Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Not in Hot Water Today

So, I told you my hot water tank sprung a leak. I had put away a bit of money and enjoyed seeing the savings account grow, but since I did that a week ago, I have had to spend almost 4 times as much on things that are not part of my budget planning. 

Yesterday there were lots of calls made to help us determine whether we would replace the 60 gallon electric hot water heater with another one, or to drop down to a 40 gallon tank.  And should we stick with electric or switch to a gas one now that we have gas lines coming to the house for the new furnace?  We'll soon be on a limited income (that's a silly term really) and the price of electricity is supposed to sky rocket.  It already costs 10% more than what we actually pay each month, since we're all getting help at the moment, in the form of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit. The promised 45% increase in electrical costs over the next 5 years is enough to make us cringe.

First we were told that most people use a 40 gallon tank these days, since nobody washes clothes in hot water anymore.  But when I asked if it might cost more to reheat the water in the tank when a higher percentage of the total volume was being replaced with cold every time we turned the tap on, they thought I had a point and suggested a 60 gallon one, with a timer on it. Well, I don't need the timer as I don't use hot water during the day anyway, and the tank has double insulation. My hot water never got cold during the 5 days we were without power during the big Ice Storm of '98, so I know that insulation works wonders.  I can always flip the switch on the electrical panel if I feel the need to stop it from working for any period of time.  From watching my hourly electrical use on I know that the only time water heating shows up on the charts is when we take a bath.  As for the idea that a gas one might be more efficient, we were informed that the efficiency for a gas hot water heater only lasts for the first 5 years. After that, it drops down rather considerably.  So, we ended up ordering the 60 gallon electric hot water tank to replace our old one.

The plumbers showed up this morning and installed it. Then they came up and told me there was a problem.  It seems that the thing they installed may look like a hot water heater, but it turned out to be nothing but a holding tank. It has no elements in it, and no thermostat.  They didn't notice this since it came in a box that declared it to be a  hot water heater, and it's standard for them to do the plumbing first and the electrical later. Only when they went to do the electrical work did they discover the problem. So they had to call their supplier, who is an hour away, and have one delivered here  In the meantime they had to take my old tank back to the shop as they couldn't carry both it and the holding tank at the same time in their truck.  While back at the office they checked the paperwork, and sure enough, it was purchased as a hot water heater, and was somehow put in the wrong package for shipment. 

They let me know that this job had been taken off the clock as soon as they had finished the first installation.  The supplier would be billed for the extra time.  That's fine, but my life was on hold for the entire morning while this mess got straightened out. I had to laugh and tell them my whole week had been like this (well, my hubby's anyway, since most of the problems were really his). 

And now the cold water in the tank is heating up at the highest electrical rates of the day.   That wouldn't have happened if the proper tank had been installed the first time.  Though really, there isn't a whole lot of difference between the highest rates and the middle rates.....until they start to accumulate. 

Tonight we'll have hot water.  I'm sure somebody will happily test it out.


  1. Okay, that is REALLY bad luck. :) Better days are coming!

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