The fiancée and I returned, bloody but unbowed, from a long weekend of playing make-believe in the cold and wet only to find that the water heater in our kitchen suffered a catastrophic failure. Having to scramble to clean up a flooded kitchen and bathroom wasn’t exactly exactly the nice, stress-free homecoming that we anticipated.
We’ve had absolutely horrible luck with the plumbing in our place. The stone cottage we rent from our landlord – a picturesque little building that was built sometime in the early 1800’s – is absolutely filled with antebellum charm, but the maintenance has been an absolute nightmare. The ironic part of this is that the older parts of the house are all in excellent condition and it’s the newer, modern sections are the ones that are consistently giving us grief, but the fact remains that we’ve gone through three water heaters in less than two years.
Our first catastrophic failure was a freak occurrence. The crawlspace under the bathroom, which is literally a dank pit reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs that houses the entirety of the plumbing for the bathroom and kitchen, flooded after the 15 year old grinder pump in the septic system’s holding tank failed, shorting out our original heater’s heating element. That was an absolute horror show of a repair job, as it necessitated repeatedly flooding the crawlspace with clean water and then draining it with a sump pump to eliminate all the human waste before any actual repair work could be undertaken. Our water was off for about a week or so before everything was repaired, and we had to trek over to the landlord’s house to use the bathroom or take a shower, and the smell in our bathroom was legendary.
Once that repair was completed, we had a shiny, new holding tank and a functioning grinder pump installed in the crawlspace and an up-to-date water heater hooked up, which the plumbers decided to install in the kitchen instead of down in the pit to prevent another short circuit. Unfortunately, a few months later and the new heater went tits-up after it failed, and our landlord had it replaced – only to have the replacement fail sometime this weekend while we were away.
This time, we’ve still got running water, thanks to the hot water shut-off valve the plumbers installed within easy reach in the crawlspace. Sure, it’s only cold water – which means once again we’ll have to go over to the landlord’s house to take a shower if we need one – but at least we can go to the bathroom without having to resort to the old “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” approach.
All in all, it could have been worse. Besides, the kitchen floor needed a good mopping anyway.