Got Them Water Heater Blues...

I don't know where your water heater is but I beg you to move the danged thing if it happens to be in your bedroom closet. In the past 25 years of our habitation on this planet we have lived in this house. A whole lot of things have gone wrong. None have been as irritating or as frustrating as the water heater, at least so far.

The first problem is that water heaters are sneaky. They can start leaking an itty-bitty amount without you ever knowing. By the time you figure out that something is wrong, that itty-bitty amount might as well be Niagara Falls when it comes to the damage water does to certain types of flooring. Lucky us, we hit pay dirt with what is lovingly known as particle board.

Does it belong anywhere near water or the potential for water? Nope. That stuff is called green board. I'm not a builder but even I know that green board and the potential for water damage travel together. Life experience has been my teacher and it has been a cumulative and expensive lesson.

Let's talk about particle board, press board or whatever you like to call it. It has revolutionized construction in some ways because it is less expensive than plywood or planed slabs. It's also very pliable and be turned into interesting shapes and patterns. Before you start liking it more than you should, let's talk about those thousands of pieces of miscellaneous stuff it's made of. Some of them are not very nice but I have to admit that this is one heck of an example of recycling.

OK, now that we've got that established, let's talk about what this wonder wood does when exposed to water. It's a sponge and water creates a love fest with every particle in this board. It may or may not swell up immediately but getting it dried out is a project only young people should take on. I'm too old to wait.

This creates the potential for really amazing cultures of mold and maybe even mushrooms. Gosh, I didn't think of that until just now. Shrooms is the closet. It kind of has a 70s vibe. If you add that moisture to carpet padding and carpet, your bedroom has just become a science experiment.

Did we know that 25 years ago? Nope. Did we care? Ha! We were young and excited about our new/old house. We could see a future here. We only thought about all the good things. I will admit that we had some misgivings as we moved in. This place was not exactly our dream home but Pollyanna (that's me) could see a future here. I'm lucky that Mr. S came along for the ride.

During these years we've re-done, undone and spruced up pretty much everything here. We've gone through three dishwashers and ranges and two refrigerators. It turns out that the family that cooks together wears out a lot of appliances. Oh, and we're on our third washer and dryer. Must be that cooking problem.

About 16 years ago, the first water heater died. I was sure I'd lose Mr. S to a heart attack. Truly, I'd not heard that kind of roaring and cursing from him EVER. As it turns out, the water heater was put in place and our bedroom closet was built around it. If that doesn't make sense to you, you're right there with us. Dumbest thing ever. Mr. S doesn't handle this sort of thing well. He's a big man who hates working in small spaces. He also truly dislikes people who put water heaters in bedroom closets. Since he had no choice, he successfully installed water heater #2 without having the big one.

On Mother's Day, my gift was no hot water. Turned out it was a gift that kept on giving because the dirty devil had soaked the particle board under it. We spent more than a week trying to dry the affected area but no luck. This time Mr. S wasn't alone. We had help in getting repairs made and getting a new heater in position and installed.

Following a collective sigh of relief, Mr. S went back to check the new water heater. It was spewing water all over the closet, floor, carpet and our spirit. We started again. Heaters and fans came back 24-7. Let it be known that Water Heater #3 will go down in history as the worst EVER. (I hope.)

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