Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Death watch for a hot water heater.

I once posted about the curious way in which a complaint can also be a boast. Its almost like we just can't stand simple and unlayered emotional observation but operate under an urge to spin advantage from all manner of adversity...it is our nature. You may want to turn away if immodesty does not fascinate you for this is definitely going to be a boastful complaint.

I blew off blogging yesterday and barely ventured out into the beautiful spring weather on a day reserved for idleness, barbecue and somber reflection on the human price of war, regardless what was gained for that price. I had, not better things to do, but things I had better do....


Our hot water heater has terminal corrosion. It is days older than its warranty. It had to be located as an obstruction to the hatchway to the crawlspace because it is too tall to fit elsewhere. Rot and dankness result from its increasing leakage. It is surrounded by 25 years worth of "stuff" every item of which was for a moment considered too good to toss and now merely adds its moldy weight to the musty entropy of things that must be sorted, hoisted and disposed prior to the real work.


Replacement by a pair of heaters is planned. Hand truck is adequate to move them horizontally. Vertical is another story...no stairs, ramp, or bulkhead since this house was let into a pocket in the bedrock. The vertical movement of heavy objects, when merely walking about the crawlspace induces injuries, has been a show-stopper. For instance, the carcass of the previous hot water heater has rested down there over ten years, shoved aside because no team of lifters and no rigging was available to extract it from that pit.


And the wiring will be thrill. I have to open up the main service panel to add a 220V breaker and the 10/3NM grounded cable, disconnects and junction boxes for the second heater. I used to hot wire those panels but this time around, I'm throwing the mains and working by flashlight. The older I get, the more vulnerabilities I know of and take to heart.


To solve the vertical challenge, I fashioned a gantry crane. Running along a beam suspended on threaded rods a tram on a phalanx of casters will traverse the load horizontally.


A block and tackle will move the load vertically. That looks like a rats nest but it is a chain stitch and will neatly undo itself with one deft tug.


A test load of 250 pounds of broken rock and dirt [from the Precambrian era of my mess-making...I had to get down to sound weight bearing strata] moved smoothly without a creak or a slip.


Out with the old


And in with the new.

To be continued...

3 comments:

Lord Jim said...

Hey correct me if Im wrong, but thats not an on-demand water heater is it?
Check out these most cited water heaters in 2007.

GreenSmile said...

nope, conventional, amp-sucking water heater....in an unheated drafty crawlspace no less.

So is it's replacement but this time around, since I know the demand has a bimodal characteristic depending on whether the kids are back in town or its just the two of us, I have two heaters, each with a little over half the original's capacity. It is now a kind of "on demand" if you quantize demand to the nearest month rather than minute.

GreenSmile said...

nope, conventional, amp-sucking water heater....in an unheated drafty crawlspace no less.

So is it's replacement but this time around, since I know the demand has a bimodal characteristic depending on whether the kids are back in town or its just the two of us, I have two heaters with a little over half the original's capacity. It is now a kind of "on demand" if you quantize demand to the nearest month rather than minute.