Water Woes

As any homeowner knows, things never fail one at a time. They cascade like all tragedies, usually in threes. Each failure of course is slightly more expensive than the previous. I am convinced there is no home appliance repair that costs less than $200, with most being much more.

We experienced the start of the great cascade about a month ago. I was sitting in the living room and kept hearing like a high pitched moaning noise coming from the basement. When I went down there I followed the noise until I pinpointed it to the water softener. The box on top of it which controls the on/off cycling was howling like a ghost.

So I did what any homeowner would do. I unplugged it hoping it would reset and repair itself.

No dice.
It's the doohickey valve. That's the problem.

I tried Plan B. Hit it.


The unit is 20+ years old and is simply worn out. I know that. I also know that it is likely a $1000.00 outlay.  The significantly cheaper, short term fix is to unplug the howling unit. So I did.

There. Fixed.

Three days later I heard a knocking coming from the basement. I went down again and discovered it was coming from the water heater. When we first moved into this house we heard the same sound, an indication that there is sediment buildup in the water heater.

Now I know that it is likely just coincidence, but what are the chances that just the action of turning the water softener off three days prior would trigger sediment knocking? Nothing works that fast. It is just the dreaded cascade effect.

Well, I figured there is a known fix for the sediment issue, so I YouTube'd it. The video I found stepped me through draining our aging tank. I brought in the hose from the garage, turned the water heater to Pilot and hooked up the hose. Of course when I went to turn off the cold water intake valve, it was corroded open, requiring a Vice Grips to crank it open.

Because nothing is easy with an old house.

I opened up the drain and let the heater drain. I put the end of the hose over a piece of screening by the floor drain because I wanted to see what kind of sediment drained out. Of course, there was no visible evidence of sediment showing up in the screen.

Well, this is odd.

When I looked at the drain outlet on the water heater, it sits about 2" above the bottom of the thing. So, in essence, you would have to have 2+ inches of sediment to get it to start draining out.
"Hey, lets put the bottom drain
not on the bottom."

What genius designed that drainage system?

In any case, I let the entire heater drain out just in case. Then I put the hose back in the garage.

And as I write this blog, the heater is knockin' away.

On to Plan C.

Turn up the music!

Blogging off...


Nancy von Meyer said…
Yeah. You are in a loop for sure. Could you siphon the remaining 2 inches of sediment.
lizza kim said…
Your articles are very well written and unique.Mcmurray plumbing

Popular posts from this blog

A Day Unlike Other Days

A Portal To The Past

New Chapters