It’s done at last

Our new water heater is heating like mad, a new water filter has been installed for its side of the house (covering the kitchen, washing machine, and water heater), and all the old stuff has been toted off.  With what seems like amazing efficiency for a municipality, the inspector even arrived on the same day to sign off on the new installation!  That would never have happened in Nashville.  (Miss D. told me of one US city where a $20 bill had to be slipped to the scheduler just to make an appointment, and another $50 to the inspector to ensure that he filed the paperwork in a timely manner.  She was rather vitriolic about it.)  Even Curtis the neighbor’s kitten has gone back home, satisfied that he tormented the plumber to an adequate extent.

Our wallets are about $1,200 lighter, thanks to the extra parts and labor costs of installing the water filter and a few other bits and pieces, but the new installation should last us for a good few years, God and mother nature willing.  It was an unplanned expenditure, of course, but we’re very thankful that we’d taken care to top up our “rainy day fund” as and when we could.  It came in very handy this time!

We discovered an interesting fact about this house during the installation process.  We have no idea where the water comes in!  There’s a meter in the yard, but where the pipe runs between it and the foundation slab is anyone’s guess.  We’ve narrowed it down to the bedroom side of the house, but that covers a multitude of sins rooms.  From the bathrooms there, it runs under (or through) the slab to the garage, where it splits into feed lines for the water heater, kitchen, an ice-maker in the fridge, and the washing machine (which is also in the garage).  Rather than spend hours digging up the bedroom side of the house (in unpleasantly cold temperatures) looking for the pipe, the plumber recommended simply cutting out a square of sheet-rock in the corner of the garage, where the pipe splits, and installing the filter to cover all of those feed lines.  We looked at our wallets, and agreed with alacrity.

My new cellphone is performing well.  I had a little HTC unit, because I don’t use much in the way of apps on my phone.  (In fact, I prefer to leave it on my desk when I’m wandering around.  I see no reason why I should be tethered to it!  That’s what voicemail and text messages are for.)  It died last week, the same day that we discovered the water heater was leaking onto the garage floor.  To replace it, I bought the cheapest Samsung they had at the store.  It’s a low-end phone by modern standards, but it’s still a lot faster and more efficient than my old one.  I’m enjoying it.

All right.  Now to restore order to the garage by moving back all the stuff I had to shunt around, to make room for the plumber to get at the water heater!  No peace for the wicked . . .



  1. I'm just amazed that something so simple would require an inspector–especially that it would require one in Trashville, if you still lived there!
    That's why I live elsewhere in TN. We don't have the idiotic requirements Metro/Davidson County does. When I got my first full-time job, in this county, you had to have wiring inspected, but not plumbing. I helped several friends plumb houses that they were building, & I was a cabinetmaker, just doing grunt work. We'd have one among us who actually knew what he was doing (not everybody did this), but it was nice that there was no Water Commissar to make sure everything was done according to the Five-Year Plan.
    Of course, the county changed that sometime back. Can't have folks doing things without supervision, y'know; might lead them to thinking for themselves.
    –Tennessee Budd

  2. Many such projects require permits in the Unified Municipality of Anchorage, as I'm sure Miss D. has told you. The majority of the residents avoid all the unpleasant red tape by simply proceeding without bureaucratic approval. Can't say as I blame them, for the most part.

  3. Might be worth putting an rf signal on the pipe and tracking it against the day it rusts through where you can't reach it. Anything from a stud finder to a good operator with a coin shooter metal detector can help too.

  4. Congratulations on surviving the Seige; unfurl the sails, mind the compass and tend to the tiller as Life returns to (what passes for) normal.

    A suggestion, though, if I may: Once sound footing is regained, it may be beneficial to cast about your domain with an eye to future outcroppings which will become visible only when the tide goes out.

    Using your water heater as an example, the ordeal may have been less so had it been a planned event rather than one of urgent necessity. Maintenance performed to a schedule, even such extreme maintenance as water heater replacement and the associated plumbing legerdemain, will always be accomplished with less sturm und drang, not to mention lower expenditure, when performed under more controlled temporal arrangements.

    Your air conditioning will not fail in January; it will fail in July, on a weekend, when it will be most expensive and urgent to deal with. Researched in February and contracted for in March, however, allows a (somewhat) more leisurely procedure and substantially better financial control.

    The cost risk of replacing a critical unit, be it AC, water heater, refrigerator or other life-integral system prior to complete failure is usually cited thus: "It's got at least a couple more years in it" being the mantra of avoidance and supposed monetary conservancy.

    It's true a period of usefulness may be sacrificed, but given the technological improvements of newer systems, the associated savings may provide a recovery path, not to mention the mental, economic and family harmony benefits of leisurely replacement or upgrade.

    Plus, systems with remaining life may be donated – Habitat for Humanity, for example, is a good destination – providing a tax deduction to oneself and benefit to others.


  5. So what kinda of filter did you get?
    Just curious about the variety; I'm thinking of doing the same thing.


  6. I can't imagine what the reason is for requiring a permit and inspection on a replacement water heater; I can, just barely, see the reason for requiring it on adding new equipment, but not for replacing existing.
    I'm surprised you didn't just do it as others have suggested!

    Where I live, the only permits available or required are for well and septic, from the county health department, and many people don't even bother with them. On the other hand, the city near me is notorious for requiring (and charging for) multiple visits for very minor issues. Some businesses have moved out of city limits and publicly talked about how much it saves them.

  7. Alphonse talks about preventive replacement of appliances. DO NOT replace a well functioning refrigerator, or washing machine. What is available today from the traditional big brands is junk. You will NOT be happy.
    Stay FAR away from GE. The only good thing they produce is jet engines, now.

    Do you know if your inlet water pipe is plastic or metal? Look at the meter outlet, if possible.
    House I live in was built in the mid 70's. Badly glued plastic. The joints have been separating sequentially, from the meter, for a few years. I figure there is only one or two more joints left before I get to the pressure regulator near the front door. Gets deeper as it goes.

  8. Jonathan, I'm up-state from Peter and Miss D., and water heater replacements have to be inspected if they are gas-heated, because of safety and code. And to be "fair," if they are electric, to check that the wiring meets code. If the heater or water-heater at Redquarters ever has to be replaced with a new model, it will mean cutting more holes in the roof for additional pipes to meet the latest code variations.

    In sum, it is the city "ensuring safety" and getting their additional $$.


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