Hot Water Heaters and Elements


Ah Sunday, home from the cottage. Another nice restful weekend spent laying down under the cottage working on the plumbing….pump troubles…again…oh..my…I think I have it fixed this time finally, but this has got to be the last year for that old pump, next year it’s a new one and it’s not going under the damm cottage…it’s going in the boat shed where I can work on it standing up…that is the promise I made to myself as I crawled out from under the camp for the umpteenth time yesterday. I am familiar with this particular promise as I have made it several times in the past few years, but this time I mean it, I really do…but the pump is working good though….

It’s the water heater that’s not….after two weekends of struggle, I still cannot get hot water, but I have it narrowed down now to the element, which I can quite easily replace, as soon as I get an element wrench and my body recovers from being scrunched up in a tiny ball behind the kitchen stove with a flashlight in my teeth working on the water heater. It was on one of my trips to the shed to find another wrench to try that my wife read the troubleshooting part of the water heater manual that says an “element wrench” is required if you want to replace the element. What they should add to that are the words, “We mean it” because there is no wrench known to man that I could find that would allow me to unscrew the damm element….of course when I checked the local country hardware store for an element wrench, I believe the guy thought I was joking with him, he did try to sell me a one size fits all hotwater heater replacement element, but I wouldn’t buy it, not without the wrench.

On my heater, the element is behind a little panel which comes off easily, but is down low on the heater, so laying on the floor is about the only way to see it, which of course is not easy in a space about 2 feet long by 2 feet wide…trying laying a 170lb 5’9″ man down in there and see if he doesn’t get cranky….I wasn’t able to move the stove because my wife said I would tear the new flooring, and we couldn’t have that, so she helped by pushing me down into the little space behind the stove and handing me tools…only one she didn’t have was an element wrench…..

So no hot water this weekend, so with the time I saved on showers I was able to split another couple of boxes of kindling.

I also found time to install these solar patio lights which were actually the most fun of the weekend. I had to assemble them, which I did at night at the kitchen table watching television, and then just run around sticking them in the ground, and good news, they work, pretty well too.
They don’t throw a whole lot of light, but they do kind of give you a marker…I can see them being helpful as I stroll back from Bob’s place half drunk some night without a flashlight…..

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