Thursday, August 9, 2012

When in doubt...

Always wash your hair before the guy comes to change out your water heater, even if he assures you it will only take a few hours!

The gas line is in, but the troubles ain't over. Everything I worried about happened, and even things I never thought to fret over occurred as well. If it could possibly go wrong, it probably did. But with facing the worst comes the realization that it can only go up from here.

The job of installing the black iron for our natural gas line was suppose take about half a day. Wednesday was that day, but the guys came several hours late after having to go to three supply places for the right materials. Then the kitchen floor got gouged while moving the behemoth range out to get to the shut off valve. This I almost expected, so I took it in stride. Jeff had to remove one of the air conditioner ducts for the workmen to get into the crawlspace, so the house naturally wasn't cooling as well. It was very humid yesterday and the men were coming and going and basically had to leave the door wide open, so it was getting uncomfortable fast.

Then there were some unexpected glitches that required the guys to leave several times for more parts, more tools, etc. So it's pushing seven o'clock at night and none of the appliances are hooked up. Then the water heater, that was delivered in the morning and sat there all day, is discovered to be a 50 gallon instead of a 40 gallon. Usually a bigger tank would not be a bad thing, but it's two inches larger in diameter and we don't have any extra room for that. So we tell them to go on home and we'll deal with swapping it out in the morning. Which leaves us with no gas, no hot water, and my stove sitting in the middle of the kitchen. So no dinner, either. But what we do have is a constant leak out of one of the open pipes to the disconnected water heater, which necessitates leaving another faucet on in the "hot" position to divert the small stream of water down a drain (don't ask why this worked, it's a long story).

This morning, after a cold sponge bath, we get the water heater swap worked out. But that means our crew doesn't get started until almost 11 am. Which is okay, since it gives time for the rain to clear up and most of the mud to dry, so it doesn't end up in the house. With the new water heater is a sudden sunny moment. The pressure relief valve, an obstruction that juts out from the water heater at a bad place, can be relocated to an alternative port on the top! Hurrah, this is great news. Except the guys don't have the right socket size to get the nut out. So Jeff volunteers to go to the store and get one. He does, and after quite a struggle, they get it out. Except this isn't an alternative port for the TP valve as the workman thought, it's a very necessary component of the water heater. So the nut goes back in, the valve moves back to its previous undesirable location, and we've spent an hour on this little learning moment. Back to business.

After a few unpleasant discoveries as to the location and orientation of a couple of the new pipes, installation of the lines and appliances continues. Right up until the gas fitter tries to convert the Thermador range and realizes he doesn't have the right tools. And can't get the right tools. No problem, I say. I'll just get the appliance guy to come convert it. Except they are booked up until next Thursday. And the shut off valve has to stay accessible, which means the range can't be pushed in until then. A whole week of tripping over this big stainless steel beast (as I dare not risk additional floor damage by moving it any more than necessary), and no gas for cooking.

It's in the middle of this crisis that we realize something has happened to the hot water lines in the bathroom. They are the only pipes stuck in a concrete slab, so we have very few options for replacing them. Being old and galvanized, every time the pipes are drained and then filled, I think a little piece of them dies. They don't quite perform as well with each restart, and today was no exception. The hot water at the sink faucet is at about half the volume of the cold. Thankfully, the shower is better, but it's still noticeable. Perhaps some of it is due to the kink in the hot water connector off the water heater that Jeff noticed after the installers left.

Oh well, we survived the last few days and I imagine we'll manage the next week or so. Hungry, but clean. Things could be much worse. Every time we go through something like this, I learn to be more thankful for the convenience we do have, and I learn to beat my prayers a little more fine for the next time around!

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