I was having such a lovely Saturday this past weekend…I should have known disaster was lurking around the corner.
About twenty minutes before I was going to start preparing dinner, my husband noticed a water leak coming from under the house. This is never a good thing. He first checked all the toilets, as this is the usual cause of plumbing seepage in our house (we’ve actually had to replace three toilets in less than ten years, but that’s another story). As someone that lives with IBD and a host of other gastrointestinal “issues”, having at least one functioning throne is vital to my physical and mental well-being.
I know my husband well enough to stay out of his way when he’s dealing with maintenance. So I planted myself on the couch and watched him make several trips back and forth from the front door to the back of the house, my head swiveling right to left and left to right as if I was a tennis match spectator. The most difficult thing was keeping my mouth shut and not trying to ask him a million questions on each trip he made.
The stomping of his work boots and under-his-breath muttering about the “f^@%*!g water heater” preceded his final return. With his hands on his hips and a ferocious glare, he asked if I knew where he put the cut-off valve for the water heater. I responded with a blank stare and then blinked at him…twice. “Um, in your storage shed?”, I guessed.
I’ve read about someone doing a “double take”, but really, never seen one. Until now. Between his state-of-mind and my ignorance of plumbing things, we had a Grand Canyon sized gap in communication. And now my husband believes I’m an idiot because I didn’t know what he meant was a valve on the pipes leading to the water heater. He just wanted to know if I remembered if he put it under the house or did he not put one on at all.
Turns out the leak was on the tank of the water heater and from the amount of water under the house and the radius of the floor that was now waterlogged and rotting, it had been going on for a while. As he was heading out the door to Lowe’s for a new one, he casually mentions that he must have forgotten to put a cutoff valve for just the water heater and he’s turned off the water to the whole house.
So, I’m left here with no water to cook dinner (which required water). There’s nothing to drink ~ an empty tea pitcher, no tap water, a month-old stale diet coke and a bottle of champagne. And no way to flush a toilet.
Fast forward to midnight (at eight hours without water), the new water heater is sitting comfy in its remodeled home, since its taller than the old one and required removal of a few shelves. I’m about high as a kite from the fumes of the pretty purple PVC adhesive (say that three times fast). The husband is tired and he wants to let that set overnight before connecting it to the water heater, but there is a shiny new cutoff valve, so at least we’ll have water, even if it isn’t hot.
The project was finally finished around noon the next day and everything seems to be in working order. Now the next item on the agenda is replacing the flooring in the bathroom, hallway, and son’s room where the water leak made the floors weak.
All in all, I’m thankful the husband caught it when he did before the water heater completely broke. Back in my college days, I woke up one morning, went downstairs to make the coffee and stepped into half a foot of water (which was ice cold I might add). The whole downstairs living room, kitchen, bathroom and laundry room was completely flooded from a water heater tank failure. Its an experience I’m glad we didn’t have to repeat this past weekend.