I knew for sure that we’d repaired the wind generator properly when Michelle called me to say that the water heater is leaking again. No time to rest on our laurels, we must move on to the next crisis!
I’d gone to town to see an old friend who’d come to Haines to see his son compete in a regional swim meet, and to do some laundry. Michelle came down with flu symptoms the afternoon we finished working on the wind generator and stayed home. She called to ask me to pick up a drain spigot to add to our newest water heater.
Our water heater has served us well for a long time—far longer than we thought possible. Supposedly leaky when we first installed it, it really did start losing water in May 2011. That patch job has wept slightly, but hasn’t really leaked enough to worry about. Earlier this year, a new leak started, again so slight it merely created water stains on the outside of the tank. When we saw that, we started looking around for another heater, and soon found one in town. We bought it, shipped it around in the canoe, and painted it. Since then, it has stayed in our boat house, as the current water heater continued to serve our needs.
Saturday, we brought the new one over to the cabin to fit it for installation. We saw that we would need to buy a few fittings in town, so we decided to patch the leaky one yet again. Even if it’s not perfect, it’ll only have to last a few more days, until we purchase the new fittings and I sweat them on.
We’re a little leery of the change. The new water heater is larger than the old one. Since we couldn’t find white heatproof paint, we painted the new one black. It looms over the current one like Darth Vader threatening R2D2.
More over, we’ve just had better luck with this tank, which is smaller than the first one we had. It seemed to be just the right size to heat water as it entered the tank, creating what is essentially an on-demand hot water system. In the larger one we used to have, the incoming cold water would overwhelm the hot water, and we’d have to pause between showers to let the water heat up again. I’m hoping that we’ve learned to use it better, and that the larger-capacity heater won’t have that same lag. Time will tell.