wet garage

Your Friendly Wintertime Water Heater Warning

A lot has happened since I last posted. Rent in New York has skyrocketed and I was forced to make the decision to move out of my place. I’ve been looking at apartments a little further away from the hub of the city since other than convenience, I have no real reason to live there working as a freelancer. Well, the greatest thing ever happened a couple months ago. A friend of mine and her husband were planning on traveling the world over the next year. The own a nice (but older) home out in the suburbs. Instead of simply renting it out to a stranger, they agreed to let me stay there for less than what I was paying at my old apartment. I’m talking about having an actual yard, garage, and room to fit more than a couple other people in my place at a time.

The only other stipulation was that I would take care of all the maintenance around the house. Well sure enough, something went wrong in the first few weeks. Once, somebody told me that water is something like 90% more likely to cause damage to a house over fire. It makes total sense because a water leak can arise from a hundred different ways. It could be your dishwasher, frozen pipes, washing machine, heavy rain, roof leak, or a water heater. For me, it was a combination of two. Due to the crazy cold weather streak we’ve been having, a part of a water pipe that leads to the top of the water heater in my un-insulated garage started leaking. I didn’t even notice this until I noticed a big ‘ol pool of water in the garage one morning. Really? A leaking water heater wasn’t something I wanted to deal with right now. I had just finished unpacking the last box and was contemplating “firing” a couple of my clients since I simply took on too many at a time.

Luckily, a local plumber was willing to come out the same day since someone had cancelled. He told me what I kind of suspected, that the leak was due to the cold. After listening to his explanation of how metal has a tendency to expand and contract when cold temperatures hit, I was hit with more bad news. The current water heater was over 15 years old and failure of the tank was imminent. So even though the water heater was leaking from the top and the repair wasn’t too complicated, what’s to say that he wouldn’t have to come back in a couple weeks to replace a failed tank.

house vs apartmentI ended up doing some research on what a new water heater would cost. I heard about tankless models but they were really out of my price range. I ended up selecting a new AO Smith 50 gallon model from Home Depot I think. The plumber got it at a slight discount since he was a business and had it installed for me the next day. Even though I had to do without hot water for a couple days (not fun in a New York winter), I feel so much more at ease knowing I won’t be running out of hot water or seeing a flooded garage while I’m staying at the house.

I guess this is a good way of introducing me to home ownership. Once Todd and Sarah get back, I’ll be going back to apartment life. Maybe one day I’ll be the proud owner of my own home but with the home prices here, it would have to be in another part of the state or a different state altogether. Have any crazy water heater stories?