandchildren. The add-on wasn’t insulated and wife remembers waking up in winter with her shoes sometimes frozen to the floor. Pioneer life lasted well into the middle of the last century in some areas.

    I worked for an IT manager in the 80’s in Arkansas who had quit his job in Arizona to move the family to Arkansas and teach them to appreciate modern conveniences. He bought a house on 80 acres with no plumbing or electricity. After two years he put in plumbing, two years later, electricity. When I left work there they still didn’t have TV.

  19. Ray Thompson says:

    We have a circulator pump so it takes about 15 seconds from turning on the tap to hot water arriving

    It only takes 15 seconds to get hot water on the farthest faucet in my house with no circulation pump. With such a pump installed I would expect hot water to available within 1 second if the circulation is done properly. In my opinion your circulation pump is not working or the route of the circulation is poorly done.

    Unless I am missing sarcasm in which case, never mind.

    One thing I noticed in Europe is their water is hot, as in hot enough to burn you. None of this 120f to 130f in the U.S. Probably closer to 160f as I almost burned my hand in the hotel in Oslo. Painful until I got cold water running over my hand to cool the hand off.

  20. Greg Norton says:

    I worked for an IT manager in the 80’s in Arkansas who had quit his job in Arizona to move the family to Arkansas and teach them to appreciate modern conveniences.

    Every manager I’ve ever worked for in IT had something strange going on in his/her head. I’ve heard crazy anti-Semitism from more than one, and my direct report at Death Star Telephone gave us a lecture one afternoon that I titled, “They Will Let You Have One Arson”.

    OTOH, I’m starting to understand the appeal of life without cable. My new attic antenna pulls in 55 channels pointing south. The old antenna will become the “north” feed.

  21. Dave Hardy says:

    “Every manager I’ve ever worked for in IT had something strange going on in their head.”

    Let me get a big AMEN on that! Esp. the female IT manglers; two of them I worked for were definite psychopaths. One drank about thirty cups of coffee per day and had been an office space designer so why not put her in charge of a huge data center? Another was a major ham planet addicted to Excel pivot tables.

    Great-grandmother has dumped her cable tee-vee and now only gets the local PBS station via an antenna mounted to the wall. Plus uses her niece’s Netflix account and that’s it. She’s on the iPad for a couple of games and being glued to whatever the NYT and WAPO have to say about things.

    A good rain shower earlier, heavy downpour and now it’s sunny w/blue skies again, temps in the mid-60s.

    Back out to the yard for whatever I can manage.

  22. Harold says:

    One thing I noticed in Europe is their water is hot, as in hot enough to burn you.

    In our house in Nottingham, the hot water came right from the boiler used to heat the radiators and was literally scalding. Add to that the fact that British plumbing never seemed to have discovered the mixing faucet, so you had two streams of water in the sink or tub, one ICE cold and the other SCALDING hot.

  23. Harold says:

    Every manager I’ve ever worked for in IT had something strange going on in his/her head.

    This manager I speak of was more than a few bricks shy of a full load. One morning I came in to work to have a voice mail from said manager asking I come down to the police station and bail him out. When I got there the police told me he had been taken in for drunkeness … and shooting up his own new pickup. When they got to the bar, they said he was jumping around and shooting holes in his truck yelling the “Injuns” were in there. One of his better days.

  24. Harold says:

    On the other hand … best IT Manager I ever worked for was a woman. She had worked with Admiral Hopper in the navy and really knew her stuff. She once told us that she saw her job as defining the projects correctly, then giving her team the resources they needed to complete them and getting out of the way. Fantastic sense of humor too.

    This was in the early 80’s and I recall the IT Director calling each of us coders in and asking if we would have a problem working for a woman.

  25. paul says:

    Dropped DirecTV just over a week ago and already the noise starts. “Oh, you can get Dish for $49 a month and just a 2 year contract!” and “But I miss watching the local news in the morning!” said by the person that said they never watch TV.

    I knew this was going to happen.

    I just bought a Roku Express+. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Roku-Express/54649025 I’ll pick it up tomorrow. Hopefully… the last time I tried Ship to Store was a flop.

    I’ll play with the Roku. And maybe, just maybe, an amplified antenna will work for over the air. Rabbit ears give me 2 stations, both in Spanish. The antenna on the motorhome gives 3 stations. One is KXAN’s repeater from Llano.

    My “next door” 1500 feet away neighbors receive a lot over the air. I’m downhill from there.

    And if Dish has a better deal than $49/month I might try that. But first, let’s try the Roku…..

