Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Cockeyed Water Heater Went Boom

As I've said before, I'm an old hand at home repairs. There wasn't much of anything I couldn't fix or install before my strokes. I've always been pretty self sufficient  in that respect. I'm luckier than most unlike my roommate, Mel. Don't get me wrong. She's great at figuring out how to build stuff from basically nothing. But when it comes to mechanical repairs, she just doesn't have the knowledge to do these repairs or experience.

This week our water heater sprung a leak. After figuring out where the water was coming from, I told Mel to shut off the water and trip the circuit breaker to the water heater. She turned off the wrong 30 amp breaker. I really can't blame her for this, it's the cockeyed wiring in this trailer. If it's marked on the box, it's wrong. Then, she shut off the main water supply to the whole house at the well. I didn't realize this until the morning.

First of all the water heater is in a closet with an opening measuring 22"x 59" off the back porch. Once again, there's really not much room to work. I was missing my old homestead where I had everything in my garage including the well pump, but I was thankful (and so was Mel) that I'd done the handicap remodeling complete with ramps to the back porch.

The rats had made a home in the water heater closet. Droppings couple inches thick in some places and chewed insulation everywhere. I looked at the manufacture date of the water heater on the panel...1999. That and the fact that the water was coming from the base of the water heater was all the confirmation I needed. Yes, you guessed it. It had to be replaced. Another unexpected household replacement and repair job. It has been one thing after another since I've moved here. I told Mel that I could get our handyman to install it, but she said "No, I'll do it."

Luckily, replacing a water heater is not that big of a deal. It was electric versus gas. When I discovered this, I looked heavenward, and mouthed the words, "Thank you, Jesus!" I wouldn't have to talk Mel through the cleaning and soldering copper tubes. She's never done that before and doesn't even own a torch. It would be hard enough talking her through removing the old tank and the wiring. Darn my one-handedness!

So I went to the plumbing supply house and bought a new water heater. It was great. I told them the dimensions of the opening, the wire, the gallons, the amps and they did all the rest. It sure beat Lowe's and it was cheeaper too. I knew if Mel was installing it, it would be a two day process. First, she had to disconnect the old one, clean all the crap out of the closet space. While Mel cleaned out the drip pan (it was still in good shape), I put down some Tomcat rat poison. We don't have to worry about our animals getting in there...there's no room. Next she had to remove the new water heater from my van and get it into place. Since Mel doesn't even get motivated to do anything until at least 2 or 3 PM, it makes this a two day job because being early spring, the sun sets early and there's not enough light to work after it goes down. Also, we ain't spring chickens anymore at 60 or fast approaching it in Mel's case. We are having difficulty with lifting heavy loads. Water heaters aren't light.

I figured the more Mel learned how to do these repairs, the better off we'll be. Plus, I don't mind teaching. After I told her about the cut off valve at the water heater, we had water in the house again. I told her that everything that has water running to it should have a cut off valve like the toilets and sinks. If they didn't we'd better install them. After saying that, I went around the house and checked. I put no stock in what the previous owners did. They were there! I was shocked.

Mel found out that she had thrown the wrong circuit breaker when she touched the wires while disconnecting the old water heater. Surprisingly enough, a string of curse words didn't follow. Although, she did scream in surprise. Just to be extra safe she shut off all 30 amp breakers while she disconnected the wires. I don't blame her. Up to 600 volts can pass through those wires. Not that her electrical shock was that many volts.

She had watched several YouTube videos on replacing a water heater and read the installation manual thoroughly before she started too. Which made it easier on me. Thank you all of you YouTube creators out there. Why is it men folk don't read the manuals? It always puzzles me.

Mel manhandled the water heater out of my van, that it took two men to put in my van, put it on a hand truck and wheeled it inside the porch. The next step would take some finessing, lifting it into the closet and into the now cleaned drip pan. Mel figured it out. I'm so proud of her! Did I mention the opening was two and a half feet off the floor? Now I did. All the time, she was praising God for the ramps.

What's going on right now on the homestead?

Hot water now flows through our taps. Yippee! One more challenge conquered. Pat yourself on the back, Mel, for a job well done. Now there's all these dishes and clothes to wash. Did I also mention that I received my Zaycon order for skinless, boneless chicken thighs? I canned the bulk of it in strips and diced, and only left two bags for the freezer. Yummy for the tummy for months to come. The seeds are started for spring planting. I still have a hard time thinking of spring planting in May, but that's life in the north Georgia foothills. I did get my garlic and potatoes planted outside though. That's it for this week.

Y'all have a blessed day.

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