Owning a house is awesome and comes with all sorts of interesting problems. After we took possession of the house, we lost hot water three times. Once, when electricity had been off because we were rewiring some rooms, once when electricity was off because we had to fix another appliance situation, and once at random in March. The first time, a new bottom element did the trick. The second time, a new top element + some wiggling of wires worked. And the third time, begging the manufacturer for a new one was the only solution.
It appeared to be a problem with the top element, again, but it also confirmed our earlier suspicion that the problem with the top element before had been a wiring problem. It had taken us two elements and a tinkering with the ground wire to get it to work on the second loss of hot water. After calling the maintenance they recommended under their warranty and learning we would have to go from Thursday – Tuesday without hot water, Kyle convinced the manufacturer that a new hot water heater would be the only solution.
Getting the new hot water heater required returning the old hot water heater which required draining the old hot water heater. So we tried it, but the hot water heater, which was usually very slow to drain, would not drain beyond a slow trickle. Kyle went to Orscheln to get new channel locks so we could take it apart and told me to try anything that I found on the Internet that seemed like a reasonable solution.
We were pretty sure the reason it was draining slow was because too much sediment had settled at the bottom of the tank. I eventually came across a suggestion to leave the cold water on and open the drain so that water was forced out of the drain. I turned the cold water on to the tank and stepped to the side to watch. Soon, water came out a little slower and then a little faster, and then sprayed miniature fire-hose style across my basement!
Good thing we have a wet basement and both I and my laptop were just to the right of its range. As you can see from the photo, it’s range managed to splatter all over the wall across from the hot water heater. That wall is probably about 7 or so feet from where the hot water heater sits.
For some reason (missing plug cap perhaps?) we couldn’t get the hose to work to drain water to the sump pump so Kyle and I had to take turns dumping buckets out in the yard. Luckily, we got the tank out, exchanged it at Lowe’s, and still had time for a celebratory Friday night dinner date with the new hot water heater strapped into the back of the truck.