So of Course our Hot Water Heater Stops Working

To paraphrase Eunice Burns,

"What more can they do to us?"

Yesterday morning I woke up with a harsh, sharp headache across the front of my forehead and I was congested, too, which is strange because, well, it's July and I don't tend to get colds in July, and I don't have allergies either.

So the day – THE DAY – our relatives were due to arrive, we still had the upstairs hallway to paint and a bunch of stuff to bring either upstairs or downstairs, depending on whether it was destined for a bedroom or for my sewing/jewelry-making/artsy-craftsy corner of the basement.  And then, we also needed to vacuum and clean the bathrooms and run to the grocery store.

Somewhere around ten or so, I was just about to wash some of the dishes that had piled up over the previous couple of days.  I had already had my pain-and-stress-induced meltdown, went around throwing old sketch books from art classes in college into the recycle bin because WHAT AM I SAVING THEM FOR? IT'S NOT LIKE I'M ANY GOOD AT ANYTHING ANYWAY!! sob, sob, sob.  I was slicing the heavy cardboard portfolio cover with a razor while tears dripped on it.  Such a pretty sight.

Anyway, the tears had stopped, for the most part, my head still hurt, I'd taken some Excedrin, and was hoping that would help. 

Bill came into the kitchen and asked if I was running hot water, and I said not yet, and then switched the faucet handle over to the "hot" side, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No hot water.


Bill went downstairs to check the hot water heater, and lo and behold – the pilot light had gone out.

So he shut it off or whatever you do, and then waited the recommended ten minutes so you don't accidentally blow up your house, and then he tried to get it lit again.

And again.

And again.

No dice.

Lovely.  There are dishes and bathrooms to clean, and we've got four people arriving in five hours.


So he called Roto Rooter, the folks who had installed the water heater a couple of years ago, and they said they'd have someone out within the hour.  Thank goodness.

And sure enough, within the hour, the guy arrived, took a look, told us it was one of two things, checked it out, and discovered that a little bit of rust had covered up the thingy where the flame comes out or something, and so the flame was shooting out in the wrong place, and some other thingy was therefore getting all black, and the thing had finally gotten black enough that it told the hot water heater not to work any more.

So fortunately it turned out to be fixable. 

And eventually family arrived, and life was good again.

3 thoughts on “So of Course our Hot Water Heater Stops Working

  1. Oh my! Some months ago my water heater started acting up. My brother and I find out that it will be about $800 to buy and install a new one. The installation and some platform to put it on would be more than the water heater itself. YIKES! What do we do? Since the water heater was electric and my brother being an electrician, we replace the coils (the problem) and removed all the calcium build-up. Problem solved. Cost? $30 for the coils and some other parts and $30 for the pizza we rewarded ourselves with afterwards. Suck it, Sears!

  2. Whew, that was close. We’ve replaced the water heater twice in 15 years in this house. One year my husband called from clear across the state (working out of town) and asked me what I wanted for our anniversary which was that very day, to which I replied “a water heater and a hunky man to install it.” I was in the process of draining the water out of it with a hose, it had a hidden leak in the back and the whole bottom eventually fell off! So now we have this ongoing joke that when we can’t remember what the official gift for that anniversary year is (like silver or gold) we say it’s a water heater or new toilet year. This will be our 28th… hmmm maybe it’s a refrigerator (been on the fritz) year. Hope you have a good weekend with the Fam.

Leave a Reply