Hot and cold leaking water

In an interesting coincidence or bit of karma, since my post on Friday was about patience, Friday decided to give me a chance to learn some. I had about an hour left to work on Friday afternoon when my wife called to let me know that something was leaking from the water heater and sizzling. Since we bought this house last summer, and it’s at least 20 years old, I figured we were probably seeing the end of an originally installed water heater.

But when I got home and took a look I immediately saw a much bigger problem. It wasn’t a “sizzle” sound, it was a spraying sound. The outbound hot water pipe above the water heater had sprung a leak, and was spraying up onto the under-flooring. Fortunately there was a floor drain in the utility closet and the damage wasn’t worse.

I got the leak contained (wrapped a towel around it so it only dripped down onto the floor and into the drain), shut off the water supply to the water heater, and proceeded to figure out the next step. My brother, who had the same real estate agent as me, reminded me that our agent might have worked a home warranty into the deal. She did. We made a call, and the problem is covered. With any luck we’ll have a plumber out tomorrow to deal with it.

That same night my daughter complained about the faucet in the kids’ bathroom tub leaking. I was distracted at the moment, and forgot about it until Saturday morning. Sure enough, it wasn’t just a drip, it was a steady trickle. How both of these problems went from non-existent to significant leaks so quickly I have no idea.

Fortunately I’ve had some experience with leaky valves (and not just in my heart!), so I resolved to fix that one myself. It didn’t take long, however, to realize this was a different type of valve than what I was experienced in, and I couldn’t even figure out how to get it out to find out what kind it was. Being surly didn’t help, either. It was not intimidated. I had to make a run to Home Depot, where they sold me a tool to get the valve out.

Then it was back home to use the tool to extract the valve, which actually went fairly smoothly. Then it was back to Home Depot again with the valve so I could find a replacement. I found one, picked up a few other items, and headed back home. It didn’t take long to replace the valve at all, really. Final cost: $50, which is lower than our home warranty deductible, so I was happy. Not as happy as if I could have made plumbers wages during that time, but you can’t have everything.

So now we’re just waiting for the plumber to fix the other one. And for the next shoe to drop. When it comes to shoes, this house is a millipede. It’s guaranteed that there’s always another shoe somewhere, sooner or later.

My parents used to have an excellent mechanic, but invariably if we ever asked him his recommendation on what to do with one of our vehicles and their regular problems, he’d say, “Oh, I’d go park it on the railroad track and be done with it.” I’m starting to feel that way about this house. The sellers seem to have had an uncanny ability to sense the coming wave of repairs, and were able to dodge in time. We won’t be so lucky, but I had hoped it would be a little longer before more problems started manifesting themselves.

Oh well. The good news is that I’m learning patience. And developing my plumbing skills. The next faucet that goes out, I’ll be ready.

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