I hate spending money on the house when I don’t schedule it. For example when we ran out of hot water this week and I went and looked at the tank and found it sitting in a puddle of water. Not what I wanted to spend money on. In fact I have a list of things I would’ve rather purchased – but hot showers rank high on our family priority list so we had to get it fixed. My cousin and her husband were here visiting and they convinced me it was an easy DIY project and they’d teach me how to do it. I’m not one to turn down a project so I purchased the tank and we started the install in a sweltering garage. I borrowed a blow torch from the neighbor to solder the copper connection (which was something entirely new for me but much easier than I ever imagined.) and hooked up all the water lines again with the new unit. This was shaping up to be my easiest DIY project to date and my confidence was soaring. Once it was all hooked up we fired it up. A couple hours I checked the hot water faucet and there still wasn’t hot water. A couple hours later – still no hot water. My mentor went out to the garage to check all my connections and he came back in and reassured me it was correct.
Before I went to bed that night I checked again and still no hot water. You can imagine my surprise when Steve woke me up early the next morning to inform me we had hot water. It was a miracle and I was so grateful that I wouldn’t be spending the day uninstalling a water heater. My confidence was once again soaring.
Don’t worry- the confidence didn’t stick around for too long. Saturday morning we woke to no hot water again after days of having hot water. A little research online confirmed that in my original install process I made a small mistake which turns out is a big mistake. I turned on the power to the tank before the tank was completely full; I fried the heating elements. Fantastic. Luckily there were pages upon pages of people who made the same mistake. Fortunately – the heating elements are an inexpensive fix with a trip to the Depot.
I went through the same process I did just days before. Turned off the power. Turned off the water. Unhooked the electrical. Unscrewed the fried element (and it was completely scorched).
Screwed the new element in and repeated the process for the lower element.
The crucial difference: I made sure the tank was completely full before turning the breaker on. Why is that not a poster size print across the water heater itself? Seriously. In no time we had hot water again. Thank heavens. Guaranteed, I will never, ever make that mistake again – and you better believe the next time a water heater goes out I’m ready for the install!