"Hey Michael. Guess what? The water heater blew out."
Guess what, indeed.
My first instinct - and phone call - went to Chief Engineer Scott Noble, who fixed things on our 48-foot sloop Sabbatical for a several seasons and has mechanical and fix-up abilities far beyond those of mortal men. But as luck would have it (his mostly), his carpet cleaning service had just picked up jobs enough to keep him busy until sometime Saturday.
The Admiral and I did the math and decided that showers couldn't wait that long.
Carcass of the old water heater
On Sabbatical, problems like this seemed to happen damn near every time we went for a cruise of longer than a few days. That's the nature of sailboat cruising and I was used to be called into service at a moment's emergency notice - and usually not when I felt like doing the work.
So I attacked the problem the same way I did on the boat: I ripped out the old water heater (Hand me that hacksaw, please) and installed in a new one. Time to completion: 3.5 hours.
That said, there are two boat/home improvement projects I really dislike: painting and plumbing. And I am not sure which I dislike the most. Depends on which I need to do at that moment, I suppose.
New water heater ready to hook up
The project wasn't all that expensive either - about $400 for everything (Calif. tax included). But, of course, it took two trips to Home Depot before the project was over. One trip was to get the tank, the second to get all the things I forgot (like Teflon tape for the pipe connections).
As I write this, the new hot water heater is warming fast and seems to be operating just as advertising by the fine folks at Home Depot.
But tomorrow I have to finish one final piece of the job so the project is really complete - reinstalling the earthquake straps on the new tank.
We'll cross our fingers that the state doesn't shake rattle and roll tonight. I do not want to have to install another hot water heater tomorrow.
OK, and I would not welcome an earthquake regardless.
Who knows? It might require me to start doing some painting, too.
A tangle of safety straps