Friday, January 31

Hot Water Dilemma

When I came home from work earlier this month I was enjoying the much warmer weather and grateful the ice had mostly melted off the roads. When my garage door opened though I found a small flood of water covering the garage floor. There was a leak from the corner where my hot water tank is that was squirting water across the garage.

My first two thoughts were that it must have been leaking for a while, and I really didn't want to spend my Christmas money on a new hot water tank.

Of course, it was already after 6:00 and since half of Tulsa was having similar problems I couldn't get a plumber that night. The best I could manage was to shut off my water completely and try to get someone out the following day. 

So much for my relaxing evening plans (which included a hot bath and early bedtime). 

Ollie and I went to my dad's since I didn't relish the idea of doing without water all evening. Luckily I was able to find someone who could take a quick look at the leak the next morning to diagnose the problem and get the ball rolling on fixing it. 

That's when I got really, really lucky. 

Mike Ridenour came out and could tell immediately the problem wasn't the tank. I was viewing that news with tentative optimism. I wouldn't need to spend $300 on a new tank, but would the real problem be even worse?

At that point I was having horrifying images of having to rip up my yard or something to find the leak.

It turns out that under the pedestal my hot water tank sits on there used to be a pump to pump water around the house. When the pump was removed the pipe connected to it was capped off. With the negative temperatures we had the capped pipe froze and cracked. Once our weather warmed up a bit the pipe started spewing the built up water across the garage due to the high pressure. 

Ignore the mess, the newly capped pipe is on the right.
All Mike had to do was remove the cracked section of pipe and recap the pipe further down. The entire visit took 10 minutes and cost me $25.

How's that for luck?

I couldn't believe that I managed to get away that easily, really that was something I might have been able to fix myself with the right tools (and knowing what the problem was, of course).

The hole isn't large, but
I'll need to watch for mold.
I'm still going to need to keep an eye on the drywall around the hot water tank.

Since the leak lasted long enough to melt a small hole in the drywall, I'm anticipating mold. I might get lucky and not have a problem. Even if I do it is in the garage so shouldn't be a huge issue, but as you can see, trying to replace that section of drywall won't be a walk in the park since I would need to create holes for the drain and dryer vent (although the dryer is inside now so this vent isn't actually used).

Has anyone else had lucky run-ins with plumbing problems? Or horror stories that still make you cringe?

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