Tuesday, January 6, 2009

While My Husband Was Hanging With Celebrities, I Was Ankle Deep In Water!

Seeing my artificial Christmas tree in it's bright red storage bag flashed back a few memories for me. Memories of a year ago, New Year's Day. My husband opened our crawl space doors to find a few inches of standing water coming from our old water heater. Now many of us say, "hot water heater", but that's redundant for the phrase heater is indicative of making the water hot. So after much research I am firm in my water heater terminology being sure to drop the hot off the beginning. 

When things break in my fifty year old house we drive to the local big box hardware store, to check out our options. Rather naively of us, we assume we can pick out a new water heater and have it installed, easy peasy. But for some odd reason, it never quite goes that way for us. The not so funny part about my old water heater was that it was phased out about 10 years ago, due to their explosive nature. Sigh. Our old water heater was called a "low boy" back in the day. It was a stubby version of a tall water heater so it could fit in my four foot crawl space. In case you were wondering my furnace sits on it's side down there. 

It's a wonky creepy world in the crawl space.

After a few phone calls, we discover replacing our original unit is not going to happen. Thank goodness the top rotted out and we didn't have a faulty low boy blow one night. It didn't take long to conclude we had to move to Plan B. Now when I say Plan B that means a myriad of options, some rather humorous. After calling in three plumbers all with different ideas on how to get the hot water back up and running in our house, we decided on of course the most expensive plan of action. But I would like to include, it would have been nothing short of humorous to see a 5'8", 250lb plumber in my crawl space digging a hole 4 feet deep to fit a regular size gas water heater in the space. A video could have made me famous on YouTube. 

We would replace the dangerous leaking non-functioning low boy with a shiny pretty bread box sized Takagi Tankless Water Heater. Ooh, sleek. Think Mercedes of the water heater world. Think great the holidays are over and of course we have a pile of extra $$$ laying around we didn't spend on gifts, lavish food, and holiday cheer. 
So why a Tankless Water Heater?

They heat water on demand. Water isn't sitting around in a tank being heated over and over waiting for someone to use it. Tank water heater systems aren't the most energy efficient. Now with almost all home appliances I would concur that newer tank-style water heaters are definitely more efficient than my old one or the one you may have to replace.

Hot water is endless, hence the on demand.

It's energy efficient and eco-friendly. We only heat the water we use, when we need it. 

Oh and for us, it fit in our crawlspace very nicely. 

Someday the heating system in my house could be converted to run off the Tagaki. Please say a prayer for me that I am not living here when that day comes. Consider it a gift to whomever owns this house next. 

The ONE and only not so great thing about the Tagaki:

If you like to take hot showers like a teenager every now and again, the kind of hot showers that would run a 40 gallon tank dry, this system may be a problem. For the hot water is never ending. I promise it's only a couple times a year and I am not that environmentally ignorant, but sometimes I need an escape. My shower is sometimes a wonderful escape. 

Just to top my story off, I would like to share a photo from the same day I was sitting hot water less in my house. My husband was away on a film shoot in Vermont, with Jason Biggs and a bunch of rock stars from Barenaked Ladies and the Dave Matthews Band. Life really isn't fair sometimes. Woe was me. Let's just conclude I spent plenty of time breaking in the new hot water heater!

(On a side note, tankless water heating systems are a complex technology. Please make sure the installer (licensed plumber) is trained and certified. If you need a recommendation in the Denver Area, I would be happy to pass along the plumbing company we ultimately chose. They were fabulous, professional, and I didn't see a butt crack through the whole process.)


  1. Our water heater broke last year--not fun or cheap :(

    Why is it that when we have the worst day, hubby's have a great one?

  2. Hubby owes you BIG time. And don't ever let him forget it.

    We looked into the tankless a few years back. Great concept but too long a payback period (I'm sure the price has gone down since then).

    Good on ya!

  3. OK that is hilarious among other things ( your description I mean ). I cannot believe that was a year ago. Why does Jason Biggs have chickens? XOXO KS

  4. We have a very small tank for our water heater so hot showers have to be speed round in the winter. I've gotten pretty good at this - but the first time the water turned to ice when I was in the middle of applying conditioner...well, it wasn't fun.

  5. It's Murphy's Law. Every time my husband is out of town, something like that happens at home. Good thing we are not helpless women. :-)

  6. But then you were able to impart excellent advice when mine went out!!!!

    Oh and the bnl /Jason Biggs scene was hilarious...especially the cowbell, not that I don't completely understand your frustrations :)

  7. I am a little concerned that you saw no butt crack, are you sure he was a real plumber?

  8. Wow... I love hot showers and have no idea where my water comes from. Some magical apartment building fresh water reservoir?

  9. Those are cool, I totally want one some day.

  10. Yeah, that is just not fair. I'm glad you found a solution thought, I know all about breaking down, cold old houses.

  11. It's so sleek. We are due for an upgrade and will definitely consider the tankless option.

  12. Oh, how I miss our tankless water heater and hot water on demand. Sigh. Now, in the old (but renovated) house we're in, I'm just happy to have hot water. It DOES cut down on the indulgent, lengthy showers though. Sniff. If/when we replace our water heater, we'll definitely make the switch.

  13. Ummm...I would have been CLUELESS!

  14. Daily life could be pretty funny depending on what attitude we face life on that particular day! I love the way you tackle the water heater problem, it ended in a good note, money saving litle machine!. soon I will have to replace mine.


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