In Xanadu did Kublah Khan a stately pleasure dome decree

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It’s a Tankless Job

It was a cold rainy spring again after tasting two days of summer. The house has been a hot topic lately. Parents are coming this weekend to get the patio in before the yard is ov I discovered the hot water heater in the utility room leaking, with water damage to the subfloor. It turns out to have been junk equipment, horrifically installed, both Home Depot specials. Ugh. My plumber had choice words. I wasn’t really ready to replace it, given it was under 5 years old, and I have said for a year now that eventually I would convert to tankless. That day showed up way sooner than I expected. After much back and forth, I’m about ready to pull the trigger on it, despite the breathtaking cost.  The thing is that two square feet in the utility room is vital real estate and critical to the future kitchen/ utility remodel. There’s just no real way around it. In the end, I concluded that going tankless is like doing  an addition of 4 square feet.

The failing water heater may be the reason - one of several reasons? - I was getting water in the crawl space. It will be good to fix THAT.   

When we un-installed it the plumber was horrified to find the gas connection loose and improperly sealed.  I have smelled gas on several occasions, but always fleetingly and was never sure which applicance was the culprit.  Switching to the tankless achieves a number of good things, significantly reducing the demand for combustion air inside the house. Hopefully, no water leak and no gas leak will mean less asthma, and fewer bugs.

I have been to see a unit operating in a house nearby and it was almost silent. I prefer a different but slightly noiser brand, because it uses two 2” pipes for venting instead of one big 5”.  That’s important in My tight utility space.  Had to really think about the piping and venting configuration, one place had a white snorkel/ periscope thing for the vent off the back of the red brick house. No. I wanted it all nice and compact and logical to maximize the space gain.

I was proud of Myself for shutting down the water heater, not that it was hard, just intimidating. The plumber took it away after leaking again while “empty”. I had him patch the tile floor that I had excavated and dried out; I still need to finish it with grout. He capped off the water lines downstream of the shut off valve, so I could keep using the external hoses and washing machine for cold water while I figured out the tankless. He removed a significant amount of abandoned piping including an obsolete incoming line for the former gas meter, which used to be *inside* the house.  I was without hot water for about 3 weeks which wasn’t terrible, showering at the office, just a matter of doing dishes using hot water from a fast electic kettle.

And the coup de grace? It turns out the overhead incoming water line had a T joint on the verge of failing. I watched it come apart during the tankless install, it was never screwed together fully and held together only by a little rust and 70 years of paint. That made Me feel a lot better about the project cost; what an utter disaster it would have been to have the full volume of the incoming house water supply shooting from ceiling height across the house at a 45 degree angle for hours or days. One shudders to imagine.

It rocks though, now that it’s in and paid for. Absolutely rocks. Still need the gas meter ugraded and permit inspection and all. But it rocks.  Being able to stand in a hot shower until you want to get out is uh-mazing; it’s weird and neat to be able to ignore the voice in your head that says “Better hurry up, it’ll be cold soon”.   Kinda like throwing a book in the trash or willfully dunking your phone in water. It’s deliciously transgressive somehow.

I feel like the house has gotten away from Me, things have been going on the To Do List much faster than I can take them off.  Never mind forward progress or treading water, I’m falling way behind. It’s time to spend more money than I want to spend. Deferred maintenance is a bitch.

boy m really earned his collar again in April in the form of emotional support. he stopped by for a bit one evening and gave Me much needed touch, as well as making good on the sweatshirt gift. he provided sheet laundry service for the heavy flannel sheet that was a washer fail. It was My mistake, involving the fact the hot water line had been capped off and I didn’t have the presence of mind to select cold wash. So the beautiful flannel sheet he gave Me got an industrial grade detergent  on it which sat undiluted for lack of hot water, and I couldn’t actually wash it, was lucky it wasn’t damaged.  Since it was his gift, I was much relieved it survives.

The garden was begun in April, there were lettuces waiting to be planted and probably getting root bound. Once in they proceeded to bolt within weeks. I seem to do this every year, buy and not plant fast enough. The weeds are growing as the saying implies.  The little lilac blooms on second year growth and put on a nice show soon. As long as I’m getting that wonderful fragrance, I will tolerate the messy, scraggly appearance.

Finally, I have been talking of necessity with Napoleon neighbor. He is gutting the place that adjoins which means we have been forced into some communications.  He is making an effort to be considerate, I think, but at the end of the day, it just sucks to live in a construction zone. He seems to only have one guy with a hammer and hammer drill in there at any moment, so it is very drawn out.

April was indeed the cruelest month as we ripped the beating heart out of the company’s admin IT systems, using a Ready Fire Aim management approach. Big ugh.

The day after the tankless was installed, The Rents came for a week. I unfortunately spent only small windows of time with them, dad before work, mom late at night. And I laid in the supplies we needed for dad to build out the bluestone patio.  He ran out of steam after it was roughed in and went home to tend a sore knee, then popped a fever and it turns out he laid a 200 SF stone patio with only one functioning lung. He had pneumonia. Poor guy, no wonder he was tired. But still a giant step forward for the house. That project has been 4 years in the planning and debating. It needs steps and some stones need fine tuning to stop them rocking, and it needs finishing sand, and an exit to the alley. But we are over the hump, and that’s amazing.  Oh and to space fill waiting for deliveries, dad installed the second planted in the front yard, the one whose lumber has been in My bedroom since October.  Awesome to have THAT done too. Really busting up the log jam around the joint.

So April was also the most expensive month since I bought the house, but that’s why we feed a project fund. Even though it’s painful to pay those bills, it’s wonderful that I can. 

No comments:

Post a Comment