  26. nick flandrey says:

    I have 2 roku’s. Got out of the habit of watching them, and have disconnected both, as they were getting old and the newer apps and channels weren’t available. I’ve got about 8 things that will show me my netflix account, not including pc’s, so I didn’t need Roku for that.

    Just put in a TCL tv. Some one hung low brand from china sold at Costco. 55″ 4K for $419. Add the (completely necessary) $30 extended warranty from Square Trade and it’s still only $450. Looks good. It’s a smart tv with Roku built in. Didn’t connect any of that sh!te.

    n

  27. SteveF says:

    She once told us that she saw her job as defining the projects correctly, then giving her team the resources they needed to complete them and getting out of the way.

    That was my philosophy as a manager and team lead. It leaves out one critical aspect: picking good people. Good people (good character, and to a lesser extent appropriate technical skills) will work very well given task, resources, and freedom. Bad people will not.

    I hated being a manager but having accepted the position through a misunderstanding, my own ego forced me to do the best job I could. Usually it was stupid little things to remove obstacles from my team getting their work done: getting a telephone headset for one guy because he was spending hours a day on the phone, working through problems with the client. Doing what little I could to minimize the mandated time tracking and weekly status reporting. Little things, but that was all it took for several of my team to tell me I was the best manager they’d ever had. And I have no trouble believing it was true, as almost all of my managers in the IT field have been bad.

  28. CowboySlim says:

    Whew! Good thing that I was not a manager in the IF field.

  29. lynn says:

    The wife and I are at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land, TX. The city just finished this 6,400 seat theatre in January. All air conditioned. The wife bought Boston / Joan Jett tickets for my birthday. The theatre is just four miles from our house.

  30. Dave Hardy says:

    Oh boy, Joan Jett!

    I often listen to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM (except when he’s pontificating with his standard-issue lefty rap) and she gets on there quite a bit; has had new albums out in the last several years so she’s still rockin’ in what’s left of the free world.

    Have fun, Mr. and Mrs. Lynn!

  31. lynn says:

    My ears are blown ! Joan Jett is awesome !

    I did not realize that my wife is older than her. I thought JJ was in her sixties. She is 58. And she played In a red catsuit, running all over the place. Very high energy.

    JJ mentioned that Michael J. Fox is getting a lifetime achievement award from the CanadIan broadcasting association tomorrow night. She and the band are jumping on their plane after the show to play “Light of Day” with MJF at the ceremony. I always thought that was a good movie. She said that Bruce Springsteen wrote the song which I did not know.

  32. ech says:

    Joan started out in the Runaways, an all-girl band from LA. Lita Ford was in it as well.

  33. Greg Norton says:

    I’ll play with the Roku. And maybe, just maybe, an amplified antenna will work for over the air. Rabbit ears give me 2 stations, both in Spanish. The antenna on the motorhome gives 3 stations. One is KXAN’s repeater from Llano.

    The “mud flap” Mohu antennas work well if you’re near a city.

    I have two ClearStream antennas in my attic mounted on $20 Pyle speaker stands. One antenna feeds the house’s previous owner’s DirecTV coax network, and the other is ready to swap out for the cable TV signal. when I cut the cord.

  34. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] Another was a major ham planet [snip]
    You’re going to have to explain that one …

  35. Dave Hardy says:

    “You’re going to have to explain that one …”

    Roger that. Picture a 5’7″ or so female in her 40s tipping the livestock scales at 400+ pounds, so that when she lumbered along the prolecube farm aisles, the entire floor vibrated noticeably. Like a minor earthquake. Knew zip about IT and databases and wanted everything converted to Excel spreadsheets. She was also a liar and backstabber and therefore quite well fitted for her long, and so fah as I know, continuing, “career” in state gummint.

    See, there’s wallyhogs, pie-wagons, and ham planets. Increasing scale of pounds per inch of height.

  36. Dave Hardy says:

    Do YOU watch CNN for YOUR nooz?

    From the Left: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqicxa6O4HA

    From the Right: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxg6Xs3jQek

    Pax vobiscum…

  37. JimL says:

    I love the Roku3 we bought 5+ (?) years ago. Netflix and Hulu cover most of it, and I have a small Plex server running for all of our pre-recorded entertainment. We cut the cable 8 years ago when Time Warner started playing games with pricing. They replaced DirecTV for the same reason. No more of that baloney. OTA and streaming are just fine with us.

    In the fall, I turn on SlingTV for the Sportsball games, then cancel in February. Easy. All you need is decent bandwidth, which we have.

    edit: And an antenna. We have local channels for each of the major networks. PBS kids for the kinder. PBS news for me. (I dislike the slant, but they cover a lot of things I don’t find elsewhere.)

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